member deals

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% off of their abundant array of local, organic veggies and their glorious fresh-cut bouquets from September 17th – 23rd! Read on to learn more about this wonderful farm and the fine folks who work tirelessly to make it such a special place:

Golden Russet Farm logo

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 great recipes and tips on using plants as natural dyes!

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. You’ll even find their local popcorn in our Bulk Department! They’re featured in our Member Deals Spotlight from September 10th – 15th 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

 

Spotlight on Aqua ViTea

This week’s  Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Aqua ViTea! All of their non-alcoholic Kombucha is 20% off for member-owners from September 3rd – 9th! Read on to learn more about this unique local business with humble beginnings on a Salisbury Farm!

 

History

In 2005, founder Jeff Weaber and his wife Katina Martin moved to Salisbury, Vermont from Portland, Oregon. Portland had been their home for nine years as Katina pursued medical degrees in Naturopathy, Midwifery, and Acupuncture. During those years, Jeff became a brewer for The Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. and was in the unique position of honing the craft of brewing and fermentation at work, while learning about functional foods and the governing role of the digestive system from Katina at home.

Mike Kin creates the signature Freshketch artwork for Aqua ViTea

While reading Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions and diving into the research of the Weston A. Price foundation, Weaber was introduced to Kombucha. He began experimenting with home-brewed Kombucha and shared the surplus with friends. Weaber found himself amazed by its popularity with both the naturopathic and beer-drinking crowds. “I realized right away that I had found a way to do what I loved and sustain a healthy lifestyle,” says Weaber. The more I learned about the benefits of Kombucha, the more passionate I became about making it available to my community.

His commercial brewing operation began in the cellar of his Salisbury farm and by 2007, Weaber was selling his Kombucha to the happy crowds at the Middlebury Farmers Market under the Aqua ViTea brand. By 2008 he was bottling his product and selling wholesale to our Co-op and a handful of other local markets and, in 2009, our Co-op was proud to be the first co-op in the country to offer Kombucha on tap!

As the business grew, Weaber called on Mike Kin, who was a close friend of Weaber’s in Oregon, and convinced him to move to Vermont with his family to become the company’s brewer. If you dig the artwork on Aqua ViTea’s packaging and materials as much as we do, you’ve got Mike to thank for these. He sketches each one by hand, creating the funky, colorful, amazing signature artwork that you see on all of AquaVitea’s products!

By 2014, demand began to outpace production capacity, and plans to move Aqua ViTea’s production off the farm began to ferment. They first moved to a state-of-the-art facility in Bristol, VT, followed by yet another upgrade in 2017 to an even more impressive facility -the former home of Woodchuck Cider on Exchange Street in Middlebury. They now produce about 30,000 gallons a month and their line of bottled and draft kombuchas is distributed in 25 states!

Jeff Weaber & Mike Kin

Mission

According to Aqua ViTea’s website:

Our mission since the beginning has been to sustain and cultivate the core foundation of healthy, sustainable communities through a series of interrelated actions and principles.

We evaluate the environmental impact of our business decisions to remain mindful of how they will affect all aspects of living and life. We seek to source the finest quality ingredients and work with regional providers whenever feasible. We work to create opportunities not only for our team, but for you, that will make a positive difference in our and your food consumption, lifestyle choices, and career paths. We recognize and remind ourselves and you to acknowledge the responsibility to contribute and give back to the community.

Commitment to Authenticity

Controversy has been brewing in the Kombucha community surrounding the fact that many commercially available Kombucha brands have been found to contain significantly more sugar and more alcohol than their labels disclose. Additionally, some large-scale Kombucha products are being manufactured in a lab setting, force carbonated, and even pasteurized, with the probiotic cultures added artificially as “ingredients” to the end product.

Aqua ViTea, since day one, has shown a deep commitment to authenticity. This begins by sourcing the highest quality ingredients, including sustainably-sourced organic tea from Middlebury’s Stone Leaf Teahouse and organic cane sugar to feed the ferment. Their Kombucha is the product of a live, active fermentation, which allows the live cultures and enzymes to develop naturally and delivers the tangy effervescence that Kombucha drinkers love.

Additionally, they are one of only two Kombucha makers in the U.S. to invest in a spinning cone column – a machine typically used in wine-making – which allows for the extraction and recovery of volatile compounds, including alcohol, without the need for excessive heat. And since the alcohol is removed at the end of fermentation, the active cultures can grow at their own pace, which results in authentic, delicious and non-alcoholic Kombucha. They even employ an in-house microbiologist to analyze the safety and purity of their products! Dr. Bill Yawney oversees their food safety standards and works in their state-of-the-art in-house lab to create standards for testing alcohol levels in Kombucha produced by Aqua ViTea and by other Kombucha producers. You can read more about that here.

