Have a hankering for a mouth-watering slice of pizza? Or how about a calzone, some pasta or a fresh, beautiful salad? Check out Green Peppers Restaurant! They’re our featured Co-op Connection Business this Month, so we’re reminding member-owners that you can enjoy 10% off your meal at Green Peppers! Green Peppers, owned by Mark and Donna Perrin, has been serving up delicious food in Middlebury since 1982.
As with all restaurants and food service operations, Green Peppers was not immune to the intense pandemic-related challenges of the past few years. In a true display of resilience, they viewed these challenges as an opportunity to rebrand their business to an online order/curbside pickup model to better serve the community. Complete with a fresh new website with an easy-to-use online ordering platform, they’re striving to keep it simple for their customers by providing convenient and efficient services 7 days a week. Hungry customers may place their order hours or even days in advance. Trying to feed a large crowd? They can help you do that too, with pizza, pasta, subs, salads, and more!
Since they first opened their doors nearly 40 years ago, Green Peppers has been a family-owned and family-operated business. After living in Los Angeles for 8 years, their youngest daughter Leslie has moved home to help support the family business. She spearheaded most of Green Pepper’s social media from California but has stepped into a bigger role since returning home. In addition to being a great chef, family man, and successful small business owner, Mark is also very involved in serving his community. He participates in Hunger Free Vermont’s local chapter of the Addison County Hunger Council, which aims to alleviate food insecurity for members of our community. He has also been actively involved in the community by serving on the Chamber of Commerce Board, Workforce Investment Board, and Middlebury Business Association Board. Governor Shumlin appointed Perrin to the State Board of Education on April 12, 2013, to serve a six-year term (2013-2019) with a focus on policy concerning the education of Vermont students and assuring equal access for all Vermont students to a quality education.
We’re proud to know Mark and his family and we’re grateful to have such a wonderful local restaurant as our neighbor. Green Peppers is open daily from 10:30 am – 7 pm and they look forward to serving you. Choose from a mouth-watering list of soups, calzones, salads, pasta, pizzas, subs, and more! Gluten-free? They’ve got you covered! Just don’t forget to mention that you’re a Co-op member!
One of the hallmarks of this season in Vermont is the abundance of local apples. With this in mind, 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 from September 29th – October 5th! Read on to learn more about this family-owned, solar-powered, ecologically managed orchard overlooking Lake Champlain.
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.
Today, Champlain Orchards manages over 220 acres of fruit trees that includes over 140 varieties of apples as well as peaches, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots, medlar, quince, and many berries. They are committed to being careful stewards of their land and grow all of their fruit following strict Eco-Apple requirements, while striving to minimize their carbon footprint and sustainably contribute to their community. Eight acres are certified Organic by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) and the farm is almost entirely solar-powered. All of their fruit is either ecologically grown and third-party certified by the IPM institute or organically grown and certified by VOF.
Additionally, Champlain Orchards runs a cidery. Their orchard-made cider is crafted from fruit grown with a conscience, in beautiful and pristine Vermont. Their cidery is located on-site at Champlain Orchards and every single apple in their hard ciders is pressed, fermented, and crafted at their orchard. This makes for a quality, local product that is fresh, crisp, and deliciously drinkable. They average around 50,000 gallons per year, and growing!
Champlain Orchards is proud to employ over 40 local Vermont residents, year-round. They also welcome an amazing Jamaican crew during their harvest season, many of whom have been coming to Champlain Orchards for over a decade!
One very exciting addition to the Champlain Orchards family is the legendary orchardist Zeke Goodband. Zeke leaves a nearly 20-year tenure at Scott Farm Orchards in Dummerston, Vermont to join the Champlain Orchards crew. According to a Seven Days article heralding this merger of apple mega minds, Zeke is described as a “champion of old and odd varieties of heirloom apples. His fruit has brightened up apple bins in co-ops around the state, and his influence has changed Vermonters’ perception of what an apple can be: golden and purple, as well as red and green; russeted or gnarled skin, as well as smooth.” He arrived at Champlain Orchards with scion wood from about two dozen varieties, which he plans to graft onto rootstock to see how they do in this new environment. Goodband and Suhr describe themselves as old friends and kindred spirits. They both admit to working too much and get excited when the conversation turns to apple genetics. They share the same values of fruit growing: making sure it’s safe for the environment and for their families.
