Local

Open Farm Week 2020!

Dig In VT is celebrating 6 years of Vermont Open Farm Week – August 10th – 16th, 2020! 

Cabbages at Old Road Farm in Granville, VT

 

Do you love local food and farms?

Want to get to know your farmer better — and to get a behind-the-scenes look into Vermont’s vibrant working agricultural landscape?

During the 2020 Vermont Open Farm Week, you can meet (virtually, or in-person) the farmers, plants, and animals that bring your favorite high-quality Vermont products to your plate.

The Open Farm Week Committee has been navigating the current health crisis carefully and thoughtfully and is thinking creatively about how to deliver this week of events in a way that’s safe and responsible.

This year’s offerings will focus on events appropriate for the current pandemic-related guidelines: tours, picnics, farm trails, virtual/online events (workshops, guided tastings, etc.), social media posts/stories, and perhaps some other creative ideas.

Ripening organic tomatoes are Singing Cedars Farmstead

 

What’s the greatest part about Open Farm Week?

Every farm is unique! Find up-to-date lists of participating farms and search by location or product at DigInVT.com, your portal to Vermont’s agriculture and culinary experiences.

 

Goats at Squier Family Farm in Tinmouth, VT

What can you do at the farms?

The activities will vary from farm to farm. Some farms might have demonstrations and tours. Others may have pick-your-own crops, produce for purchase, or animals that you can meet. As mentioned above, this year’s events will focus on those that fit the current pandemic-related social distancing guidelines. Be sure to check each farm’s individual listing to find out the details! Click here to view the latest COVID-19 related guidelines on healthvermont.gov.

Are you a farmer interested in participating in Open Farm Week? Email vtopenfarm@vermontfresh.net to register your event!

 

Celebrating International Co-ops Day

On Saturday, July 4th, your co-op will be joining co-operatives and credit unions around the world in celebrating International Co-ops Day.  This year’s theme, Co-ops for Climate Action, highlights the role of co-operatives in building a more just and green future for everyone.

“Our common home is in danger,” said Ariel Guarco, President of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA).  We must act now, with our values and principles, to demonstrate on a global scale that it is possible to develop an economy with social inclusion and protection of natural resources.”

International Co-ops Day has been celebrated annually since 1923, and the theme this year was chosen to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on Climate Action.  The event will focus on the contribution of co-operatives to combating climate change, one of the most severe challenges facing our planet during the 21st century, as we build a more inclusive economy and society. 

“Across our region, food co-ops have been leaders in building a more sustainable food system,” said Erbin Crowell, Executive Director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA).  “And with climate change and economic inequality as urgent challenges, food co-ops are taking the lead in working for climate justice, working together to ensure a more healthy, just, and sustainable future for everyone.”

For example, the UN Food & Agriculture Organization has pointed to organic agriculture as a tool for reducing energy consumption and the negative effects of energy emissions, sequestering carbon in the soil, and increasing the resilience of family farms.  Food co-ops were pioneers in helping to build the market for organic foods and continue to demonstrate this commitment.  Last year, member co-ops of the NFCA sold an estimated $97 million in organic products, supporting human health, sustainable agriculture, and a more resilient food system.

As our communities around the world work to rebuild in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, co-ops offer an opportunity to envision a more inclusive economy.  As part of Co-ops Day celebrations, food co-ops across the Northeast are using this important opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and to working together to address climate change and achieve a fair, green, and just future for all.

Celebrated internationally on the first Saturday in July, Co-ops Day in the United States coincides with Independence Day, offering a unique opportunity to focus on the democratic values of the co-operative business model. Based on the principle of one member one vote, co-ops reflect American ideals of democracy, self-help, self-responsibility, and social responsibility. And because co-operatives are focused on meeting member needs rather than maximizing profit, they are focused on goals identified by their members, including social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

For more information, please visit https://nfca.coop/co-opsday/. and https://www.ica.coop/en/2020-international-day-cooperatives

Spotlight on Strafford Organic Creamery

As part of our celebration of Dairy Month, we’d like to take a moment to shine our Co-op Spotlight on a Vermont dairy that keeps us stocked in local, organic milk and some of the best ice cream we’ve ever tasted. Strafford Organic Creamery is nestled in the hills of Strafford, Vermont on the 600-acre Rockbottom Farm, which has been in the family for two generations. Farmer Earl Ransom and his wife, Amy Huyffer, milk 65 grass-fed Guernsey cows and carry on the tradition of tending the land organically without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers, just as Earl’s father did when he first founded the farm in the 1960s. Amy generally focuses on running the creamery while Earl handles the farming aspects of the operation. Their four young boys also help out on the farm, making it a true family affair. 

