Organic

Spotlight on Field Day

We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on Field Day this week! Member-owners can enjoy 20% off all Field Day products from January 23rd – 29th. You may recognize these products as part of our Co-op Basics lineup, so you’ll be thrilled to hear that the discounts run even deeper this week! Read on to learn more about this company with a goal to fill consumers’ homes with a wide selection of value-priced items that they can use and feel good about every day.

Field Day believes in understanding where our food comes from. At every step of the way, they ensure that their products meet the highest quality standards. All of their ingredients and products undergo third-party certifications such as USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project, Whole Grains Council, Gluten Free and Fair Trade. You will never find preservatives, artificial colors or artificial flavors in any of their products. What you will find is delicious, good-for-you and genuinely simple products.

Values

  • Real food: Promoting organic and natural products with a commitment to Non-GMO.
  • Real flavor: Producing genuinely simple products that are not only good-for-you but taste good.
  • Real people: Field Day works as a team, from their valued employees to their inspiring retailers to their treasured consumers, every step of the way.
  • Real fun: Creating memories one family meal at a time.

 

Mission

Their goal is to fill your home with a wide selection of value-priced items that you can use and feel good about every day. Their harvest of Non-GMO, organic, and quality products are delicious and genuinely simple. They take a less-is-more approach with ingredients and packaging. No confusion, just what you need. That’s Field Day.

 

Promise

  • To sell only the highest quality of products. Field Day ensures that offerings adhere to the most rigorous of standards through third-party certifications.
  • To provide great taste. What they leave out in artificial flavors, colors, and unnecessary preservatives, they make up for in pure deliciousness.
  • To remain value priced. With the cost of living and organic food on the rise, Field Day believes that healthy eating should be an achievable lifestyle for every family.
  • To have you and your family’s best interest in mind. From the growth of an idea to the moment it hits your dinner table, Field Day acknowledges what their products mean to your family.

 

 

Organic

What does it mean? This means knowing exactly where our food comes from, how it was made, and that it meets the highest quality standards along the way. Bearing the USDA Organic seal ensures that products are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing soil qualities, animal raising practices, the use of additives and more. 

How does it affect your family? Organic foods are cleaner for your family and the environment because they do not allow toxic persistent pesticides, GMOs and antibiotics and growth hormones. They prohibit the use of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. 

What are is Field Day doing about it? Whenever possible they source organic ingredients to produce USDA Certified products that you can use and feel good about every day.

 
 

Non-GMO

What does it mean? The Non-GMO Project defines GMOs as genetically modified organisms that have been “artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, creating unstable combinations of genes that do not occur in nature.” 

How does it affect your family? Many of the foods that are popular among families and children contain GMOs. In North America, over 80% of our food contains GMOs, meaning that these unwelcome additions are likely present at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their use and consumption could lead to harmful effects on both the environment and human health. 

What is Field Day doing about it? All of Field Day’s products are currently verified by or enrolled in the Non-GMO Project, a third-party organization that tests and certifies a product does not contain GMOs. The seal indicates that any at-risk ingredients are continually monitored and tested through a rigorous verification process. Field Day works to source organic products, support sustainable farming practices, and give you the right to make an informed choice. Therefore, by choosing Field Day, you are committing to live Non-GMO.

 

 

Made in the USA

What does it mean? The majority of Field Day’s products are produced in the USA with some containing domestic and imported ingredients.

How does it affect your family? By taking pride in our country and the work that our farmers put in every day, sourcing Made in the USA and local growers we work in supporting your communities and bringing the fruits of their labor directly to you!

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 16th – 22nd, 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. 

