Local

Spotlight on Lake Champlain Chocolates

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight this week on a local favorite – Lake Champlain Chocolates! All of their mouth-watering chocolates are 20% off for member-owners from November 7th – 13th! Read on to learn more about this local confectionery that has called Vermont home for more than 35 years:

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History:

The story of Lake Champlain Chocolates began back in 1983 when founder Jim Lampman dared his pastry chef at Burlington’s Ice House Restaurant to create a better truffle than the ones he had been buying for his staff as holiday gifts. Together they began making the most amazing hand-rolled, creamy truffles and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sourcing Matters:

From the very beginning, long before eating local was cool, Lake Champlain Chocolates has been committed to sourcing Vermont-grown ingredients whenever possible. They knew that using high-quality Vermont honey, maple syrup, and dairy from local farmers and producers would result in superior chocolates.

They’re also aware that sourcing matters for products that must come from afar. From the cacao farmers to their customers and every hardworking person and supplier in between, their  Fair for Life – Social & Fair Trade Certification goes above and beyond by looking not only at individual ingredients but at company practices as a whole. This means that you can enjoy every bite of chocolate knowing that they are committed to making a positive impact on our local and global communities.

The goal is to bring you their best.  To make high-quality chocolate that amazes with exquisite flavor and creates a moment of pure joy. It’s also why they’ve never added preservatives, extenders, or additives, and why they’ve worked diligently to remove GMOs from all of their chocolates and use organic and fair trade certified ingredients whenever possible. With each new product, the goal remains the same – to create something special, and to give you the best experience.

Eric Lampman in the Dominican Republic

A Family Affair:

Lake Champlain Chocolates is a second-generation, family-owned business, just like the generations of Vermont family farmers that provide them with fresh butter, cream, maple syrup, and honey. And just like the generations of cacao farmers in places like the Dominican Republic and Guatemala — with whom they have direct partnerships. Today, Jim’s son and daughter, Eric and Ellen, are defining the future of Lake Champlain Chocolates by developing award-winning organic products and spearheading sustainable sourcing initiatives. Along the way following the Lampman family principles: Dare to do better. Always do it with Passion. And do it your way.

Lampman Family

Fair Trade:

Beyond labeling individual products as “fair trade” — an ongoing process in itself — the entire company is now certified Fair for Life.  Fair for Life is a rigorous third-party certification for social accountability and fair trade. Above and beyond fair trade certification, it looks at a company’s practices as a whole, including the ingredients used in its products. LCC undergoes regular audits to ensure every step of its supply chain is socially legit. Not just the cocoa, but every link they have as a business, including their own employees’ working conditions here in Vermont.

Why? Because of their belief that every person in the process should be treated and compensated fairly. And that means everyone in the supply chain — from the farmers who grow and harvest the cocoa, to those who transport it, transform it into chocolate, process your order, package it, and ensure it arrives ready for you to enjoy.

This certification affirms the following:

  • A price premium is paid to the cocoa farmers and co-ops.
  • Certified products originate from fair trade producer operations.
  • LCC is engaged in long-term partnerships and socially responsible trading practices with its suppliers/purveyors.
  • LCC respects the labor rights of its own employees, providing good working conditions.
  • LCC is a good community citizen and practices environmental responsibility.
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B Corp Certification:

Lake Champlain Chocolates recently joined a growing community of more than 2,500 certified B Corporations worldwide who are united under one common goal – to redefine success in business. Rather than focus solely on profits, certified  B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Unlike other certifications that look at individual products, B Corporation evaluates the entire business — assessing the yearly impact on the environment, workers, customers, community, and government.  This new type of corporation is purpose-driven to create benefits for all, not just shareholders, working together to be the change we seek in the world.

For Lake Champlain Chocolates these performance standards provide a valuable third-party measurement tool, assuring customers and suppliers that LCC’s business practices meet the highest standards. “Achieving B Corp Certification is the next step towards fulfilling our company’s vision to become the gold standard of chocolate companies in the United States, a respected leader other companies aspire to be,” says Eric Lampman, LCC President. “For more than 35 years, our practices have been guided by one core value – ‘everything must measure up to the chocolate.’  And this includes making a positive impact on our local and global communities by respecting our employees, fostering long-term partnerships with our suppliers, and practicing environmental responsibility.”