Photo by Amy Donohue Photography

Their herd is made up of Guernsey cows, famous for their rich, yellow cream, perfect for making premium milk and ice cream. The cows spend the entire growing season rotating on fresh pasture, grazing high-quality forage including grass, alfalfa, legumes, and clover. They rotationally graze across 56 paddocks, moving onto fresh pasture every 12 hours, turning sunshine into food, and sequestering carbon along the way. This same forage is harvested and stored for feeding the cows through the colder months.  According to Amy and Earl, “everything we do, from the crops we grow for them to the gentle routines of milking, is focused on their comfort and well-being, and helping them create super-tasty milk and cream.”

 

Photo by Amy Donohue Photography

 

Their commitment to the environment is not only evident in the way they chose to farm, but also in the reusable glass packaging they choose for their milk. In December of 2019, when Kimball Brook Farm announced they would be ceasing production of their organic dairy products, Amy and Earl received many requests from retailers asking Strafford Organic Creamery to consider switching to plastic jugs to fill the void left on the retail shelves in the wake of Kimball Brook’s closure. After reaching out to gather community input and giving consideration to the vast quantity of virgin plastic that transition would add to the waste stream, they held strong on their commitment to packaging their milk in reusable glass. According to Amy, “we don’t get all our first choices on everything we do, but we do get to choose how we care for this beautiful piece of land, which cows to milk and how to feed and house them, what ingredients to add (or not add) to our products, and what kind of bottle to put it in. It feels really good, after going to all the trouble to make milk like this, to put it in a bottle that will keep the milk cold on the counter, seal in the flavor, and that we’ll see circle around again next month.”

Earl is one of only three Black dairy farmers in the state of Vermont, according to the 2017 USDA Census data. This past February, VPR interviewed Earl about his experiences as a Black farmer in a state and occupation that is predominantly white. Despite the fact that Earl was born and raised on his Vermont farm and is carrying on a rich farming heritage started by his father, he still reports feeling like an outsider. “Nobody expects to see a Black guy milking cows or driving a tractor,” he says. He reports routinely receiving visits from seed salesmen or other drop-ins who ask to speak to his boss. Unfortunately, he bears the burden of helping these visitors see the error in their ways and check their preconceived notions about what a farm owner looks like. These kinds of microaggressions occur so regularly that Earl has become used to them, though, of course, it’s not Earl’s job to educate others about racism or the challenges of being a Black farmer in Vermont. 

Despite the ailing state of the dairy industry in Vermont, Strafford Organic Creamery remains financially sound. Earl credits their ongoing success to their loyal local fanbase and the fact that their farm controls their own production, bottling their own milk since 2001 and making weekly batches of their ice cream by hand. He believes that there is a place for Vermont dairy in the broader agricultural landscape, despite the challenges the industry faces and he’s optimistic that his sons will want to carry the torch into the next generation at Rockbottom Farm. 

 

Strafford Organic Creamery from Farmers To You on Vimeo.

Spotlight on Blue Ledge Farm

We’re thrilled to shine our Spotlight on a local cheese-making family that produces incredible award-winning cow and goat’s milk cheeses, while also demonstrating a deep commitment to environmental stewardship. Blue Ledge Farm of Salisbury, VT is a first-generation, family-owned and operated, Animal Welfare Approved dairy and cheese-making operation established in 2000 by Hannah Sessions and Greg Bernhardt. Their mission is to create a high-quality product built on the cornerstones of respect for consumers, land, and animals as well as their local community. They milk over 100 goats twice daily and produce fourteen types of cheese, from very fresh to semi-aged bloomy rind cheeses, to firmer aged cheeses.