Spotlight on Champlain Valley Creamery

We’re casting our Member Deals Spotlight on a local organic creamery that produces delicious award-winning cheeses just a few short miles from the Co-op. Champlain Valley Creamery uses traditional techniques and small-batch pasteurization to produce their cheese entirely by hand in a net-zero solar-powered facility in Middlebury. Their fantastic lineup of cheeses are all 20% off for Member-owners from December 12th – 18th — just in time for your holiday parties! Read on to learn more about this fabulous local creamery and the people who make it shine:

 

 

Champlain Valley Creamery was first established in 2003 by founder and owner Carleton Yoder. With a graduate degree in food science and a background in wine and hard cider making, Yoder was eager to run his own food business. With Vermont’s abundance of amazing local milk, small-scale cheesemaking just made sense. Yoder began his adventures in cheesemaking in a facility in Vergennes where he focused on two products: Organic Champlain Triple and Old Fashioned Organic Cream Cheese. Both have been awarded well-deserved honors from the prestigious American Cheese Society.

Carleton Yoder

Over the years, the creamery has continued to grow and expand its offerings, eventually moving into a net-zero solar-powered facility on Middlebury’s Exchange Street in 2012. Yoder and his small crew now produce an expanded lineup of cheeses including Queso Fresco (available in original, house-smoked, and pepper varieties),  Maple Cream Cheese, a pyramid-shaped triple cream with a layer of ash known as Pyramid Scheme, and, most recently, they began importing Italian truffles to produce the Champlain Truffle Triple.

 

The Creamery also made a recent switch to using 100% grass-fed organic milk from the Severy Farm in Cornwall. The milk only travels a few short miles from the farm to the creamery, where the cheesemaking begins within hours of arrival. The use of grass-fed milk results in a richer, creamier cheese that displays subtle seasonal changes reflective of the changing diet of the cows as the seasons progress. It’s truly the terroir of Addison County in each decadent bite of cheese.

salting a fresh batch of Queso Fresco

Yoder is supported by a small crew that is just as dedicated to the craft as he is. They use traditional techniques and small-batch pasteurization to produce their cheeses entirely by hand.  A recent visit to their facility found the crew in constant motion, measuring, stirring, monitoring temperatures, and generally putting every bit of the day’s fresh batch of milk to good use. The bulk of the cream and whole milk are used to produce the Organic Champlain Triple, Champlain Truffle Triple, and the two varieties of cream cheese. The part-skim milk is then transformed into each of the three varieties of Queso Fresco, and the whey is drained off to create hand-dipped, basket-strained ricotta that is only available to a few select restaurants in the area. The only remaining by-product is a small amount of whey, which is sent to feed the happy pigs at Hinesburg’s Full Moon Farm, resulting in an operation that his hyper-local with very minimal waste. 

Amanda Warren & Carleton Yoder, with Carleton’s daughter,  Lila Cook Yoder, who was helping out on a snow day

According to Yoder, “cheesemaking is hard work but we strive to let the milk, cream, culture, salt, and mold shine through with their amazing flavors.” It’s this minimalist approach and the desire to honor the high-quality local ingredients that make Champlain Valley Creamery’s cheeses shine.

Picture hanging above Yoder’s desk made by his son, Nate

 

Holiday Pre-Order Guide

Happy Holidays!  The season of celebratory feasting is upon us and we’ve got everything you need for a delicious, stress-free holiday spread. You may pre-order your desired items using our online form by clicking HERE, or you may place your order by phone, or in-person at our Customer Service Counter. We will continue to take orders through Friday, December 20th. If you miss our pre-order deadline, it’s still likely that we’ll be able to accommodate your needs, but pre-order is your best guarantee. Here are the items we’ll be offering:

 

Main Attractions:

We are offering Fresh Turkey from Stonewood Farm, two types of Beef Rib Roasts from Boyden Farm and a Tenderloin Roast from Silver Fern Farms. Here’s a little more info about each of those options:

Stonewood Farms logo

Stonewood Farm offers all-natural, free-range indoor turkeys from their family-owned and operated farm Orwell, VT. Stonewood turkeys will range in size from around 12 lbs to over 30 lbs. When you place your order, you’ll have the opportunity to specify what size turkey you’d like. We’ll aim to get you a turkey within 3-5 lbs of your requested size. The price is $3.19 per pound. All turkeys will be fresh (not previously frozen).