Factory Tours:

The folks at Lake Champlain Chocolates would love to show you around! Visit their flagship store to watch master chocolatiers craft extraordinary chocolate right before your eyes. Learn how chocolate is made, where it comes from, and what makes their chocolates so delicious. And while you’re there enjoy the sample of the day, browse the current offerings or sit with friends in their café for hot chocolate, espresso or ice cream!

Monday-Friday, 11am-2pm
Tours on the hour
Self-Guided Tours after 3pm

FREE Chocolate Tastings
Saturday & Sunday, 11am to 4pm

750 Pine Street Burlington, VT
Tours fill up quickly in peak months, so call ahead: 802-864-1807

 

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Pre-Order Guide

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we’ve got everything you need for a delicious, stress-free holiday spread. Here’s how to make it happen:

Turkey Pre-Order

Turkey pre-orders may be placed online, by phone, or in-person. Click here to see the full menu of offerings and complete your order online. You can also give us a call and a staff member will be happy to help you place your pre-order by phone. Starting November 1st, you will also find paper copies of the order sheets at the customer service counter. You’ll see one sign-up sheet for local turkeys from Stonewood Farm and another sheet for certified organic free-range turkeys from Mary’s Free RangeTurkeys.  We will continue to take turkey orders through Saturday, November 23rd. If you miss our pre-order deadline, it’s still very likely that we’ll be able to accommodate your needs, but pre-order is your best guarantee. 

Prices

Stonewood – $3.19/lb (same as last year)

Mary’s Free Range Organic – $4.69/lb

Sizes

Stonewood turkeys will range in size from around 14 lbs to over 30 lbs. When you place your order, you’ll have the opportunity to specify what size turkey you’d like. We’ll aim to get you a turkey within 3-5 lbs of your requested size.

Organic turkeys from Mary’s are available in various sizes ranging from 8 – 20 lbs. Let us know what size you’d prefer and we’ll aim to get you a turkey within 3-5 lbs of your requested size.

Wondering how much turkey to buy to accommodate your guest list? A handy rule of thumb is 1.5 pounds of turkey per guest. And note that it’s always better to have too much than too little – especially during the holidays when leftovers are key to feeding out-of-town guests throughout the week.

All turkeys will be fresh (not previously frozen).

New! Side Dishes!

The Co-op Kitchen will be cooking up a mouth-watering array of side dishes and desserts for your holiday table. The same pre-order and pick-up schedules apply. We will have a limited supply of these items, so be sure to pre-order to guarantee that we’ll have what you need. Your order may be placed online, by phone, or in-person at the customer service counter. If you miss the pre-order deadline, please check with any Deli staff member to see if your request can be accommodated. 

Click HERE to see the full list of offerings. 

Pick-Up

Turkey and side dish pick-up will begin on Sunday, November 24th  and end on Wednesday, November 27th. When you come to pick up your pre-ordered turkey and sides, please follow the signs to the holiday pick-up station located in our meat department. A staff member will be waiting to assist you!

 

Questions? Give us a call at (802) 388-7276 or ask any staff member next time you’re in the store!

 

 

Spotlight on Scott Farm

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Scott Farm this week to shed a little light on the work they’re doing to preserve heirloom and unusual apples on their 571-acre land trust in Southern Vermont. All of their fruits are 20% off for member-owners from October 24th – 30th! Read on to learn more about this unique organic orchard and its rich history:

 

Scott Farm Orchard is a 571-acre gem located in the rolling hills of Dummerston, VT. The orchard is home to over 130 varieties of ecologically grown heirloom apples and other fine fruits. The farm itself is something of an heirloom, settled in 1791 by Rufus Scott. The orchards were planted in 1915, and in 1995 Scott Farm was gifted to the historic preservation organization Landmark Trust USA, a non-profit organization whose mission is to rescue important but neglected historic properties and bring them back to life. At Scott Farm this has meant revitalizing the entire farm operation from orchard to farmhouses to barns.