The Famous Cone Extractor removing the alcohol from Aqua ViTea’s Kombucha

 

 

You’ll notice that Aqua ViTea Kombucha now bears the Alcohol Extracted Verified Seal, so you know what you’re getting (and not getting) when you drink their Kombucha.

 

 

Wonder where that alcohol is going after it’s extracted from Aqua ViTea Kombucha?

They send it right down the road to their friends at Appalachian Gap Distillery, where it is turned into a distinct and flavorful vodka known as Aqua Vodka. It’s the perfect blend of ancient tradition and modern technology! Click here to read all about it.

Also, an exciting new addition to the Aqua ViTea lineup is AfterGlow Hard Kombucha! This is a smooth, tasty alternative to beer and cider and a more natural option than spiked seltzers. It’s organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and made with only the finest sustainably-sourced ingredients. While they do extract the alcohol from their traditional Kombucha, that alcohol is not used in creating AfterGlow. Instead, they let AfterGlow’s natural alcohol mature through fermentation and into the can – resulting in a mindfully made adult beverage. Click here to read more about it.

 

 

 

 

Featured Co-op Connection Business – Shafer’s Market

Our featured Co-op Connection Business this month is Shafer’s Market and Deli! Perhaps you’ve cooled off with one of their delicious creemees this summer or enjoyed a slice pizza fresh from their wood-fired oven? We’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on this family-owned business that’s been working hard to keep the community fed during these challenging times and we’re reminding card-carrying Co-op member-owners that they can enjoy a 10% discount on all of Shafer’s delicious offerings through the Co-op Connection. Read on to learn more:

 

When life-long Middlebury residents Adam Shafer and Jennifer Stocker learned that their hometown deli, located at 54 College Street in downtown Middlebury, was for sale back in 2017, they jumped at the chance to call it their own. Shafer came into the business with a lot of experience in the culinary world, having grown up in a family that knew the ins and outs of restaurant management. He regularly pitched in to help his grandfather Bill Shafer at the two restaurants he owned – the Lemon Fair Diner and The Pizza Cellar, both of which were located on Middlebury’s Merchants Row. He eventually moved on to professional stints at several local restaurants including Two Brother’s Tavern, Carol’s Hungry Mind Café, and Bistro Sauce in Shelburne, then finally made a return to his hometown for a seven-year stint with Middlebury College Dining Services.

Co-owner Jennifer Stocker works the house-made dough for their wood-fired pies

Stocker brings her own business experience to the team after a successful 22-year career as a hairstylist. She and Shafer have six children (including 3-year-old twins!) and visitors to the market and deli will likely find the teenagers pitching in behind the counter. Stocker and Shafer bring a great deal of energy and passion to their work, which has truly been put to the test during these past few difficult months. The challenges presented by the pandemic have required Shafer and Stocker to be nimble and creative when it comes to feeding their community. They’ve certainly risen to the challenge, first by shifting their model to include more pantry staples during the early days of the pandemic, and, most recently, by providing a much-needed food delivery service to students at Middlebury College who are required to remain on a strict campus quarantine. 

Stocker adds the hearty house-made sauce

They currently serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week and provide local delivery. Their goal is to gradually work back up to their pre-pandemic hours, though, for now, they must first focus on building back up their staffing. Stocker stressed that her first priority was that the food coming out of their kitchen rise to their very high standards. When they’re able to keep standards high with a full staff again, they’ll be able to return to later hours. For now, you’ll likely find them open from 7:00 am until at least 7:00 pm.

Stocker piles on the fresh toppings

Their eclectic menu offers something for everyone, including an extensive breakfast menu, signature sandwiches featuring house-cured meats, hearty burgers, wood-fired pizzas, and, of course, a long list of ice cream and creemees for dessert. They also offer a selection of retail items in their market including soda, beer, candy, dairy, and other basic items. If you’re looking for a great cup of local joe, Shafer’s offers hot and iced coffee options from Bud’s Beans. They also extend a very generous 15% discount to all local EMTs, police, and fire personnel.

The wood-fired brick pizza oven works its magic

Whether you’re a seasoned regular, or it’s your first time visiting Shafer’s Market and Deli, we’re confident that you’ll find something delicious and leave with a smile. 