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

 

Boyden Farm strives to provide you with the best quality Vermont born and raised beef. They hand-select, grass-fed and non-GMO grain-finished beef cattle from Vermont family farms for the most flavor and tenderness. We’ll have pre-order options for bone-in rib roasts and boneless rib roasts from Boyden Farm. They are third-party certified by the Non-GMO Project. Bone-in roasts will be $14.99 per pound and the boneless roasts will be $16.99 per pound.

 

 

 

 

Looking for a 100% grass-fed beef tenderloin roast? Thanks to Silver Fern Farms, we’ve got you covered! Founded in 1948, Silver Fern Farms is New Zealand’s leading procurer, processor, marketer, and exporter of grass-fed and pasture-raised lamb, beef and venison. Their climate allows the animals to be on lush green pasture year-round where they’re free to roam and graze.

 

 

 

Side Dishes & Desserts

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

Sides

Side dish options include Roasted Chestnut Mushroom Soup, Brussel Sprout Salad with Chestnuts, Stuffing, Red Skin Mashed Potatoes, Maple Sweet Potato Puree, Green Bean Almondine, and Cranberry Jalapeno Dip. 

Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

Desserts

Dessert options include a  Berry Basil Tart, Chocolate Babka, and Orange Saffron Custard Pie

Orange Saffron Custard Pie

Cheese Platters

The Vermont Artisan Platter will deliver a selection of artisan cheese, preserves, and crackers produced in our own backyard that is sure to please everyone from cheese novice to connoisseur.

You may also opt for the Vermont Farmer’s Platter, which includes a tried and true classic assortment of local Vermont cheese, local smoked sausage, nuts, figs, and preserves.

Vermont Artisan Platter

 

Click HERE to see the full list of offerings, ingredients, pricing, and more. 

 

 

Pick-Up

All holiday pre-order pick-up will begin on Saturday, December 21st and end on Tuesday, December 24th. When you arrive to pick up your pre-ordered items, please follow the signs to the holiday pick-up station located in our meat department. A staff member will be waiting to assist you!

 

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

 

Berry & Basil Tart

 

 

Spotlight on Badger

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Badger this week. This small, family-owned, family-run, and family-friendly company nestled in the woods of Gilsum, New Hampshire is beyond worthy of the spotlight. They help define what it means to be a socially accountable, environmentally responsible, people-first kind of business. They are featured in our Member Deals Spotlight this week, so all of their fabulous body care products are 20% off for member-owners from November 29th – December 4th! We think they make great stocking stuffers!  Read on to learn about the ideals, principles, and practices that make their company worthy of such high praise:

high-res-logo-for-print

Badger was born in 1995 when founder Bill Whyte was working as a carpenter in the cold New Hampshire winters and created an amazing balm that helped soothe and heal his cracked hands. Badger Bill ran the company (as CEO) along with his wife Katie Schwerin (as COO) and their two daughters Rebecca Hamilton and Emily Schwerin-Whyte and it grew to over 100 products and over 80 employees. In 2018 Bill passed the leadership of the company on to Rebecca and Emily making them both CEOs or Collaborative Executive Officers. Click HERE to read more about Badger’s amazing history.

Badger Bill and family

 

Quality Ingredients and Standards

Badger selects ingredients with great care, using only those that fit their rigorous natural standards for healthy agriculture, minimal processing, sustainable supply chain, and health-giving properties. Every ingredient they use is grown and processed with the highest degree of respect for protecting the environment, the workers and the natural properties of the plants. Nearly all of Badger’s products are made from 100% USDA Certified Organic food-grade ingredients and they utilize as many fair trade certified ingredients as possible. You can view their impressive growing and processing standards on their web page.

Team of Friendly Badgers

B Corp Status

Badger became a B Corporation in 2011 to help assess and improve their business practices and ensure that they’re always doing what’s right for people and the planet. In June of 2018, Badger was named ‘Best For the World’ and ‘Best for the Environment’ by the folks at B Corp, recognizing their efforts to create a positive impact for workers, environment, and community.