Scott Farm Orchard. Photo by Kellyfletcherphotography.com
Historic buildings at Scott Farm. Photo by kellyfletcherphotography.com

The renowned apple maestro, Ezekiel “Zeke” Goodband, took over the management of the orchard in 2001. His search for old varieties has taken him to abandoned orchards throughout New England and as far as Kazakhstan, the birthplace of apples. A long time ago, Zeke learned that the less he sprayed the orchard, the less he had to spray. Zeke’s formal educational training was in the field of ecology and he realized early in his orcharding career that if he respected the orchard as an ecosystem there were fewer “pest” problems.

Zeke Goodband. Photo by kellyfletcherphotography.com

Their goal at Scott Farm has been to enhance the biodiversity of the orchard ecosystem – the more complex the ecosystem, the more stable it becomes, minimizing the potential for significant pest explosions. They have moved beyond organic into what they refer to as ecologically grown fruit. Scott Farm produces 130 varieties of ecologically grown apples – with beautifully poetic names such as Roxbury Russet, Belle de Boskoop, and Cox’s Orange Pippin, along with unusual apples like Winter Banana and Hidden Rose. Other fine fruits grown at the orchard include gooseberries, medlars, quince, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, pears, plums, and peaches. The apples and quince can be found at the Co-op, and the remaining fruits are sold directly through the orchard’s Farm Market which is open every day at 707 Kipling Road, Dummerston, Vermont from Labor Day to the day before Thanksgiving. Over 75% of the Scott Farm crop stays in Vermont!

photo by kellyfletcherphotography.com

 

Visit their web page to learn more, and don’t miss these fantastic recipes!

Apple Harvest. Photo by kellyfletcherphotography.com

Local Oktoberfest Dinner

It’s a lot of fun to celebrate culinary traditions, even when they aren’t necessarily a part of one’s personal cultural heritage. They open our minds and our palates to the unique traditions and flavors of different cultures. With this in mind, we’re sharing a delicious recipe for an Oktoberfest meal with a special Vermont twist! It’s the final week of our September Eat Local Challenge, so this Oktoberfest dinner features a spectacular lineup of local ingredients!  Dabbling in this German culinary tradition is also budget-friendly since many of the ingredients are featured in our weekly sale from September 26th – October 2nd, so grab your stein and your lederhosen and celebrate the flavors of Oktoberfest!

Spotlight on Urban Moonshine

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Urban Moonshine this week and all of their wonderful wellness products are 20% off for member-owners from September 26th – October 2nd. They offer a wide range of high-quality organic products ranging from digestive bitters for your belly, to tonics that pick you up or simmer you down. With a strong emphasis on ethical sourcing processes and a mission to make herbalism more accessible, we’re happy to shed a little light on this women-run company hailing from Burlington, Vermont. Read on to learn more about them:

 

 

Urban Moonshine was founded in 2008 in Jovial King’s kitchen with the goal of making herbal medicine more accessible. They specialize in high quality liquid herbal extracts with a focus on digestive bitters, herbal tonics, and everyday health remedies. Urban Moonshine has grown from a booth at the local farmers’ market to a nationally distributed and recognized brand while staying true to its mission of bringing high-quality, certified organic herbal medicine to more people and changing the way we think about the healing power of plants. They aim to return the use of herbal medicine to daily life, to bring it “out of the cupboard and onto the counter”.  They see their herbal products as part of a growing wellness movement, focused on authentic, effective, whole plant solutions. Urban Moonshine is based in beautiful Burlington, VT and is proud to be a woman-run company.