In 2020, Champlain Orchards acquired neighboring Douglas Orchard & Cider Mill. This orchard was founded in 1989 and was overseen by four generations of the Douglas family. Scott and Bob Douglas were the fourth and final generation of Douglas’ to operate the farm and before selling the property to Champlain Orchards, they took steps to protect the land from future development by working with the Vermont Land Trust to preserve the Douglas Orchard & Cider Mill’s 181 acres. The conservation easement ensures the land will remain available to future farmers. Here’s what Bill Suhr has to say about the purchase of Douglas Orchard:
“For the past 22 years I have been emulating Bob and Scott Douglas as they care for their family farm and orchards, just down the road from us. After years of discussions and planning, we were able to officially purchase the 180-acre farm, allowing Bob & Terry, and Scott & Sue Douglas to officially begin a well-earned retirement. The Douglas family has been very supportive of Champlain Orchards over the years and I am thrilled to be able to preserve this historic orchard for future generations and continue on their legacy and values.
There are many more stories that Bob and Scott can tell while smiling about the young “flatlander” they have worked with over the years, but let’s switch to discussing how we intend to manage the challenge of running two unique PYO/retail operations. Over the years we have worked hard to not compete with the Douglas family when growing our PYO operation here at Champlain Orchards. We respect that some customers have formed loyalties to each farm, while other folks travel back and forth to experience both. Many companies absorb a competitor and simply overlay their own company traits. However, we see an opportunity to continue to maintain the unique experiences each farm offers, so people can appreciate older trees vs new trellis, traditional apple varieties vs uncommon varieties, etc. While staffing two operations will be challenging, we really like the opportunity for visitors to spread out and enjoy the freedom of both orchards.
There are uncertain times ahead for us all, but thanks to your loyal support we can continue to keep the Vermont apple landscape alive. We look forward to seeing you this summer and fall for a safe, bountiful PYO season, thank you!”
Champlain Orchards is open for pick-your-own (PYO) fruit for much of the growing season, so if you’ve never visited, consider this your formal invitation! Their website and social media pages are updated regularly to reflect seasonal PYO options and times. Visiting the orchard is a treat any time of year, but it’s truly a magical experience in the Fall when the apples are peaking!
As our Eat Local Challenge rolls on, we’re shining a bright Member Deals Spotlight on our friends at Old Road Farm! All of their glorious organic produce will be 20% off for member-owners from September 22nd – 28th! Read on to learn more about these young farmers, the diverse experience they bring to this challenging profession, and their commitment to real organic farming:
Meet the Farmers
A transplant from New York, Gabby Tuite came to Vermont to attend the University of Vermont where she received a bachelor’s in Community Development and Applied Economics. While studying at UVM, she took an internship at the Shelburne Farms’ Market Garden where she first got her hands dirty and fell in love with farming. After UVM, Gabby worked at River Berry Farm for two seasons. Here she learned how to grow on a larger scale, taking note of the efficiencies required to run a profitable farm. Between growing seasons, Gabby has worked at the City Market Onion River-Coop as a Produce Buyer and Team Leader giving her insight into marketing and merchandising, supervising employees as well as the local food chain from a buyer’s perspective.
Henry Webb grew up with large vegetable gardens and has fond early memories of visiting his father working at the UVM dairy barn. Starting in his teens he spent eight seasons working for Last Resort Farm, a Certified Organic vegetable, berry, and hay farm. He learned to maintain and work on the farm’s equipment and infrastructure as well as organic vegetable farming practices. Henry also spent two years at New Village Farm where he worked with a small herd of Normandie cattle producing raw milk and beef. At New Village, he was given the opportunity to manage and expand the farm’s market garden and gained experience producing for a small CSA, a farm stand, and the Shelburne Farmers Market.
About the Farm
Gabby and Henry shared a dream of owning their own farm and first began their adventure in the Fall of 2015 on a quarter-acre plot in the old field below Henry’s childhood home in Monkton, Vermont, mostly growing vegetables for a few area farmers markets. In the Fall of 2019, they were able to secure their dream “forever farm” with the help of the Vermont Land Trust. This gorgeous farm is nestled in the fertile river valley of Granville, Vermont, surrounded by National Forest land.
They specialize in growing fresh, high-quality salad greens and seasonal vegetables for local markets with a deep commitment to the highest standards of ecologically sound, regenerative, and innovative vegetable production. Their produce is Certified Organic by VOF and they are also certified by the Real Organic Project, a grassroots, farmer-led movement created to distinguish soil-grown and pasture-raised products under USDA organic. They were featured as the July Farmers of the Month by NOFA-VT and in their interview for this feature, Gabby shared that she and Henry prioritize real organic farming “because it offers some an alternative to our broken industrial food system by focusing on the health and sustainability of the environment.”