Badger facility & ecology center
Badger Facility & Ecology Center Gardens

Family-Focused Employee Programs

Badger was awarded the Connect 2016 Philosophy Award for its accommodating employee benefits and exemplary work environment. Creating a family-friendly workplace is a high priority at Badger. They aim to be supportive of new parents in their extended work family while considering the well-being of all employees and productivity in the workplace. They offer extended parental leave and a Babies At Work program, which brings together a policy that is best for baby, parent, and business. This policy allows the parent to bring the child to the workplace until it begins crawling, at which time it graduates to Badger’s Calendula Garden Childcare Center. The Center is located just a quarter-mile from the Badger campus and offers high-quality, subsidized childcare for children of their employees.  Badger, in a sense, creates its own “village” to support both parent and child!

 

Calendula Garden Child Care Center
Calendula Garden Child Care Center

Another exemplary aspect of employee care is their free lunch program. This is a daily organic lunch served during a paid 30-minute break. Every day their fabulous cooks prepare a free, home-cooked lunch for all of the Badgers made from 100% organic and mostly local foods. During the summer months, much of the produce comes right from their Badger Ecology Center vegetable garden! Read more about Badger’s impressive employee benefits here.

Free organic lunch!
Free Organic Lunch For Badger Staff

Product Certifications

Badger believes that third-party certifications take the guesswork out of claims made on cosmetics and personal care items. This means that they adhere to the standards and guidelines of any third party agency certifying their products. Their products are certified organic by both the USDA and the NSF, many of the ingredients are Fair Trade certified, and all products are certified gluten-free and certified cruelty-free.

 

Take a Virtual Tour with Badger Bill:

 

A Tour of Badger from Badger Balm on Vimeo.

Spotlight on Elmer Farm

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Elmer Farm this week to celebrate this 90-acre organic farm and the farmers who bring it to life. Member-owners can enjoy 20% off their glorious spread of organic vegetables from November 14th – 20th!  Read on to learn more about the history and heritage of this farm, which has been providing food for this community since the early 1800s!

elmerlogo

Driving into East Middlebury on Route 116, it’s hard to miss the beautiful patch of flowers bordering the white farmhouse at the entryway to Elmer Farm. What you might not see from the road are the amazing fields of vegetables that are grown on this fertile, organic soil. Elmer Farm is a conserved 90-acre farm where Spencer and Jennifer Blackwell and their crew grow 8 acres of mixed vegetables, flowers, and herbs, all of which are certified organic. Annual inspections and certification by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) ensure that the crops are grown responsibly and safely without the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.

The farm originally belonged to the Elmer family in the early 1800s and has a long heritage of providing food for its community. The receding glaciers bestowed the farm with a wonderful mix of fertile soils and sandy loam, perfectly suited to growing vegetables and grains. It’s on this fruitful land that Elmer Farm now grows more than thirty-five different vegetables, an array of flowers, and culinary herbs. This includes over 200 different seed varieties, many of which are heirlooms. With a goal of maintaining long-term soil health, the crew at Elmer Farm also manages an additional 15 acres of rotating cover crop, keeping one-third of their acreage in production and two-thirds resting.

 

Spencer and Jennifer Blackwell, along with their children, Angus, Ida, & Mabel and their hard-working crew of farmhands are proud to grow vegetables for their community, neighbors, and friends in Addison County. They value hard work and the agrarian quality of life. They are committed to our community through various farm-to-school efforts as well as gleaning for local food agencies. In fact, Spencer helped spearhead the Local Food Access Program at HOPE.

A number of years ago, representatives from HOPE, Middlebury College, ACORN,  and the local business community, along with several local farmers, including Spencer from Elmer Farm and Will Stevens of Golden Russet Farm, got together to discuss the possibility of increasing the amount of locally grown food offered at HOPE’s food shelf. This group recognized that Addison County farmers grow vast amounts of beautiful, healthy organic fruits and vegetables, which are often unavailable or too pricey to those who need it most. They also recognized that these farms often had excess produce available that would not be destined for retail markets, which could instead be diverted to the food shelf. Fast-forward to the present day, and the idea hatched by this group has evolved into an incredibly successful program that is bringing thousands of pounds of healthy, local foods to those in our community who need it most while also diverting a lot of food from the waste stream.