An extremely big moment in the Urban Moonshine story occurred last year: the amazing independent herbal tea company Traditional Medicinals acquired Urban Moonshine! Fundamental to that story is that Traditional Medicinals was co-founded in Sebastopol, CA in the early ’70s by one of Vermont’s most beloved/legendary herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, who was also one of Urban Moonshine founder Jovial’s first herbal teachers! Both companies are on the same path bringing high quality, organic herbal medicine into more people’s lives and they’re thrilled to be able to lean on Traditional Medicinal’s experience to help continue to build Urban Moonshine from the small kitchen to farmers’ market business Jovial started in 2009.

Both botanical wellness companies are aligned with the usage of high-quality organic ingredients, ethical sourcing processes and a mission to make herbalism more accessible by connecting people to the power of plants. Traditional Medicinals and Urban Moonshine will continue to operate separately and retain existing headquarters in Sonoma County, CA and Burlington, VT.

Be sure to check out Urban Moonshine’s blog to stay up to date on the latest in herbal wellness.

Apple Yogurt Parfait

We’re just past the halfway point of our September Eat Local Challenge and we think you’ll love this quick and easy Apple Yogurt Parfait featuring a list of some of our favorite local ingredients. This parfait makes a delicious breakfast, snack, or dessert that you can prepare in advance and enjoy on the go! For the dessert version, consider drizzling with a bit of local honey or maple syrup. You’ll find most of the ingredients you’ll need in our weekly sale from September 19th – 25th, so it’s a perfect time to whip up this localvore treat!

Spotlight on Golden Russet Farm

As we continue to celebrate Eat Local Month, we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on a local, organic farm that has been part of our Co-op family for over 30 years – Golden Russet Farm! We acquire more produce from their farm than from any other farm in Vermont! Member-owners can enjoy 20% their abundant array of local, organic veggies and their glorious fresh-cut bouquets from September 19th – 25th! Read on to learn more about this wonderful farm and the fine folks who work tirelessly to make it such a special place:

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Farming Organically Since 1981

Farm owners Will and Judy Stevens have been growing organic vegetables commercially since 1981, having started on a small plot of rented land in Monkton, VT. After growing their business and refining their techniques, all the while learning from other pioneers in the Vermont organic farming community, they determined it was time to expand their operation. In 1984 they purchased a former dairy farm with good soils in the agriculturally-rich town of Shoreham, VT, in the southwestern corner of Addison County—and this land has been home to Golden Russet Farm ever since! Recently their daughter Pauline returned home to the farm making it a true family affair.

Certified Organic in 1987

The Stevens have always used exclusively organic production practices on their vegetable and greenhouse operations and became certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers in 1987. Among other things, this means they use crop rotation, cover crops, biological and naturally-derived pest controls, compost, animal manure, and naturally-derived fertilizers as standard management practices.

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CSA, Farmstand, Greenhouse Sales & Cut Flowers for Events

Golden Russet Farm starts off the season with vegetable and flower plant sales in the greenhouses and the Farm-to-Kitchen Connection CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. In addition to raising vegetables for market, Judy also grows flowers for cutting, which adds color to the fields and creates habitat for beneficial insects. You’ll find these beautiful bouquets for sale throughout the summer months at the Co-op.

 

A Hyper-Local Sales Focus

Since 2003, the farm’s focus has been on “hyper-local,” meaning that approximately 90% of their produce has been consumed within 20 miles of the farm. Their produce is available at the farm stand, their CSA, at food markets in Middlebury and Burlington, and at Addison County restaurants.

Solar Powered Since 2013

In April of 2013 the Stevens put up five free-standing solar panels which provide them with all of their farm and personal electrical energy needs.

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About The Farmers

Judy is a fourth-generation Vermonter from southern Vermont. Her family ran a successful Christmas tree business in the Londonderry area for many years. This experience helped her and Will create a successful mail order wreath business that they ran from the farm until about 2000. Will moved to Vermont from the Ticonderoga, NY area in 1977 to finish his college education at the University of Vermont, which is where he and Judy met. He graduated in 1980 with a BA in studio art, with a specialty in blacksmithing.