Hannah Sessions and Greg Bernhardt of Blue Ledge Farm

Hannah and Greg have made some incredibly nimble moves over the past few weeks to pivot their business model in response to the challenges of the global pandemic, so much so that they caught the attention of the local news! The shift entailed adopting a direct-to-consumer model, and they’ve found some very creative ways to get their cheeses directly to you, including a brand new mini-fridge at their Salisbury farmstand where you can get farm-fresh cheeses all summer long! Those who aren’t lucky enough to live close by can order online or by phone and have their cheese shipped. 

Blue Ledge Farm installed a mini-fridge at their farm stand to keep their direct-to-consumer sales flowing.

Our local cheesemakers need our support now more than ever, as many of Vermont’s specialty cheesemakers have taken an extra hard hit during the pandemic. With the mandatory closure of restaurants and institutions across the state, sales for Vermont’s specialty cheese producers dropped 50-70% almost overnight. As Blue Ledge co-owner Hannah Sessions put it in a recent blog post, “we can’t furlough the goats or the cows and bring them back in a month! It’s spring, and the milk is flowing. If we are to survive we need to adapt.” 

Part of their adaptation involved shifting lineup to include more aged cheeses. Throughout history, aged cheeses provided a means for farmers to preserve their abundant spring and summer milk supply. Relying on this ancient form of preservation, Blue Ledge increased their production of their aged La Luna and added a brand new aged cheese to the lineup. This cheese, which will be known as Moosamaloo in honor of the treasured local recreation area, will be a Gouda-style cheese made with cow’s milk from the neighboring herd of Ayrshire cattle at MoSe Farm. Seth and Monika and their beautiful Ayrshire cows at MoSe Farm provide all of the raw milk for Blue Ledge’s cow’s milk cheeses, including their smooth, buttery Camembrie, their creamy, yet crumbly Middlebury Blue, and their apple cider-washed Richville.

Hannah adds that “we are so very grateful for the support of family, friends, and fellow cheese lovers from near and far who have bolstered our spirits and emptied our cheese supply throughout this challenge! We realize that we absolutely love selling direct to folks! We have worked on ways to create those “magical moments” so during these times of isolation folks can receive a carefully packed cheese package straight from our farm and feel our appreciation. The feedback we have received has kept us going.”

 

 

Supporting Local Cheesemakers during Dairy Month

We’re so fortunate here in Vermont to be home to some of the finest cheesemakers in the world. Vermont cheesemakers set records in 2019,  collectively taking home an astounding 44 ribbons at the prestigious American Cheese Society’s 36th Annual Awards competition in Richmond, Virginia. The 2019 World Cheese Awards hosted by The Guild of Fine Food in the UK saw 7 Vermont cheesemakers take home awards, including 2 gold medals. The Vermont Cheese Council lists 53 cheesemakers in our state, 8 of which are located in Addison County. According to Vermont Cheese Council Executive Director, Tom Bivins, “The importance of the dairy and cheese industry to Vermont agriculture is significant socially and culturally, as well as enhancing our sense of place and supporting agriculture economies in their communities.”

Kate Turcotte of Orb Weaver Creamery

For years, Vermont’s artisanal cheeses have been a rare bright spot in an otherwise ailing dairy landscape, but as VPR reported in April, Vermont’s specialty cheesemakers are taking an extra hard hit during the pandemic. With the mandatory closure of restaurants and institutions across the state and the fact that many consumers are needing to significantly trim their food budgets, sales for Vermont’s specialty cheese producers dropped 50-70% almost overnight. Adding to the crisis is the fact that these farmers and cheesemakers were ineligible for the emergency relief loans made available to most other small businesses in the initial $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package. They were able to qualify for the payroll protection program made available in the second tier of the relief package, though it remains to be seen if this will be sufficient to prevent a significant decline in the number of specialty cheese producers in Vermont.

Morgan & Chad Beckwith of Ice House Farm in Goshen

Of course, the cows and goats must still be milked, so many of Vermont’s resilient cheesemakers quickly shifted their business models to include direct-to-consumer sales through online platforms, roadside farm stands, and by partnering with other local farms to be included in community-supported agriculture (CSA) packages. The Vermont Cheese Council stepped in to help provide a way for cheesemakers to keep moving cheese our of their aging spaces by creating an Online Sales Directory and the Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN-VT) created an online farmers market, to help connect shoppers with cheesemakers from Blue Ledge Farm, Bridport Creamery, Champlain Valley Creamery, Fairy Tale Farm, and Ice House Farm. 

