Organic

Spotlight on Tierra Farm

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Tierra Farm this week to highlight the socially and environmentally responsible practices of this employee-owned business. They provide an array of healthy products to our bulk department that are certified organic, gluten-free, kosher, and GMO-free, all of which are produced in small batches in their solar-powered facility in nearby Valatie, NY. They’re featured in our Member Deals program this week, so member-owners can enjoy 20% off their delicious fair-trade coffee, dried fruits, nuts, nut butters, and other healthy snacks from May 2nd – 8th! Read on to learn more about this fantastic small business and their commitment to responsible practices throughout the supply chain:

Tierra Farm is a Certified Organic manufacturer and distributor of nuts, dried fruits, and coffee located 20 miles south of Albany, New York. Their customers consist mainly of cooperatives and independently owned grocery stores that value working with an employee-owned, environmentally conscious company that manufactures its own products.

Tierra Farm started as a diversified organic vegetable farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The organic nuts & dried fruit portion of the business started in 1999, as a way to generate income in the slower winter months. That portion of the business has continued to thrive and evolve into a year-round operation, though they still maintain their original farm.

Tierra Farm offers their customers exceptional value through unbeatable quality at prices that are fair both to the consumer and to the farmer. Their products are made without preservatives, added oils or refined sugars, in their own peanut-free facility. They manufacture the products they sell: dry roasting and flavoring nuts and seeds, blending trail mixes, grinding butter, covering nuts and fruits in fair-trade chocolate, and roasting fair trade coffee. Everything is made in small, hand-crafted batches for freshness.

One of their core values has been to cultivate strong relationships with the best organic farmers in the world. They work directly with the farmers from which they source their nuts, seeds, and dried fruit and have worked with some of these farmers for over a decade. Being in direct communication with their farmers allows the preservation of their organic integrity and ensures fair business practices throughout the supply chain.

Tierra Farm handles only Certified Organic products which are grown without synthetic pesticides, genetically modified organisms, or chemical fertilizers. This helps sustain biodiversity, conserves fresh water, and enhances the soil. They generate over 70% of their electricity from solar panels and recycle over 60% of their waste. Their boxes are made from recycled cardboard and their deli cup containers are made from over 50% recycled material – both are recyclable after use. They’re continuously looking for better ways to protect the planet.

Tierra Farm also values the importance of investing in their staff. They have an in-house gym, an in-house chef who cooks daily organic, gluten-free meals for staff – often using fresh produce directly from their farm, a staff masseuse who visits weekly, and they offer many employee health initiatives such as a smoking cessation program that allows their staff to be 100% tobacco-free.

If you’re passing through the Albany area, they invite you to check out their retail store at Tierra Farm’s headquarters in Valatie, NY, where local customers are able to purchase all of their (almost 200) products!

Spotlight on Shaker Maple Farm

To celebrate sap season in Vermont, we’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on Shaker Maple Farm! Member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of maple syrup products from April 4th – 10th, so it’s a perfect time to stock up on local liquid gold!

Shaker Maple Farm is owned and operated by Steve and Leah Willsey of Starksboro, VT. They have been sugaring for over 30 years and currently boil from 26,500 taps. Many of these taps come from maple trees on their beautiful 300-acre farm in Starksboro and some taps reside on two neighboring properties from whom they buy sap. Last year they were excited to sign a new land lease, adding an additional 250 acres to their sugarbush!

The 2018 season yielded 11,000 gallons of syrup at Shaker Maple farm. The Willsey’s sell about half of their syrup wholesale and the other half is sold in bulk. You can find their syrup at a variety of local grocery stores, co-ops and restaurants. You’ll also notice that their syrup is certified organic, which may lead you to wonder, “isn’t all maple syrup organic?”. The answer might surprise you! Organic certification ensures that:

  • No pesticides or chemicals were used to manage the forest. Like any crop, a forest can be sprayed to control insects. The same organic standards for field crops apply to maple forest to regulate things like buffer zones and runoff and ensure that no fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals were used.
  • A healthy forest is maintained. Organic standards limit the number of taps allowed in each tree to sustain the health of the tree. Organic certification ensures sustainable management of forestland to promote tree health, biodiversity, and reduce erosion.
  • No lead, filtering agents, or chemical defoamers. Certified organic maple farms must adhere to strict regulation when it comes to things like lead in equipment and the use of filtering agents and chemical defoamers.

 

Spotlight on Kimball Brook Farm

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Kimball Brook Farm! Their full line of products is 20% off for member-owners from March 28th – April 3rd. Read on to learn more about one of Vermont’s finest family-owned organic dairy farms:

History

Kimball Brook Farm was first settled by Daniel Kimball in the late 1700s. Daniel and his sons continued running the farm until it was purchased by Edward Danyow in 1960.