After spending the summer of 1980 at Shelburne Museum (Judy as a weaver, and Will in the Blacksmith’s Shop), they were serendipitously presented with the opportunity to ramp up their homestead gardening interest to a commercial scale, and in the first several years everything they grew was sold exclusively at the Burlington Farmers’ Market. From the beginning, their mission has been to provide good quality food to people at reasonable prices.

Shortly after they moved to an old dairy farm in Shoreham, VT, in November 1984, they began to raise a family–Freeman was born in 1986, Pauline in 1989, and Anna came along in 1991. The kids had a sand pile in front of the shed, which, as the greenhouse plant business grew over the years, became a magnet for customers’ children. At some point, the pile was moved to its present location at the corner of the flower garden, which makes it much easier for shopping parents to keep an eye on their children!

Will & Judy. Flashback.1991. cropped

Between 1989 and 1992, Will served as President of Vermont Organic Farmers, which then was NOFA-VT’s certification committee. This was an exciting time in the world of organic agriculture. The sudden interest in the link between food safety and production practices was inspired by Meryl Streep’s CBS appearance on 60 Minutes in the fall of 1989 when she railed against a particular spray used on apples. “Mothers and Others for Pesticide Limits” was formed, bringing public awareness to the benefits of organic agriculture. Suddenly, a fringe movement that had been based on back-to-the-land ideals found itself moving toward the mainstream. Some would say that this was the beginning of the localvore movement.

Judy served for 3 years on the board of the Vermont Fresh Network. VFN strives to foster meaningful, mutually profitable relationships between Vermont food producers and chefs and was one of the earliest formal “Farm to Table” initiatives in the nation.

Judy and Will have been actively involved in Town affairs through various organizations and boards. Judy served on the Rescue Squad through much of the eighties and has played an important role in the expansion and promotion of Shoreham’s Platt Memorial Library over the last twenty years. Will was elected to the Town Planning Commission in the mid-nineties and eventually chaired it for several years. He has since served on the Select and Zoning Boards and has been elected Town Moderator every year since 2004.

In November 2006 Will was elected to the Vermont Legislature (as an Independent, representing the Towns of Benson, Orwell, Shoreham, and Whiting) for the first of four two-year terms. He was on the House Agriculture and Forest Products Committee all eight years and served the last four as ranking member. He is especially proud of two programs that came out of his committee during that time: the Farm to Plate and Working Lands Initiatives.

 

Be sure to visit their blog for a fantastic zucchini corn fritter recipe and other fresh, tasty recipes!

Localvore Beef Stew

As our Eat Local Challenge rolls on, we’re excited to share this celebration of local ingredients known as Localvore Beef Stew. It combines many locally-grown items that you’ll find in our weekly sale from September 12th – 18th, making this a budget-friendly option. We also think you’ll love the flexibility of this recipe, as it can be a catch-all for the abundance of produce coming out of your late summer garden. That’s why you’ll find celeriac in this recipe in the place of the more traditional celery since celeriac is more likely available from a local farm this time of year and offers a very similar flavor profile. No celeriac? No problem! Just use celery, instead.

Spotlight on Champlain Orchards

The crisp chill in the morning air and the first few dappled leaves high in the mountains signal that autumn is nearly here, as does the abundance of local apples. We’re nearing the half-way point of our Eat Local Challenge and we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on one of the oldest continuously operating orchards in Vermont – Champlain Orchards in Shoreham! They’re featured in our Member Deals Spotlight this week, so member-owners can enjoy 20% off their stunning array of fresh apples and apple products including sweet apple cider, apple pies, and apple cider donuts, along with their plums and red pears from September 12th – 18th! Read on to learn more about this family-owned, solar-powered, ecologically-managed orchard overlooking Lake Champlain.

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The story of Champlain Orchards as we know it today began in 1998, when twenty-seven-year-old Bill Suhr purchased 60 acres of orchard in Shoreham, Vermont.  Bill’s motivation and initiative to live off the land overshadowed the fact that apple growing and fruit farming were not in his realm of knowledge, but thanks to the seasoned expertise of long-established neighboring orchardists Sandy Witherell, Scott and Bob Douglas, and Judy Pomainville – who all shared equipment, land, and information, it wasn’t long before the orchard was thriving.  In the early days, Bill delivered 20 bushels at a time in a station wagon to the local farmers’ markets and co-ops. He quickly gained the trust of produce markets around the state through exhibiting a steadfast motivation and passion for delivering high quality, Vermont grown fruit.