Blue Ledge Farm installed a mini-fridge at their farm stand to keep their direct-to-consumer sales flowing.

Since 1939, June has been designated as Dairy Month, so what better way to celebrate than by stocking up on some of your favorite local cheeses? Perhaps you have a graduation to celebrate, a socially-distanced barbecue with friends, or you simply want to treat yourself to that perfect wedge of your favorite cheese. Your local cheesemakers will certainly appreciate your support.

 

Spotlight on Lawson’s Finest Liquids

Warm weather is finally here and socially distanced barbecues are officially a thing, so we wanted to take a moment to shine our Co-op Spotlight on a local independent craft beer producer that is bound to bring some sunshine to your social scene. Lawson’s Finest Liquids hails from the Mad River Valley of Vermont and their craft brews have earned critical acclaim and an enthusiastic fan following.  Read on to learn more about this celebrated craft brewery, their commitment to the local community, and their heady brews: 

Their Story

In 2008, after 20 years of homebrewing, Sean and Karen Lawson officially founded Lawson’s Finest Liquids in a small building resembling a sugarhouse adjacent to their home. Fast forward to 2018 and the brewery grounds in Waitsfield consist of three buildings occupying more than 25,000 square feet, housing a 34-barrel brewery, taproom, retail store, warehouse, and distribution center. What began as a husband and wife team is now home to over 50 employees. Their specialty maple beers & IPA’s have garnered awards at the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, and at two National IPA championships.

The Taproom

Sean is a graduate of the University of Vermont, with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and a Masters in Forestry. His first career was as a scientist and educator. Sean continues to lead outings with the Naturalist Program he founded in 1996 at Mad River Glen ski area. Sean served as President of Vermont Brewers Association from 2014-2017 and was an active Board member for nine years.

Karen is also a graduate of the University of Vermont, with a Masters Degree in Public Administration. Her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Psychology was obtained at Franklin Pierce in NH. After graduation, Karen had a 20-year career in Vermont state government.

Sean and Karen were recently named as the 2020 Vermont Small Business Persons of the year by the US Small Business Administration. According to Vermont Business Magazine, the Lawson’s were awarded this honor in recognition of their employment growth, success in the marketplace, company expansion, and community involvement. 

Founders Sean & Karen Lawson

Philanthropy

The Lawsons are committed to paying their employees a generous living wage and benefits, which Karen noted as being particularly important in a service-oriented ski town where income often reflects the vagaries of weather and scheduling. In lieu of tipping at their taproom, guests are invited to make a contribution to a featured local nonprofit. This program, known as the Sunshine Fund, features a rotating list of non-profits who serve as the beneficiary for this program. The non-profits are selected based on their work supporting healthy communities, food and economic security, natural resource protection, and sustainable recreation. Since their taproom opening in October 2018, they’ve been able to donate half a million dollars to local non-profit organizations through the Sunshine Fund!

In addition to the Sunshine Fund, the fine folks at Lawson’s Finest also offer mini-grants via their Super Sessions initiative. Through this program, they aim to build impactful connections and strengthen communities while creating memorable experiences by offering pint-sized grants for playful Super Sessions to bring people together in fun ways that build community anywhere Lawson’s Finest is distributed. For example, a group could organize a synchronized cannonball jump in the town pond to raise money for cancer research or sponsor a bike parade and cook-out to honor local school teachers. Quarterly, their employee-run Super Session Selection Squad will choose projects to each receive up to a $250 check to launch a Super Session. Applications will be scored on several criteria including innovation, community-building, fun, and credibility. Click here for an application.

Mission

Lawson’s Finest Liquids produces beer of the highest quality with outstanding freshness. They emulate the best of widely appreciated styles of beer, featuring world-class IPAs and unique maple brews while quenching the thirst of beer lovers from near and far.

Core Values

Lawson’s Finest Liquids aims for the highest quality standards in our beer production and in how they build relationships with employees, community partners, customers, and each other. They do this by valuing:

  • Quality
  • Our employees
  • Our customers
  • Communication
  • Community
  • Our company
  • Transparency
  • Philanthropy
  • Genuine personal interactions 

In addition, they value the beautiful Mad River Valley and work to reduce their environmental impact through the conservation of resources. They use earth-friendly products in their operations and re-use and recycle their materials.