 

At the Co-op, you can find Elmer Farm’s organic cabbage, red & yellow onions, butternut squash, baby bok choy, radishes, leeks, scallions, kale, chard, and their famous carrots! You can also visit their webpage to subscribe to their CSA, where you will receive fresh vegetables, flowers, and herbs each week from mid-June through the end of October for a total of 20 weeks. Also, be sure to check out the recipes on their web page!

Business of the Month – Stone Leaf Teahouse

A whistling tea kettle, the spicy aroma of simmering chai, a quiet space to sit, relax, and enjoy the moment…these are all part of the experience when you visit our featured Co-op Connection Business, Stone Leaf Teahouse, and it seems to beckon us this time of year when the air turns cool and crisp. Located in the heart of Middlebury’s Marbleworks, the Teahouse offers an oasis of calm in the center of an otherwise bustling little town. The staff has an intimate knowledge of the impressive list of teas offered and owner, John Wetzel, has traveled to the farms from which their teas are sourced, gaining an even deeper understanding of the tea’s journey from farm to cup. Even the greenest tea novice will feel right at home as John and his crew help you pick out the perfect tea to sip during your visit. Remind them that you’re a Co-op member-owner and you’ll receive 10% off! You can also find their premium loose leaf teas in our Bulk tea department. It’s a unique treat to have teas this fresh available in our store. Read on to learn more about the teahouse and its offerings.

About Us:

Based in Vermont, our teas reflect our ideals; grown with skill and heart to cultivate a healthy ecosystem and global community. Each year we visit the tea gardens that produce the finest teas in the world. We connect you to the families that have grown and processed tea for generations.

Established in 2009, Stone Leaf Teahouse was built, well from the stone. Upon returning from travels in India and Taiwan, we searched for the perfect space for storing and serving quality tea. We found that space in the Marbleworks in Middlebury, Vermont…our little “tea cave”. Surrounded by stone, our fresh teas keep fresh, and our aging teas age gracefully.

 

Our Focus:

We travel to all the regions that we source tea to forge a connection between the grower and drinker, directly importing from China, Taiwan, India, Nepal, and Japan (with more to come as we grow!).

We source teas fresh, buying the best harvests, often multiple times a year.

We connect the tea drinker to the tea garden.

We are students of tea, here to share the connection through a cup of tea.

Workshops:

Would you like to delve deeper into the world of tea? Check out the workshop calendar for some exciting opportunities to learn more! You can also visit the Tea House blog to read more about John’s tea travels and tips on brewing the perfect cup of tea!

 

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Pre-Order Guide

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

Turkey Pre-Order

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

Prices

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

Mary’s Free Range Organic – $4.69/lb

Sizes

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

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

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

All turkeys will be fresh (not previously frozen).

New! Side Dishes!

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

Click HERE to see the full list of offerings. 

Pick-Up

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

 

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

 

 

Spotlight on Scott Farm

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

 

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

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

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

Zeke Goodband. Photo by kellyfletcherphotography.com

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

photo by kellyfletcherphotography.com

 

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

Apple Harvest. Photo by kellyfletcherphotography.com

Spotlight on Equal Exchange

October is Co-op Month, Fair Trade Month, and Non-GMO month, so it seemed like the perfect time to shine our Member Deals Spotlight on Equal Exchange – a cooperative that is revolutionizing the fair trade of organic, non-GMO coffee, chocolate, cocoa, tea, bananas, and avocados from small farmers. All of their co-op produced, fair trade certified goods are 20% off for member-owners from October 17th – 23rd!

History:

Equal Exchange was started over 30 years ago to create an alternative trade paradigm where small farmers could have a seat at the trading table. The existing predominant trade model favors large plantations, agri-business, and multi-national corporations. Equal Exchange seeks to challenge that model in favor of one that supports & respects small farmers, builds communities, supports the environment and connects consumers and producers through information, education, and the exchange of products in the marketplace.

Mission:

Equal Exchange’s mission is to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound, to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers and to demonstrate, through our success, the contribution of worker co-operatives and Fair Trade to a more equitable, democratic and sustainable world.