 

photo credit: S.P. Reid

Today, Champlain Orchards manages over 220 acres of fruit trees that includes over 100 varieties of apples as well as peaches, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines, and berries. Their fruit is ecologically grown and third-party certified by the IPM Institute. Eight acres are certified Organic by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) and the farm is 100% electrically solar-powered, with Solar Orchard #3 in the planning stages.

 

Additionally, Champlain Orchards runs a cidery. Every single apple in their Vermont Hard Cider is pressed, fermented, and crafted at their orchard. This makes for a quality, local product that is fresh, crisp and deliciously drinkable. Their cidery offers original Vermont hard cider, Mac & Maple, Heirloom, Honeycrisp, Cranberry, Pruner’s pride, Ginger & Spice, Asian Pear, Honey plum, Pruner’s Promise, Sparkling Ice, Peach, Hopped Native, and Ice cider. Be sure to visit their tasting room!

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Champlain Orchards’ mission is to grow a wide variety of delicious ecologically grown tree fruit while respecting the land, supporting our communities and surpassing customers’ expectations.

Values

Champlain Orchards welcomes the opportunity and challenge to grow unique apple, pear and stone fruit while providing an environment for people to grow personally and professionally.  We strive to be leaders in our industry and community with innovative practices and products.

Vision

Champlain Orchards’ vision is to build a legacy as the premier ecologically managed orchard in the Northeast United States by being led by multigenerational management and staff through careful long term planning.  Our sights are set on being the model for providing wholesome fruit, ciders, and other products, using sustainable growing practices and renewable energy.

Growing Practices

So what does ecologically-managed mean? Great question!

Eco Apple Certification is third-party verified by the Integrated Pest Management Institute of North America, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which supports and monitors low-input pest management. The IPM approach includes thorough training and inspection of certified farms, who use the most eco-sensitive, minimally-treated, natural methods possible to grow our fruit. For example, instead of extensive spraying, we use wood chips from pruned branches as mulch around the trunks of our trees in order to increase plant health, which in turn helps the trees ward off illness. Damaging pests are managed through the introduction of natural predators, mating disruption, and trapping, rather than pesticides – this ultimately keeps our trees, staff, and you safe. To learn more, please visit the IPM’s website, or give us a shoutout!

 

Spotlight on Stonewood Farm

Are you enjoying Eat Local Month as much as we are? The abundance of beautiful local produce this time of year makes us feel so lucky to live where we do. But, eating local isn’t just about fruits & veggies. Where would we be without our local meat producers? This week, we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Stonewood Farm of Orwell, VT. They provide big, beautiful turkeys for our Thanksgiving tables, and keep us stocked in ground turkey and turkey breasts year-round. They’re featured in our Member Deals Spotlight from September 5th – 11th and all of their products are 20% off for member-owners. Read on to learn more about this fantastic farm that is all about raising turkeys the natural way:

Established in 1976 by Paul & Francis Stone, Stonewood Farm has been a family-owned and operated farm ever since and is now run by Peter Stone & Siegrid Mertens. Here are the rules of raising natural turkeys at their farm:

  • The turkey-friendly barns are uncrowded and open-sided providing lots of fresh air and natural sunlight
  • The turkeys are raised without hormones, antibiotics, or animal by-products added to their feed
  • There are no added preservatives or artificial ingredients
  • Humane Care at our farm means plenty of Vermont air, cold nights, good feed, and tender loving care
  • The turkeys are intentionally grown slowly. This ensures a delicious and naturally self-basting turkey, which lends a superior flavor and juiciness that Stonewood Farm turkey is known for
  • To ensure a humane harvest, we have an on-site USDA-approved processing plant that is operated by our family. All turkeys are individually hand graded to ensure the highest quality

 

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