The DeVos family purchased the farm in 1967 and on June 1, 1968, John De Vos Sr. and his son John De Vos Jr. moved their complete herd (50 cows), machinery and households from Monroe, New York to the Kimball Brook farm in North Ferrisburgh, Vermont.

John De Vos Jr. and his wife Sue operated the farm for over 30 years raising three sons and one daughter on the farm. The eldest son, John De Vos III (JD) and his wife Cheryl took over the business in 2001, expanding the herd from 80 cows to 200 and added a milking parlor.

In 2003, JD and Cheryl began transitioning the 220 cow farm to an organic operation and  Kimball Brook Farm became one of the largest certified organic dairy operations in the State of Vermont. The first shipment of organic milk was in September 2005. In 2010, they began the process of pursuing another dream of opening their own creamery in the former Saputo Cheese plant in Hinesburg. This would allow them to assemble, bottle, and package all of their own products. In June of 2011, they were awarded the VT Dairy Farm of the Year award and by May of 2012, they were celebrating the official opening of Green Mountain Organic Creamery.

At the Co-op, you can find a broad selection of Kimball Brook Farm’s organic products including Whole Milk, Cream, Chocolate Milk, Maple Milk, Mocha & Coffee Flavored Iced Cappuccino, Butter and Iced Teas. Also be sure to check out their newest additions to the lineup: Maple Lemonade, Strawberry Ginger Lemonade, and a line of teas and lemonades with CBD!

 

The Herd

The herd at Kimball Brook Farm consists of Holsteins, Jerseys and Jersey/Holstein crosses. During the growing season, their cows and heifers(teenagers) can be found happily grazing on the lush grasses their pastures provide. The cows that are being actively milked also get some mixed legumes and grains at the barn to provide them with the extra energy they need to produce rich, organic milk.

The Devos family believes that by maintaining the health of the land and the health of the cows, they can provide fantastic organic milk free of Growth Hormones, GMO’s, Pesticides, Herbicides and Antibiotics for consumers to enjoy.

Check out this fun video showing how Kimball Brook Farm milk gets from the cow to your kitchen table:

 

 

A polyculture of corn & sunflowers grown as food for the herd at KBF

Spotlight on Lundberg Family Farms

This week, the Co-op Spotlight shines brightly on Lundberg Family Farms!  Member-Owners can enjoy 20% off their entire line of rice, rice chips, rice cakes, and risottos from March 7th – 13th! Read on to learn more about this family-owned company and their commitment to socially and environmentally responsible practices for more than 80 years:

Since the company was first founded by Nebraska natives Albert & Frances Lundberg in 1937, Lundberg Family Farms has remained a family-owned and operated company committed to producing the finest quality rice and rice products for your family, while respecting and sustaining the earth. Today, over 80 years later, the third and fourth generations carry on the family heritage by using eco-positive farming methods that produce wholesome, healthful rice and rice products while improving and protecting the environment for generations to come.

Founder Albert Lundberg, a survivor of the dust bowl, understood the importance of caring for the soil. He recognized that the dust bowl resulted from poor soil management and short-sighted farming techniques. With this in mind, the Lundberg’s made a choice to avoid growing typical conventional rice.  Their Certified Organic and Eco-Farmed rice is grown with a concern for the environment. They treat the soil, air, and water as important resources, respecting the delicate balances of nature. They are a proud participant of the Non-GMO Project, and positioned their company as an early leader in organic farming, energy conservation, use of renewable energy, providing safe and fair working conditions, and many other environmentally responsible and socially responsible practices.

As a member of the Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA), Lundberg Family Farms signed a pledge committing to reporting the company’s annual performance in 11 action categories: organic & land use, distribution & sourcing, energy, climate change & emissions, water use & quality, solid waste reduction, packaging & marketing materials, labor, animal care, sustainability education, and governance & community engagement. Each year, Lundberg Family Farms audits their performance in these areas and publishes the findings in their annual SFTA Sustainability Report. Click HERE to view the report.

Spotlight on Muir Glen

We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on Muir Glen this week! From February 21st – 27th, all Muir Glen products are 20% off for Member-owners, so it’s a great time to stock up the pantry with these staples! Read on to learn more about why they shine:

 

Muir Glen was founded on the belief that there must be a way to grow a better tasting tomato—it must be grown organically. That’s why they grow their signature organic tomatoes in the rich organic soil of California’s Sacramento Valley. It takes a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it.