Weathering the Challenges
As with any new local business attempting to launch or scale up these past few years, Old Road Farm was not immune to the challenges presented by the pandemic. They had just begun farming their new piece of land in 2020 when they learned that their farmers market would be shutting down for the season. Providing yet another reminder of the incredible resilience of our local farming community, Gabby and Henry quickly shifted their business model to include a CSA. They are enjoying this opportunity to engage with their community in a new way and have continued to expand their CSA offerings each season. They also secured a NOFA-VT Resilience Grant, which they used to acquire a delivery van that you may spot rolling over the Middlebury Gap as they bring their glorious produce to the Co-op.
Here at the Co-op, you can find an abundant array of Old Road Farm’s produce, including spinach, chard, salad mix, arugula, collards, radishes, patty pan squash, broccolini, and scallions, each in their respective seasons. If you find yourself traveling Vermont’s iconic Route 100 through Granville, be sure to stop for a visit at their farmstand, where you can find a colorful mix of all the produce grown at their farm, which includes the usual lineup of goodies you can find at the Co-op, along with eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, squash, celery, and more!
As our Eat Local Challenge rolls on, 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 15th – 21st! Read on to learn more about this wonderful farm and the fine folks who work tirelessly to make it such a special place:
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! A few years ago, their daughter Pauline returned home to the farm and in 2022, Will and Judy began transitioning ownership of the farm to Pauline.
Certified Organic in 1987
The Stevens have always used exclusively organic production practices in 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.
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.
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!
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. Will now serves as an Outreach Representative for Senator Bernie Sanders’ office.
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. 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 8th – 14th and all of their products are 20% off for member-owners. Read on to learn more about this local farm hailing from Orwell, VT:
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. The farm raises around 34,000 turkeys each year! Here are the rules of raising natural turkeys at their farm:
Premium quality turkey with superior flavor and juiciness
Slow growth of turkeys ensures a delicious and naturally self- basting turkey
All-Natural; Never any added preservatives or artificial ingredients
All-Natural Never any added preservatives or artificial ingredients
Turkeys are individually hand graded to ensure high quality
Family Farm Standards:
Family-owned and operated in the Valley of the Green Mountains.
Sustainable farming practice
Environmentally friendly farming
Turkey-friendly barns that are Un-crowded and open-sided provide fresh air and natural sunlight
Naturally raised turkeys
All Vegetable feed, whole grain we do NOT add hormones, antibiotics, or animal by-products to the feed
Humanely cared for and processed by us
“Just plenty of Vermont air, cold nights, good feed and tender loving care on our family farm” -Grandma Stone
We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on a business with humble roots in Vermont where two guys named Ben and Jerry launched their first scoop shop from a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Fast forward a few decades, and Ben &Jerry’s has become a household name across the U.S. and beyond. Member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on pints of their famous ice cream from September 1st – 7th as we kick off our Eat Local Challenge! Read on to learn more about the rich history of Ben & Jerry’s and their various ways of giving back:
With a $5 correspondence course in ice cream-making from Penn State and a $12,000 investment ($4,000 of it borrowed), Ben and Jerry open their first ice cream scoop shop in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont in 1978. By 1980, they decided to rent space in an old spool and bobbin mill on South Champlain Street in Burlington to begin packing their ice cream in pints for distribution to grocery and Mom & Pop stores along the restaurant delivery routes that Ben serviced out of the back of his old VW Squareback wagon. By the following year, they were ready to open their second scoop shop in Shelburne, and in 1982, the original shop changed locations to the iconic shop that still stands on the corner of Church Street and Cherry Street in the heart of downtown Burlington.
Over the ensuing decades, the Ben & Jerry’s brand has grown by leaps and bounds but they’ve remained true to their core principles and continue to fiercely advocate for social and environmental causes. Ben & Jerry’s is founded on and dedicated to a sustainable corporate concept of linked prosperity. Central to the Mission of Ben & Jerry’s is the belief that all three parts of its mission must thrive equally in a manner that commands deep respect for individuals inside and outside the Company and supports the communities of which they are a part. One of the first companies in the world to place a social mission in equal importance to its product and economic missions, they focus their advocacy on their core values: human rights and dignity; social and economic justice; and environmental protection; restoration, & regeneration. They believe that business has a responsibility and a unique opportunity to be a powerful lever of change in the world. A Certified B-Corporation, they aim to use traditional and contemporary business tools to drive systemic progressive social change by advancing the strategies of the larger movements that deal with those issues, such as climate justice and social equity.