Current Services

During this very challenging time, their taproom must remain closed, though their drive-thru retail store allows for easy pickups of your online orders. Click here to learn more about the process and policies for their online ordering and curbside pick-up program. They are adhering to all of the latest guidance from the Vermont Governor’s office and the CDC in order to ensure the safety of their staff and guests. They continue to offer a 40% discount for healthcare workers (please bring your work ID). They want to thank all of their guests for continuing to support Lawson’s Finest Liquids in this new environment, and they look forward to the day when we can all share a cheers over a beer in the taproom again!

Retail Drive-Thru

Their Beers

 In addition to their highly-touted year-round offerings — Sip of Sunshine and Super Session IPA series, Lawson’s Finest offers a rotating selection of beers which can be seen here. Also, click here to check out their 2020 release schedule. 

 

Spotlight on New Leaf Organics

Garden planting season is in full swing and we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on New Leaf Organics, who not only keeps our produce shelves stocked with an abundant array of seasonal fruits and veggies but also allows us to offer a stunning variety of locally-grown veggie and herb seedlings for gardeners in the spring!  New this season – their seedlings are available for online order! They want to make growing your own food as easy as possible right now! These herb and veggie seedlings are available for pre-order and pre-packing for your health and convenience. Read on to learn more about this fantastic local, organic farm hailing from Bristol, VT:

Nestled in the rolling hills near the Bristol-Monkton town line is a sweet little farm called New Leaf Organics. Now in her 20th year in business, Farmer Jill Koppel leads her rockstar crew to produce some of the most beautiful and delicious flowers, fruits, and veggies you’ll find anywhere in Vermont. Their farm has evolved quite a bit over the years, but their core mission remains the same; growing high-quality organic produce, flowers, and plants that improve soil health and strengthen the community.

Their Mission

  • to grow high quality, deliciously fresh organic produce and flowers.
  • to maintain and build the health of our soil and water.
  • to keep this land open and in agricultural production.
  • to bring community together in appreciation of good food and eating with the seasons.
  • to help couples create a memorable wedding day brightened with our beautiful flowers
  • to be a healthy and joyous place for kids to roam and discover and help them learn where our food really comes from.
  • to provide a positive and meaningful place to work for our employees and ourselves.

New Leaf Organics grows 5 acres of vegetables, berries, and flowers which are all sold in Vermont. You can shop their online store and/or visit their farmstand. Their online store offers curbside pickup and delivery options. Farmstand hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 12 pm – 6 pm and they offer extended hours during planting season (May 2nd – June 14th) 10 am – 3pm. While visiting the farmstand, you’ll find  New Leaf’s fresh-picked veggies, berries, and flowers and you will also find locally sourced products from around the Champlain Valley. New to the farmstand are delicious grab-and-go vegetarian meals from Blossom Kitchen and Catering in eco-friendly reusable containers you can keep or return for a deposit.

New Leaf Organics Farmstand

You can also sign up for their fruit & veggie CSA. Joining the CSA is a great way to eat the freshest, highest quality, locally grown, organic food without breaking the bank. They have many unique CSA options, so be sure to check out their web page to scan the offerings. 

Looking to send a local, organic bouquet to someone special? New Leaf Organics offers Home Sweet Blooms floral deliveries to homes and businesses in Hinesburg, Vergennes, Middlebury, & Bristol! They also offer a pick-your-own flowers option throughout the growing season. The flower fields are located across the street from the farm stand. 

Need flowers for an upcoming wedding or event? New Leaf Organics raises over 100 varieties of organic, specialty cut flowers and creates exquisite floral arrangements for weddings and events, from casual to formal. Their services, from full-service arrangements and delivery, to “pick-your-own,” to “weddings-in-a-bucket” are a great fit for all your events. Buying direct from the grower ensures the freshest, highest quality flowers at the best price. Buying organic ensures that agricultural chemicals aren’t endangering our environment or the farmworkers who handle the flowers. Click here to read more about why this matters.