Their Principles –

Regenerative Farming

Muir Glen is building on their commitment to source 100% of their ingredients from certified organic farms by expanding their priorities to include regenerative practices like cover cropping and diverse crop rotations.

Protecting Pollinators

The unsung heroes of agriculture, the tiny but mighty bees work hard for our food.  Because the folks at Muir Glen want them to keep on buzzing for generations to come, they’ve partnered with the Xerces Society to plant pollinator habitats on the California farms that grow their tomatoes.

Farmers as Partners

As they learn more about the farmers and communities that make Muir Glen products possible, they’re working to find ways to support them all on a deeper level. Muir Glen seeks to understand their challenges and opportunities by cultivating real relationships with these champions who are committed to regenerating natural resources to ensure long-term prosperity.

 

Click HERE for great recipes from their web page!

 

 

 

Spotlight on Late July

Are chips and dip part of your game day spread? Then you’ll be thrilled to hear that our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Late July this week! All of their products are 20% off for member-owners from January 31st – February 6th. Read on to learn more about them:

 

 

Late July is named for that sweet spot of summer when life feels simple, pure & good and it’s also their philosophy on snack-making. They believe that the best parties need a few simple things — great friends, good stories and delicious food! At Late July, these three things always come together around a big bowl of delicious tortilla chips. That is why they take so much care in using the highest quality ingredients without sacrificing on taste. They care deeply about using organic and non-GMO ingredients and making chips for everyone at the party. 

Their snacks stand out in a crowded snack aisle, not just because of their delicious taste, but also because of their commitment to sourcing the highest quality organic and non-GMO ingredients that are free of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. You’ll find a variety of gluten-free, vegan, Kosher and nut-free offerings to please every palate.

They hope that you enjoy eating their snacks as much as they enjoy making them!

 

Guacamole

This delicious and simple guacamole recipe comes to us from the avocado experts at Equal Exchange Co-op, who are working hard to radically transform the avocado market to benefit small, organic farmers. Equal Exchange partners with PRAGOR, a progressive cooperative of small-scale avocado farmers in Michoacán Mexico. This region of Mexico is called “the avocado capital of the world.” However, powerful corporate interests have made it difficult for small-scale farmers to compete. In response, PRAGOR courageously organized and decided they would collectively control the entire process from growing to exporting. We’ll be featuring these Organic, Fair Trade avocados in our weekly sale from January 31st – February 6th, so it’s a perfect time to make a big batch of guacamole to feed your game day crowd!

Homemade Pizza

Making pizza at home might seem intimidating – especially compared to the relative ease of popping a pre-made frozen pie into the oven, but we think you’ll agree that nothing tastes better than homemade and the process is actually quite simple. PaneBelle’s organic pizza dough is featured in our weekly sale from January 24th – 30th, along with local Maplebrook fresh mozzarella, local Bove’s pizza sauce, and a handful of perfect pizza toppings, so it’s an excellent time to try your hand at homemade pizza! Feel free to get creative with the toppings. This recipe makes 2 thin-crust 12” pizzas. If you prefer a thicker crust, follow the same instructions but create one larger pizza. 

Co-op Connection Featured Business – Juice Amour

We’re excited to shine a little light on a local favorite – Juice Amour! They’re our featured Co-op Connection Business this month and they have a sweet deal for Co-op member-owners. Show your member card when you visit Juice Amour’s Middlebury location and you’ll receive 10% off their full line of organic, raw, fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, chia pudding bowls, sprouted nut milks, and other healthy, seasonal lunch and dinner offerings! Read on to learn more about one of Middlebury’s best stops for fresh, healthy foods on the go!

 

Juice Amour is owned and operated by Sheri Bedard and her father David Bedard. It was the love and strong belief in the many health benefits of drinking fresh juice that started Juice Amour on it’s path to your backyard.

They wake up early to produce local, raw, organic juice and products on site every day. According to Sheri, “Everyday we wake up passionate in our belief that healthful food should be accessible, taste delicious, look beautiful, help you feel amazing and have as little negative impact on the environment as possible. Every decision we make here is with those philosophies in mind but (lucky for you) all YOU have to do is enjoy the deliciousness that comes from those efforts.”

 

Keeping it Local

Getting as much produce from our local organic farmers is a core principle of the companies mission to make a minimal impact on the earth while supporting local farmers. They view their support of local organic farmers as an essential step toward minimizing the global impact of their business as well as providing support and income for their neighbors. As often as possible all juice ingredients will be sourced locally.