Big changes for the company came in August of 2020 when Ben & Jerry’s became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever. Through a unique acquisition agreement, an independent Board of Directors was created to provide leadership focused on preserving and expanding Ben & Jerry’s social mission, brand integrity, and product quality in the wake of the leadership transition. They still maintain their flagship factory in Waterbury, VT, which is a must-see destination for a factory tour next time you find yourself traveling that gorgeous stretch of Vermont’s Route 100.
Ben & Jerry’s supports the global Fair Trade movement and is committed to sourcing their vanilla, cocoa, and coffee beans from Fair Trade Certified suppliers. Ben & Jerry’s is also proud to stand with the growing consumer movement for transparency and the right to know what’s in our food supply by supporting mandatory GMO labeling legislation. In 2013, they committed to transitioning all of their ingredients to be fully sourced non-GMO. The folks at Ben & Jerry’s want to support sustainable dairy practices that benefit farmers, farmworkers, cows, and the environment and in October of 2017, they became the first company to adopt and implement the Milk With Dignity Program through their Caring Dairy Program. They’re proud of the positive impact this program has had on the true heroes of Vermont’s dairy industry, the Farmworkers. Through this program, the Farmworkers have seen higher wages, improved work schedules, better time off, and improved housing. We’ll raise a scoop to that!
Searching for healthful options for treating disease and pain that focus on restoring health rather than merely treating symptoms? We invite you to check out our featured Co-op Connection Business for September, Natural Medicine of Vermont! Card-carrying Co-op member-owners can enjoy 10% off their 1st visit and $5 off subsequent visits!
Natural Medicine of Vermont (NMV) is an integrative naturopathic medical facility whose goal is to provide comprehensive and expert health care services. Natural Medicine of Vermont, located in Middlebury, Vermont, is owned and operated by Dr. Karen Miller-Lane, a licensed naturopathic physician and acupuncturist. Dr. Miller-Lane’s office is located on Court St. (Rte. 7 in Middlebury) across the street from Mary Hogan Elementary School in a white building with blue shutters in the Somaworks Wellness Building.
According to their website, Dr. Miller-Lane shares that “many of us are exploring healthful options to treating disease and pain that restore health rather than merely treat symptoms and involve few side effects. Naturopathic medicine and Acupuncture stand at the forefront of providing informed, thorough, and gentle ways of achieving this approach to health. As a Naturopathic Physician licensed in Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture and trained in Craniosacral Therapy, I am able to unite many different complementary practices into one visit. This integrative approach provides the best possible treatment and outcomes natural medicine has to offer. I look forward to working with you.
Dr. Miller-Lane’s personal mission statement: “As a physician may I always listen with compassion, see with an open heart, and work in the service of others. May I always be in awe of the vast potential of the human body, spirit, and mind. May I continually strive to learn new things, understand old things better, teach what I know And have the wisdom to appreciate my limitations. May I serve with grace, assist in partnership, and participate with integrity. May I always be present with others as I listen to their stories, unravel their pain and confusion, and support their truths and wisdom. May I always strive to cultivate the healer within myself and within others.”
Dr. Karen Miller-Lane is a Naturopathic Physician and Licensed Acupuncturist. She has a practice in Middlebury, VT. Her expertise lies in providing an integrative, compassionate and individualized approach to women’s health, endocrine, gut and immune support, and to the challenges of chronic disease. She received a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine (2001) and a Masters of Acupuncture (2002) from Bastyr University. She received certification in Craniosacral therapies in 2000. In addition, she spent four years (2008-2010, 2012-2014) studying advanced Chinese medicine and pulse diagnosis with the acupuncturist and scholar Lonnie Jarrett. She also trained with Eileen McKusick, and was certified as a Biofield Tuning practitioner in 2016. These multi-cultural, multi-modal teachings provide a rich foundation for her practice of medicine. Prior to becoming a Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Karen worked in the field of international development and education with a focus on women’s healthcare issues. Currently, she is particularly interested in the developing field of epigenetics and nutrigenomics, as she continues to embody a commitment to being an innovator in the ever emergent field of healthcare in the 21st century. She finds joy in her family, friends, the patients she works with, and finding the humor and wonder in everyday situations.