According to Farmer Jill, “I’ve been lucky enough to find a dedicated crew of farming “geeks” who get equally as excited about discovering a great new variety to try or the thrill of our first seeds germinating in the Spring. Having a great crew keeps the farm dynamic and is better every season because of them. My kids, Ruby and Ada, and husband Skimmer make sure we don’t work the whole Summer away… Thanks for your interest in our farm! Supporting local farms like ours ensures that high-quality agricultural soils will be kept in farming for generations to come and proof that together we really can keep Vermont agriculture alive and thriving!”

For the latest info and insight into how the season is sprouting, blooming, and unfurling, follow them on Instagram @organicsnewleaf and Facebook @newleaforganics

Jill and Karey at the Farmstand

Co-op Connection Businesses Re-open!

Owning a small, independent business in the era of mega-stores and online retail giants is daunting during the best of times. The addition of state-wide closure mandates and stay home, stay safe orders made necessary by the global pandemic presented local small business owners with a new set of challenges they could not possibly have planned for. And yet, despite all of the hurdles, our beloved local businesses have rallied! We’ve marveled at the creative ways that many have adeptly pivoted their business plans to accommodate a rapidly changing set of circumstances. We’ve held our breath hoping that those who were unable to shift to online retail due to the nature of their services would be able to endure lengthy closures. And we’ve been heartened to see the many ways that this community has continued to support their favorite local brick-and-mortar stores, despite the challenges.

Moments like these remind us that this community is truly special and make us want to shout from the rooftops as these resilient local businesses begin to re-open their doors. Of course, the caveat is that they must re-open in a way that continues to prioritize community health and safety, so please remember your masks, stay home if you’re sick, observe all social distancing protocols, and take note of posted procedural changes at each place of business. It will take all of us doing our part to make this re-opening of our community businesses successful. 

The Co-op is proud to partner with 20 other local businesses in town through the Co-op Connection and we’ve been particularly excited to see many of them begin to re-open their doors. There are many who provide close-contact services that will require them to remain closed for a while, but there are still ways to support these folks. We’d love to take a moment to celebrate these 20 businesses that make our downtown such a vibrant place and highlight their current offerings. Please note that these hours and conditions are subject to change. Please call ahead or click each business link below to view their web page for the most up-to-date information. This list was last updated on 6.2.20:

  • County Tire Center – Open! Visit Monday – Friday between 8 and 5 for all of your tire, auto, and hybrid/electric vehicle needs. Rest assured they can assist you in a safe and socially-distant manner — they continue to take all precautions to keep the community and their employees safe. Call ahead to schedule your appointment, then call them when you arrive. Make your payment by phone or through their walk-up window.
  • Danforth Pewter –  Open at their Seymour Street location! Drop by (with your mask) and pick up some gifts for the graduates in your life or treat yourself to something special. They’re open Monday – Saturday 10-5 and Sunday from 11-4. Limit 10 customers at a time to allow for proper social distancing. Drop in and show them your support!
  • Green Peppers Restaurant – Open for curbside pickup until 7 pm daily! Order and payment by phone, schedule your preferred pick-up time, retrieve your order at the scheduled time at their outdoor pick-up station located at the front entrance. From Mark and the rest of the Green Peppers crew: “We thank you all so much for supporting us during this time. You are warming our hearts with your generosity! We will continue to be here to warm your bellies with yummy food!”
  • Honey Holistic Esthetics – Due to the close-contact nature of the services provided at Honey Holistic Esthetics, they must remain closed until further notice. However, if you’d like to show your support for this business, please consider ordering a gift card for yourself or a loved one. 
  • Juice Amour -Their Middlebury location is offering online ordering, orders by phone, curbside pickup, and free daily delivery on orders of $25 or more to Middlebury, Bristol, Vergennes, Lincoln, and Monkton! Order online (choose “shipping” option for delivery) or give them a call at (802) 989-7271. Choose from fresh-pressed organic juices, salads, tacos, meal kits, healthy treats, and more! 
  • Jumelles Wellness Midwifery – Due to the very essential nature of this business, this family-centered practice remains open for telehealth and home visits.  Visit them on the web to schedule a consult for home birth midwifery care, doula services, lactation counseling, and childbirth education.
  • Kiss the Cook – The Middlebury location is open for curbside pickup Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11-2 to help equip all of your newfound pandemic culinary prowess. Call (802) 923-6143 to place an order. Gift cards may be purchased online. 
  • Main Street Stationery – Open for phone orders and curbside pickup to meet your needs. Many of us are now working and schooling from home, so whether it’s homeschooling supplies, home office supplies, or all of the essentials to restock your arts and crafts collections, call (802) 388-6787 to place your order and arrange pickup.
  • Maple Landmark Woodcraft – Their retail showroom is now open Monday – Friday from 8-5 and Saturday from 9-4. Masks are required and they must limit the number of patrons to 4 at a time. Martha Rainville says “We look forward to seeing your smiling (masked) faces soon! If you’d prefer not to come in, we are always happy to ship (order online) or do curbside pick-up!”
  • Middlebury Fitness –  As of June 1st, Middlebury Fitness is open! They have adapted the facility so that it now exceeds the CDC and Vermont Health Dept. safety guidelines. They are eager to welcome back old members and welcome new members as they continue to serve our community as we all navigate these challenging times. You can read more information about their reopening here: http://www.middleburyfitness.com/reopening.html.
  • Middlebury Sweets – Open for online orders, curbside pickup, and limited local delivery! Satisfy your sweet tooth and support this fun local business by ordering online or calling call 802-388-4518 between 10 am – 2 pm.
  • Natural Medicine of Vermont – Due to the essential nature of her work, Dr. Miller-Lane remains open and is scheduling telemedicine appointments until Monday, June 1.  Please call 388-6250 to schedule a telemedicine visit by phone or email karri@naturalmedicineofvermont.com. Dr. Miller-Lane says, “Be well, stay safe and we look forward to supporting you in whatever way we are able.”
  • Otter Creek Used Books – Open! Did you read every book in your house during quarantine? Otter Creek Used books is ready to help you refresh your library! Visit Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm and please observe all posted guidelines for safe browsing.
  •  Otter Creek Yoga – Due to the close-contact nature of the classes provided at Otter Creek Yoga, the studio will remain closed until further notice. However, you may join Joanna Colwell for virtual classes via Zoom on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 10:30 am or subscribe to her youtube channel to enjoy a class when the time is right for you. It’s a perfect way to recenter yourself and counter the stress of these unprecedented times. Your support is critical during this lengthy closure, so if you’re enjoying the virtual classes, please consider making a donation or purchasing a gift card via the links on their webpage.
  • Pro Skin Studio – Due to the close-contact nature of the services provided at Pro Skin Studio, they must remain closed until further notice. However, if you’d like to show your support for this business, please consider ordering a gift card for yourself or a loved one.
  • Stone Leaf Teahouse – Open for online orders and local pickup. What better way to de-stress than with a fresh, hot cup of tea? Order online and pick your tea up Monday – Friday from 11 am to 3 pm. They have many new fresh teas from the Spring 2020 harvest for you to try and a fascinating new blog post to read while you enjoy your freshly brewed cup!
  • Shafer’s Market & Deli – Open 7 days a week for curbside pickup or delivery to Weybridge, Cornwall, Middlebury, and East Middlebury. The ice cream window is open, too! Hours are Sunday – Tuesday 7 am – 5 pm, Wednesday and Thursday 7 am – 8 pm, Friday and Saturday 7 am -9 pm. Call 388-6408 to place your order today!
  • Texture Salon – Due to the close-contact nature of the services provided at Texture Salon, they must remain closed until further notice. However, if you’d like to show your support for this business, please consider ordering a gift card for yourself or a loved one.
  • Vermont Sun Fitness Center – Will open at 6:00 am Wednesday, June 3rd!  Hours will be Monday thru Friday 6 am-8 pm, Saturday & Sunday 7:30 am-4 pm. This also includes the pool. They hope to begin a limited class schedule as early as the week of June 8th. They’ve been working hard to ensure their facility exceeds the CDC and Vermont Health Department safety guidelines. Please wear your mask and follow all posted safety procedures. To learn more about their safety protocols, click here.
  • Waterfalls Day Spa – Due to the close-contact nature of the services provided at Waterfalls Day Spa, they must remain closed until further notice. However, if you’d like to show your support for this business, please consider ordering a gift card for yourself or a loved one. 