Hannah serves up a fresh scoop of ice cream and a smile from the walk-up window

 

The walk-up window offers convenient access to an exciting list of ice cream, milkshakes, and creemies

Spotlight on Vermont Coffee Company

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Vermont Coffee Company this week to spread the love for this small town coffee roaster located right here in Middlebury, VT. Member-owners can enjoy 20% off all Vermont Coffee Company products from August 27th – September 2nd, so it’s a great time to stock up and save. Read on to learn more about this fantastic local business and their passion for big, bold coffee.

About

Vermont Coffee Company is located on Exchange Street in the heart of Middlebury’s Industrial Area. They roast, pack, and ship their coffee on site. They also have an on-site café where they typically encourage their Friends to come and relax, hold meetings, write novels, knit, or do homework. However, due to the COVID-19 virus, the café is closed for the foreseeable future in order to keep their staff and employees safe and healthy.  If you’re interested in receiving café updates, sign up for their café eNote at cafe@vermontcoffeecompany.com

Friend Philosophy

Vermont Coffee Company began roasting coffee in a small café in Bristol, Vermont in 1979. The first coffees they roasted were for their friends. COFFEE ROASTED FOR FRIENDS® is more than a slogan, it is their mission. They believe that coffee is a social stimulus that brings people together to share ideas and stories. When people come together, a community is formed and friends are made. 

Vermont Coffee Company is a FRIEND to the planet. They made a big decision and in 2018 became the first coffee roaster in the Nation to roast with 100% renewable biogas. In addition, this coffee is also grown under natural shade in a habitat that is healthy for people, animals, plants, and the soil. Over the years they’ve developed a unique style of slow-roasting their coffee in small batches, which caramelizes the beans and brings out the semi-sweet, chocolate flavors. 

Vermont Coffee Company wants you to have big, bold coffee. After they roast their coffee, they use packaging to protect the fresh beans from light, air, and moisture. The paper bag blocks out light, and the polybag prevents moisture and some air from affecting the flavor.

The paper bags and closure labels can be redeemed for FREE STUFF! Learn more about their Frequent Friend® Program here.

Their Low-Density Polyethylene LDPE poly bags are manufactured here in Vermont. They are recyclable, and like most LDPE, are reformed into items such as bubble wrap, floor tiles, sandwich bags, trash can liners, and yes, compost bins!
Many grocery stores have a soft plastics drop-off bin where you can bring their poly bag to be recycled. You can also drop them off at the Addison County Solid Waste Management District transfer station in Middlebury, or you can repurpose them for carrying your lunch to work, sorting Lego pieces, or holding party favors.

Vermont Coffee Company is a FRIEND to its farmers. They work on long-term relationships with their growers and pay them a fair price for their quality organic coffee. They stick with them through their difficult times, as all friends would do. 
  
Vermont Coffee Company is a FRIEND to their community supporting those in need of food and shelter through H.O.P.E. and other organizations.

 

They are parents and grandparents, artists and musicians, quilters and knitters, welders and carpenters. They are sugarmakers and volunteer firemen. They golf, ski, kayak, bicycle, and do Sun Salutations. They swim in the rivers, hang their laundry on the line, and wear wool. They read paperback books and write letters in longhand. They stack their own woodpiles and attend Town Meetings. During lunch they work on jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles together. 

They love roasting coffee for their friends!

They’d love to hear from you! 

Email them: friends@vermontcoffeecompany.com or find us on Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, and Twitter.

Spotlight on Common Sense

We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on one of the newest additions to our local lineup in the Wellness Department – Common Sense! Based in Bellows Falls, VT, this natural body care company has been making high-quality, all-natural body care products for over 35 years. From August 20th – September 2nd Co-op member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of products! Read on to learn more about them and their commitment to authenticity:

According to its website, Common Sense began manufacturing natural soap and body care products 35 years ago. At that time, health food stores were small and natural products were not in the mainstream. Some of their earliest large-scale batches of soap involved using a plastic barrel for the tank and a canoe paddle as a mixer! They worked on perfecting their trade and within a little while had come up with a few simple products. Their goal was to produce effective products at an affordable price — hence the name Common Sense Soap. Many years later the same values hold true for Common Sense Soap. Their interest in learning to make natural products was based on the simple conviction that making “natural” products was the right thing to do.