Thanks to her diverse clinical background, Dr. Karen MIller-Lane is able to unite many different complementary practices into one visit. This integrative approach provides the best possible treatment and outcomes natural medicine has to offer. Her specialties include:
Immune and Cancer Support
The dance between body, mind, and spirit
What Is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct profession of physicians trained in primary health care who are oriented towards prevention, education, and promotion of optimal health rather than just treatment of disease. Naturopathic doctors (ND’s) integrate centuries-old knowledge of traditional, non-toxic therapies with the best of modern medical diagnostic science and standards of care. ND’s complete pre-med education followed by a 4-5 year residential curriculum with 4,500 – 5,000 hours of instruction and extensive, supervised clinical training. ND’s must also pass rigorous state and national board examinations.
Foundation and Guidance for Naturopathic physicians are based on the following principles:
First, Do No Harm
The Healing Power of Nature
Treatment of the Whole Person
Treat the Cause
Doctor as Teacher
Dr. Karen Miller Lane utilizes naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, and oriental medicine to design individual preventative treatment plans that will assist in achieving your optimum wellness and provide effective complementary health care to meet your specific needs.
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 25th – 31st, 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, its mission, and its 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.
Just one pack of Bee’s Wrap can save 1,667 sq. feet of plastic wrap from entering our oceans and landfills each year. That’s enough plastic to cover a single-family home. If every American household swapped plastic wrap with Bee’s Wrap we’d save a staggering 212 million square feet (4.8 million acres) of plastic from the planet each year!
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 PlanetAward, 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, and The Rozalia Project, pledging their support to ocean conservancy, beach cleanups, and environmental stewardship. They’re also committed to donating at least 1% of sales of their Honeycomb Roll of Bee’s Wrap to organizations supporting these efforts.
The year 2021 brought big changes for Bee’s Wrap as the business was sold to an undisclosed private investor. Since founding the business in 2012, Kaeck stewarded the growth of her company through the addition of dozens of employees, an expansion into a 12,000-square-foot facility in Middlebury, and she oversaw the company’s B Corp Certification. Bee’s Wrap was growing, both nationally and internationally, and Kaeck was seeking an investor who could leverage the company’s successful track record into this new phase of growth. Kaeck stayed on as the CEO for the first few months of the transition, then handed over the reins to Tara Murphy in June of 2021. Murphy brings extensive experience to the role, having served for four years as CEO of the Hinesburg-based Vermont Smoke & Cure and three previous years at Keurig Green Mountain.
In a press release, Kaeck says, “I could not be happier about the prospects for Bee’s Wrap’s future. I founded and led Bee’s Wrap for eight years with the goal to create a viable mainstream alternative to plastic, and we’re at that point now. Tara’s deep consumer product experience, outstanding leadership skills, and commitment to Vermont make her an excellent choice to continue to grow Bee’s Wrap in the years to come.”
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.
Looking to reinvigorate your wellness routine? We invite you to check out Nordic Naturals, who is enjoying the glow of the Member Deals Spotlight this week! From August 18th – 24th, Co-op member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on all Nordic Naturals products! Read on to learn more about this company’s origin and commitment to sustainability:
The Nordic Naturals story begins back in 1995 when Norwegian-born founder and CEO Joar Opheim moved to California to complete his MBA. Opheim noticed that the pure omega-rich cod liver oil that Norwegians rely on to stay healthy was nowhere to be found here in the U.S. Low-concentration fish oil with an awful taste was all the market had to offer, but Opheim knew he could make a difference. With each trip home, he would fill an extra suitcase with bottles of his favorite fish oil to share with friends in the U.S. This deep desire to share the power of pure, fresh omega-3 nutrients inspired Opheim to found Nordic Naturals and still drives the company today.
Nordic Natural’s mission states simply that “great things happen when values meet action.” They’re committed to delivering the world’s safest, most effective nutrients essential to health. It’s what motivates them to ensure that all of their products are research supported, expertly formulated, rigorously tested, proven effective, and best of all, great-tasting.
The team at Nordic Naturals believes that the future is about positive partnerships and sustainable best practices. They aspire to do right by the people and places that are part of their success, so giving back is a high priority. They do so by supporting local and global organizations that are making a positive impact now and for generations to come. Click here to view a list of the organizations they support.
All their fish oils are Friend of the Sea (FOS) Certified to guarantee that the fish used in their products comes from healthy fisheries. They’re sourced in line with strict standards for fishing methods, by-catch reduction, and social accountability.
Their LEED Gold-certified headquarters in California helps minimize the company’s impact on the earth and provides a comfortable, healthy workplace for their employees. Across the world, their plant in Arctic Norway is powered entirely by unused fats from the fish oil production process, a savings of resources in service to the planet.