Glass and the “Milk Bottle” Concept

To maximize health benefits for you and minimize the impact on our planet they avoid the use of plastic and recycle and reuse the glass jars their juice is delivered in. They ask customers to return their jars and lids to the location they picked up their juices where they are commercially washed and reused again and again. This reduces the cost to their clients while minimizing any negative impact of drinking out of plastic as well as maximizing benefits to community and planet.

Commitment to Organic

Juice Amour is also committed to supporting organic. Organic farming employs methods that minimize the use of toxins while building soil quality and protecting water quality. Additionally, buying organic supports chemical and pesticide-free practices that are healthier for our farmers and for our planet. Lastly, they also feel that organic foods have more intense and delicious flavors – no wonder their juice is so delicious!

Abundant Offerings

In addition to a bounty of fresh organic, raw fruit and veggies juice options, Juice Amour also offers raw, sprouted nut milks; guilt-free raw smoothies; gluten and dairy-free soups; chia pudding; acai, dragon fruit & cashew cream bowls & jars; and other seasonal, organic and raw lunch and dinner options. Click HERE to browse their menu.

Their juice cleanses are extremely popular and are a great way to introduce people to juicing while enjoying incredible benefits, ranging from weight loss to improved health. Read all about it here. They also know that the true benefit to juicing is accomplished when it is done regularly so they are constantly adding new juices and products to keep things new and fresh.

Sheri and the Juice Amour crew are proud to be based in Middlebury, Vermont, with an additional location in Rutland and — coming in 2019 — a Burlington location! 

 

Spotlight on Bionaturae

Is there a delicious Italian dinner on your menu for the week? Be sure to check out Bionaturae! We’re casting our Member Deals Spotlight on Bionaturae from December 13th – 19th. to shed a little light on this Italian-American partnership that has been bringing us a fine lineup of authentic organic Italian foods for over 20 years! All of their products are 20% off for member-owners this week, so it’s a great time to stock up on these staples. Read on to learn more about this company and their philosophy!

bionaturae

While majoring in Italian in college, Carla Bartolucci spent a year in Italy and met her husband, Rodolfo, who had a background in agriculture. In 1995, the two teamed up and enthusiastically created an organic selection of authentic Italian foods for the American & Canadian markets. Now, more than 20 years later,  Bionaturae has remained a family-oriented, privately owned company, with a heartfelt devotion to quality and tradition.

Carla & Rodolfo

Bionaturæ (bee-oh-na-too-ray) roughly translates to mean “organic nature.” For the founders of the company, it means this and far more. It means the celebration of Old World tradition, of authentic Italian food and of family.

What makes their products taste so great? 

Their Pasta is made with wheat grown in Italy on small family-owned farms that have been using traditional agricultural methods for centuries. All ingredients are certified organic and are grown and processed without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Rather than the Teflon dies that most commercial pasta makers have turned to, Bionature uses the original bronze dies common to traditional authentic pasta making, resulting in a coarser pasta that holds sauce exceptionally well. Equally important is the slow drying methods they incorporate. Where most modern pastas are heat dried to speed the process, Bionaturae insists on using the more traditional method, which can take as long as 14 hours to dry the pasta and avoids cooking the wheat during the drying process.

Their Olive Oil is a unique blend of five renowned varieties of Italian olives, grown on small family farms in Northern Italy where olives ripen slower. Within twenty-four hours of hand-harvesting, the olives are pressed at a century-old frantoio, where expertise and passion have transcended three generations. They press the olives the same day to avoid oxidation. Their oil is cold pressed at temperatures no higher than 27 degrees Celsius.

Their Balsamic Vinegar is made by one of Modena’s oldest family of producers, who for generations has preserved the antique traditions that make balsamic vinegar so unique. In keeping with tradition, their vinegar is made from Trebbiano and Lambrusco grape must, and has a distinct sourly, sweet flavor.

Their Fruit Nectars are produced using hand-harvested heirloom variety fruits from small family farms in select regions of Italy. The flavor of heirloom fruit is sweet, intense and true. The nectars combine fruit juice with fruit purée for a thicker, distinctly different flavor without added sugar. The resulting beverage tastes exactly like the fruit from which it is derived and is not too sweet or pulpy.

Their Tomatoes are vine-ripened, hand-harvested and have an unparalleled flavor that is both sweet and tender. Italian tomatoes just taste better. The sun, soil and tomato varieties provide the finest tomatoes in the world. One taste will convince you. There is no calcium chloride added to their tomatoes and the linings of their cans are produced without BPA.

 

According to Carla, “In Italy, we try to eat the foods that are the most seasonal, in their most natural form, with as little done to them as possible, and to eat a wide variety so that we are getting everything we need. The wisest thing, I feel, is to eat simply prepared, organic foods. It’s important to know where your food comes from.”

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