Learning was painstakingly slow at first. Raw material suppliers had no interest in supplying know-how on the natural authenticity of raw materials. They recall asking a large supplier whether their emulsifiers were naturally derived and still remember the response:  “Son, no one cares about those things. All anyone cares about is feel, fragrance, and appearance.” As a result, they only made very simple products because they had no objective information regarding the processing of many raw materials. 

With natural products now firmly planted in the mainstream, economic survival mandates that raw material suppliers provide objective information regarding raw materials. New brands are continually introduced but most are just marketing endeavors. It’s rare to find a brand that actually formulates and makes its own products. And it’s even rarer to find someone who has been doing this for many years. Common Sense is an exception. They aren’t newcomers trying to sell something with nothing behind it. They work hard to produce quality products that are useful, safe, and affordable. 

During this pandemic, handwashing remains one of the most effective ways to protect oneself from the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Common Sense offers many kinds of soaps and lots of moisturizers, as well – which certainly come in handy when handwashing occurs with such frequency.  Their sales motto is simple: “A good product will sell itself.” 

 

Spotlight on Bee’s Wrap

We’re shining this week’s Member Deals Spotlight on a mission-driven local business creating innovative, award-winning products to help us curb our dependence on plastic — Bee’s Wrap! From August 13th – 19th all Bee’s Wrap products are 20% off for member-owners, so it’s a great time to stock up on these reusable, rugged, eco-friendly, locally-made, fully compostable wraps. Read on to learn more about this local company, their mission, and their fierce advocacy:

 

Bee’s Wrap was born in 2012 as its founder, Sarah Kaeck, was growing ever more deeply concerned about the persistent effect of plastics on our planet. She began by asking a simple question: How could we eliminate plastics in our kitchen in favor of a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food?

What she discovered was a lost tradition made new again. By infusing organic cotton with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin, Kaeck created a washable, reusable, and compostable alternative to plastic wrap. What she also understood from the very beginning was that there must be a consideration of the entire life of the products we make and consume, from their creation and manufacturing to their eventual end. This is where biodegradability comes in: A product that is biodegradable can be easily returned to the earth. As their website states, “It’s a technology as old as time, and everything made in nature returns to nature with time. There’s no complicated recycling process, and no need to send your Bee’s Wrap off to a special facility. Made from four simple ingredients, Bee’s Wrap comes from the earth and is designed to return to the earth.” As your wrap begins to wear out, the team at Bee’s Wrap hopes that you’ll look on those signs of wear as a welcome reminder of the natural cycles that surround us.

Looking beyond the impact of the products they create, Bee’s Wrap is committed to using their business as a vehicle for social change, bettering the lives of their customers, employees, community, and the planet. As a proud B Corp and certified Green America company, Bee’s Wrap is committed to social change to help better the lives of its customers, employees, community, and planet. In 2019 they were awarded Green America’s People and Planet Award, which recognizes outstanding small businesses with deep commitments to social justice and environmental sustainability. They were also the 2019 recipient of B-Corp’s 2019 Best For The World: Environment award for the business’s top-notch attention to environmental stewardship. Bee’s Wrap is actively working with partners such as 1% for the Planet, The Bee Cause, The Rozalia Project, and National Geographic, pledging their support to ocean conservancy, beach cleanups, and environmental stewardship. 

Bee’s Wrap also recently joined dozens of other Vermont businesses to advocate at the Statehouse for climate action policies in 2020. As Kaeck shared in a recent blog post, “I feel it is important that our elected officials hear from the Vermont business community, as we are important stakeholders in Vermont’s economy and have an impact on the environment we all share. Bee’s Wrap’s focus is on reducing the usage and availability of single-use plastics, increasing the accessibility of renewable energy, and prioritizing the reduction of climate pollution, and we support the comprehensive 2020 climate policy agenda outlined by VPIRG. Vermont’s small size and long history of participatory democracy provide an opportunity for Vermont business (and individual Vermonters) to have direct, substantial, face-to-face conversations with their own state representatives and legislative leaders. Bee’s Wrap participated in this event to advocate for our business values and shared priorities for bold climate action. We did this alongside our corporate peers, demonstrating together that the need for action is vital and urgent.”

Reducing the reliance on plastic takes time, and every effort you make counts. Whether you’re using Bee’s Wrap for on-the-go snacks or storing dinner leftovers, you’re one step closer to making it possible to ditch disposable food storage for good. Today, Bee’s Wrap is a leading alternative to plastic wrap. From their headquarters right here in Middlebury, Vermont, they’re creating wraps that provide a versatile and durable solution for sustainable food storage.