To learn more about the importance of high-quality marine-sourced omega-3’s click here.
We’re shining our Co-op Spotlight on Stonyfield this week to highlight their commitment to organic dairy, the family farmers that make it possible, and the Earth that sustains us. Member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of organic dairy products from August 11th – 17th! Read on to learn more about Stonyfield’s history and mission and their commitment to Vermont organic dairy farmers:
While Stonyfield is best known for making yogurt, yogurt wasn’t the way the founders of Stonyfield thought they’d change the world. In 1983, Stonyfield co-founders Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg were simply trying to help family farms survive, protect the environment, and keep food and food production healthy through their nonprofit organic farming school.
Just to keep things running, the duo started putting their farm’s seven cows to work making yogurt. They knew they were making a healthy food grown with care; what they didn’t expect was how much people would love it.
People went crazy for the yogurt from Samuel and Gary’s little farm school, and the two knew they had found a way to make a real difference. With this yogurt business, the two organic farming teachers could show the whole world that a company could make healthy, delicious food without relying on toxic chemicals that harm the environment and public health.
So, the two went all-in on yogurt and, over 30 years later, the folks at Stonyfield continue to honor the example their founders set. They’re still located in New Hampshire, just 30 miles east of the old farm. And now, their organic ingredient purchases support a huge network of food producers made up of hundreds of organic family farms, thousands of organic cows, and over 200,000 organic acres!
They‘ve also pioneered planet-friendly business practices—from offsetting emissions at their production facility to making yogurt cups from plants instead of petroleum to making their own renewable energy, and much more.
The thought and passion that started Stonyfield Organic in the first place have only grown stronger, and they’ve never stopped working for healthy food, healthy people, and a healthy planet.
Commitment to Organic:
Stonyfield’s products are all 100% certified organic – made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs. Eating organic isn’t just good for you and your family, it’s straight up good for other people and the planet. One of the main goals of organic farming practices is to avoid contamination of our precious soil, rivers, drinking water, and air with toxic persistent chemicals. This also means that organic farmers, farmworkers, and their neighbors aren’t exposed to potentially carcinogenic herbicides. Organic agriculture not only means less dependence on fossil fuels, but it can also actually help reduce climate change. It’s estimated that converting all of America’s cropland to organic would have the same carbon-reducing effect as taking 217 million cars off the road!
There is also compelling evidence to support the notion that organic dairy is more nutritious than its conventional counterpart. Why? Because it comes from cows that are actively grazing on grass, as nature intended. Organically raised cows spend their days outside on pasture so the milk they produce is significantly higher in Omega-3 fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), heart-healthy fats that can help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. There is a lot to be learned and said about organic farming, and Stonyfield hopes you will join them in the journey towards healthier, more resilient food systems.
Saving our Region’s Organic Dairy Farms:
Last summer, Danone, the parent company of Horizon Organic, announced it would stop buying milk from 28 farms in Vermont and a total of 61 in Maine, New Hampshire, and New York. The deadline was originally set for August of 2022, but it was later extended to February 2023. Shortly thereafter, 46 organic family farms in eastern New York received similar notices from their processor Maple Hill Creamery. The 135 termination notices placed a large percentage of the region’s organic dairy farms in financial jeopardy and created an urgent wake-up call for our region. Unless we take swift action, our hard-working family farms – and the promise of a climate-positive, secure food system supported by their organic methods – will face dire consequences.
Stonyfield quickly sprang into action, launching an internal task force of senior company leaders to work alongside various state departments of agriculture, nonprofit organizations, retailers, and institutional food customers to find ways to keep more of these farms alive and in business. Stonyfield ultimately agreed to take on five of those contracts and was active in forming in the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership (NOFFP) to help increase commitments from both consumers and retailers to purchase locally-produced organic milk in an effort to maintain a viable market for these farmers. Organic Valley also stepped up in a big way, offering membership to 90 of the farms affected by the contract losses. Stonyfield accepts milk through Organic Valley and directly from farmers as part of its Direct Supply Program. The farmers dropped by Danone will be part of Stonyfield’s Direct Supply Program, and new farmers’ contracts will look the same as the company’s contracts with current farmers.
We are grateful to Stonyfield and others who have stepped up in such a big way to support our region’s organic dairy farms! We’re also grateful to consumers who are committed to supporting our region’s organic dairy farms. Our friends at NOFA-VT said it best: “by purchasing certified organic milk and dairy products, you’re supporting farmers who feed Vermonters, steward our land, and provide a massive cultural and economic value to Vermont’s rural communities.”