Spotlight on Butterworks Farm

Butterworks Farm is basking in the glow of the Member Deals Spotlight this week and all of their local, organic, grass-fed dairy products are 20% off for member-owners from March 26th – April 1st. Read on to learn more about this local farm worked by three generations of the Lazor Family over forty–six years to bring you high-quality products with a deep emphasis on regenerative practices that promote soil building, carbon sinking, water retention, and biodiversity:

Over forty years ago, Jack and Anne Lazor came to Westfield, VT fresh out of college with degrees in Agricultural History (Jack) and Anthropology (Anne). As long-time sustainable farmers and leaders in organic farming, they continue to play an important role in the dynamics and operations at Butterworks and beyond. Jack is a writer and frequent inspirational keynote speaker at organic farming conferences everywhere. He enjoys food, friends and pursuing his passions- sustainability and soil science. Anne keeps Jack and the farm running as Jack’s home dialysis technician and a caring presence for the entire team. She enjoys gardening, keeping chickens and ducks, the study of homeopathic medicine and upholds the homesteading spirit she and Jack started with 40 years ago. Their daughter Christine Lazor grew up at Butterworks and now has a family of her own. A deep love for the team, the farm, the animals, the products and the mountains keep her inspired as she and her family carry on the rich farming traditions that her parents began.

Their cows are a herd of very friendly and sometimes precocious Jerseys. Each has her own name and stanchion in the barn during milking. They choose Jerseys for their ability to produce milk on a  100% grass-fed diet. High fiber and mineral-rich grasses, legumes, and forages are available to the cows always in the lush, rotationally grazed pastures of summer and the sweet hay in the winter solar barn.

Their farming methods have evolved over the years. For the first forty years, they were grain growers and hay producers. Cereal crops such as oats, wheat, and barley, along with row crops like corn and soy fit neatly into their crop rotations with grasses and legumes. From the straw for the animals bedding to the grain the cows ate, everything was grown on the farm. Over the years, as their soil health and fertility increased, the quality of their forages improved until they realized that they could likely reduce the amount of grain that was being fed to the cows. By 2016, they had phased out grains completely and became a 100% grass-fed dairy, rotating the cows on fresh pasture every twelve hours.  

 

Jack Lazor shared on the Butterwork’s Farm blog that, “our transition to 100% grass-fed is well worth it.  Despite the fact that we will need more land and sharpened management skills to do this, we are very happy to promote more grass and less grain (and subsequently less tillage) on the land that we steward.  More grass means more fibrous root systems in the soil.  Less grain means less tillage and better soil health.  Less tillage means less burning of fossil fuels and less disturbance to the delicate balance of microorganisms in our soils.

“Our primary goal in farming is to take more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and through photosynthesis, lock it up in the Earth’s crust as humus and organic matter.  Higher carbon levels in the soil are the number one weapon that we as humans have to reduce and eliminate the effects of a changing climate.  We are excited to be trying something challenging and new.  Our farming practices were already focused on mineralization and soil health which has built a vibrant farm organism.  Our switch to 100% grass-fed dairying is taking us to new levels.  It is incredibly hard work, but so much fun and what we are learning we want to share with others in the process.”

 

Spotlight on Klinger’s Bread Company

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Klinger’s Bread Company! From March 5th – 11th, member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of local fresh-baked artisan bread! Read on to learn more about this Burlington-based bakery and their time-honored baking traditions:

 

Rustic, Healthy, Hearty, Crusty, Chewy, Flavorful…
Just a few words overheard to describe the artisan breads of Klinger’s. Their hearth-baked breads were proudly brought to Vermont in 1993 by the Klingebiel families of Williston, Vermont and Salem, New York.

These flavorful, authentic European breads were developed by one of America’s premier artisan bakers. Their bakers have been thoroughly trained in the methods and subtleties of bread baking. The breads are made from starters which are allowed to develop over a thirty-hour period. Visit the bakery and watch their bread crafters at work. Amidst floured tables, you will see them mix the finest ingredients, hand shape loaves, and bake them with care in their French brick oven.

Klinger’s is proud to bring you the rustic, homemade taste of their signature artisan breads. Their goal is to produce breads with character and integrity, to make your mouth water with the aroma of loaves fresh from the oven, and to share the products of their labor with you again and again.

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