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight on New Leaf Organics

We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on New Leaf Organics! This local, organic farm not only keeps our produce shelves stocked with an array of fresh seasonal veggies but also supplies us with an abundant array of veggie and herb seedlings each Spring. Perhaps you have a few of them growing in your garden? All of New Leaf Organics products are 20% off for Co-op member-owners from August 6th – 12th, so it’s a great time to stock up on the flavors of summer in Vermont. Read on to learn more about this female-powered farm and all that they have to offer:

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. You’ll also find a great selection of 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

Featured Co-op Connection Business – Otter Creek Used Books

“The bookstore…had its own special aroma, the incomparable and unforgettable scent of books and dust, paper and ink, type and binding, the dazzling anticipation and excitement of seekers after books.” – Marvin Mondlin & Roy Meador, Book Row.

This is the feeling one has the pleasure of experiencing upon entering Otter Creek Used Books. This special gem, located in Middlebury’s historic Marbleworks, is owned by Barbara Harding and it’s one of the newest local businesses featured in our Co-op Connection lineup. Harding has owned the store for thirteen years. Nine of those years were in the current location and four were in the previous location in downtown Middlebury’s now-demolished Lazarus building. Harding never thought she’d own a bookstore, but while taking a walk downtown one day on a break from her work at the Addison County Chamber of Commerce where she worked to promote travel and tourism, she discovered that the used bookstore was for sale. She walked in to inquire about the price and made the decision that very day to become its new owner. Talk about a leap of faith!

Harding says that she’d always loved books, particularly used books, and has fond memories of walking out of libraries and used book stores with her arms full as a kid. She had a passion for turning this particular book store around, as she’d witnessed its decline over the years and knew it had the potential to be something special. And she has most certainly succeeded in giving it new life, not once, but twice, as the move to the new location nine years ago necessitated another rebirth of sorts.  Now, in the wake of a lengthy and unplanned closure due to the pandemic, Harding once again finds herself in a position to bring this unique little bookstore back to life and she’s determined to do so.

Much is the same as it was pre-pandemic, though there have been some minor changes to store hours and procedures. The shop is now open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm and Harding is not currently accepting books for store credit. While she’s working hard to get back on her feet, she’s politely asking those with existing store credit to hold off on cashing it in. The lengthy closure provided Harding the opportunity to do some rearranging, expanding some categories, condensing others, and she’s bringing in new inventory daily. 

When asked if she has a favorite book in the store, Harding insists that she couldn’t possibly choose just one. She confesses that when certain coveted titles arrive in the store, she tends to keep them in a small stack near her desk so that she can enjoy their presence for a period of time before eventually deciding that she’s ready to part with them. Long-time customers often ask to see what’s in her pile and she jokes that she’s reluctant to share until she’s truly ready for them to have a new home.  A recent title in her coveted stack is Vermont Place Names:  Footprints of History. It’s the third time Harding has come across this particular book and she knows where each of the last two copies landed, so she’s hoping to find another really good home for this one. That is…as soon as she’s ready to move it from her pile. Her general preference is for non-fiction and one of her priorities when initially purchasing the store was to have a dedicated Vermont section, which was absent from the store at that time. Visitors to the store will now find a robust selection of Vermont titles from Frost to McKibben and everything in between. 

In a recent blog post, Harding expressed her appreciation for those who have helped her get through this challenging time. “Thank you to all who called, emailed, walked in to check on me, order books as well as gift certificates, asked for a stack of books to be brought outside to venture through. It was encouraging and helped me get through in ways you’ll never know.” 

There no better time than now to rally around this local treasure. Whether you’re already a loyal customer or it’s your very first visit, you’ll find it to be a warm and welcoming space full of all of the magic and mystery that make a used book store so alluring. There’s something there to satisfy every interest, and Barbara will be there behind the counter to greet you with a smile. 

Barbara Harding, owner of Otter Creek Used Books

 

 

 

Spotlight on New Leaf Organics

We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on New Leaf Organics! This local, organic farm not only keeps our produce shelves stocked with an array of fresh seasonal veggies but also supplies us with an abundant array of veggie and herb seedlings each Spring. Perhaps you have a few of them growing in your garden? All of New Leaf Organics products are 20% off for Co-op member-owners from August 6th – 12th, so it’s a great time to stock up on the flavors of summer in Vermont. Read on to learn more about this female-powered farm and all that they have to offer:

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. You’ll also find a great selection of 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

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