Authentic Fair Trade:

Authentic fair trade is central to their mission at Equal Exchange. The fair trade model gives small-scale farmers collective power and financial stability while improving farming communities and protecting the environment. To do so, it utilizes a particular set of business practices voluntarily adopted by the producers and buyers of agricultural commodities and hand-made crafts that are designed to advance many economic, social and environmental goals, including:
• Raising and stabilizing the incomes of small-scale farmers, farm workers, and artisans
• More equitably distributing the economic gains, opportunities, and risks associated with the production and sale of these goods
• Increasing the organizational and commercial capacities of producer groups
• Supporting democratically owned and controlled producer organizations
• Promoting labor rights and the right of workers to organize
• Promoting safe and sustainable farming methods and working conditions
• Connecting consumers and producers
• Increasing consumer awareness and engagement with issues affecting producers

 

What Impact is Fair Trade Having on Farmers & Their Communities?

Bananas:

According to the USDA, the average American eats 27 pounds of bananas per year. That’s a lot of bananas – and a big opportunity for impact. The banana industry is notorious for low wages and heavy chemical use, causing major health problems across banana producing regions. You can read more about that here. Together, Equal Exchange and their banana partners are creating a trade model that respects farmers, builds communities, and supports the environment. By buying Equal Exchange bananas, you are choosing to connect yourself to these courageous banana farmers who are making history for themselves, and quite possibly, for the entire banana industry. Click here to read more about the progressive small farmer banana cooperatives that partner with Equal Exchange.
Here’s a look at the impact of your Equal Exchange banana purchases in 2018:

 

 

 

 

 

Avocados:

Equal Exchange partners with PRAGOR, a progressive group of small-scale avocado farmers in Michoacán Mexico. PRAGOR is composed of 18 producer members who each own an average of 10-15 acres of land, all 100% organic. 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. PRAGOR’s strength and perseverance is a lesson for anyone committed to working for change in the world!

In an effort to maintain a year-round supply of organic, fairtrade avocados, Equal Exchange began a partnership in 2018 with LaGrama, a Peruvian company providing essential services to small scale farmers in Peru. A major advantage for Peruvian avocados lies in their seasonality for exports, which roughly extends from May to August. This serves as a good complement to the Mexican export season, which lasts from August to May. After extensive research with industry partners and a sourcing trip to Peru,  Equal Exchange was thrilled to find partners like LaGrama that align with their mission and vision for change in the avocado industry. 

Here’s a look at the impact of your Equal Exchange avocado purchases in 2018:

Coffee:

This is where it all began! Way back In 1986, the founders of Equal Exchange started their journey with a Nicaraguan coffee — which they called Café Nica — and they haven’t looked back. The impact over the years has been incredible and your purchases of fairly traded coffee have helped build pride, independence and community empowerment for hundreds of small farmers and their families. One of their latest projects, the Women in Coffee series, highlights women leaders across the Equal Exchange coffee supply chain and represents an opportunity to spark community discussions around Fair Trade, gender empowerment, and relationships across food supply chains. You can find the featured Women In Coffee Series coffee, Colombian Solstice, in our bulk department.

Another fantastic project brewing at Equal Exchange is their Congo Coffee Project. Equal Exchange founded the Congo Coffee Project with the Panzi Foundation as a means to bring Congolese coffee to market in the United States and raise awareness about the alarming rate of sexual violence that takes place every day. Sexual violence has affected thousands of people in the Congo over the last two decades, and for women, men and children in need of medical attention there are not many options; they are sometimes ostracized, abandoned or ignored with nowhere to go.  Survivors of sexual violence seek refuge and assistance at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, DRC, a bustling place with more than 360 staff and thousands of visitors each year.  The hospital treats patients with various ailments but has become known as a safe place for survivors of sexual violence to seek treatment and heal from their trauma.   

Since inception in 2011, the Congo Coffee Project has raised more than $80,000 for survivors of sexual violence and Dr. Denis Mukwege, the physician responsible for treating survivors of sexual violence and raising awareness of their plight, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. You can read more about that here and you can support Dr. Mukwege’s work by purchasing the Congo Project coffee in our Bulk Department.

 

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