Organic

Spotlight on Tierra Farm

We’re casting our Member Deals 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 Valatie, NY. From April 8th – 14th, member-owners can enjoy 20% off their delicious dried fruits, nuts, nut butters, and other healthy snacks! Read on to learn more about this fantastic small business and its commitment to responsible practices throughout the supply chain:

Tierra Farm is a Certified Organic manufacturer and distributor of nuts and dried fruits located in the Finger Lakes Region of 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, and covering nuts and fruits in fair-trade chocolate. 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 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 is also committed to community. They recognize that there’s a whole big world outside their doors and they want to help make it as beautiful as possible. With this in mind, they embrace opportunities to s

upport local charities and help them continue to do great work in service to others. 

Recently selected one of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies by Inc. 5000, Tierra Farm remains committed to their team members. Every single Tierra Farm employee makes a living wage of $15 per hour and enjoys a comprehensive health benefits program, as well as a retirement plan and onsite lunch. In August of 2019, Tierra Farm became a Certified B Corporation, one of only 3,000 companies worldwide to earn this distinction.

 

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 milk, 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, “Every day 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 the 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. 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 Burlington.

 

Celebrate Earth Day!

Earth Day is Thursday, April 22, marking the 51st anniversary of the very first Earth Day celebration in 1970! According to EarthDay.org, 20 million Americans (representing 10% of the total population of the United States at that time) took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums on that first Earth Day to advocate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Earth Day celebrations have continued to grow in scope and magnitude since that day in 1970 as the awareness of climate change and the dire need for environmental advocacy has become ever more apparent. 

Food co-ops have been looking for ways to reduce environmental impact for decades. In fact, many co-ops were formed by people who wanted access to healthy, delicious food with reduced environmental impact and less waste, and co-ops continue to lead on these issues today. You help co-ops continue this proud tradition every time you choose to shop at one, invest in ownership, or tell a friend about your local food co-op. Here are a few of the ways that co-ops support healthier patterns of production and consumption:

Supporting Local Farmers & Producers

Local products at food co-ops around the country average 21% of total co-op sales, compared with a national grocery store average of just 1.8%. Here at your Co-op, we’re extremely proud to report that 34% of our sales come from local products, thanks to our partnerships with more than 400 local farmers and food producers! Supporting these local farmers and producers with your food dollars helps to decrease environmental impact by reducing the fossil fuel consumption and air pollution associated with transporting foods over long distances. At the average chain supermarket, most of the food items you buy travel over 1500 miles to reach your plate via lengthy truck and plane trips. This not only causes massive fuel consumption and pollution but also involves the need for packing and shipping facilities and refrigeration throughout the supply chain, consuming vast amounts of energy. The more food miles collected during food transportation, the more fossil fuels are burned, allowing more harmful greenhouse gas emissions to be released into the atmosphere.

 

Supporting Organic

Nationwide, co-op shoppers demonstrate an inspiring commitment to the environment, with organic sales at co-ops totaling over $415 million annually. Organic farming methods have been scientifically validated  as being not only more sustainable but a potential answer to some of our most pressing environmental problems. On average more than 33% of the products co-ops carry are USDA Certified Organic and represent 42% of a co-op’s total sales, compared with a national grocery store average of just 5%. Certified organic food by law cannot be grown using toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or GMO seeds. Beyond the benefit to individual shoppers is the positive impact organic agriculture has on natural systems. Organic methods are supportive of all levels of life from soil microbes to pollinators to the health of farmworkers in the fields.

 

Tackling Food Waste

Spoilage is a perennial challenge for the food industry. Diverting food from the landfill is the key, and co-ops tackle that through donations to food pantries, composting, and better utilization of cooking scraps. Nationally, the average food co-op is donating 24,100 pounds of healthy, edible food to food pantries annually, with a total of more than 1.5 million pounds of food donated in 2016 alone. Similarly-sized conventional grocery stores divert an average of 12,500 pounds, about half of what co-ops do. Here at your Co-op, food waste reduction is a particular passion and we’re proud to have donated over 6,500 pounds of food to our local food shelves last year. Non-marketable foods that are not fit for human consumption are passed along to local farmers who pick up our compost regularly to feed their animals. The remaining food scraps that aren’t fit for animal consumption (coffee grounds, meat scraps, etc.) are picked up by Casella Waste Management and become compost. These practices support our planet by reducing the significant greenhouse gas emissions associated with food scraps entering a landfill and by making the most of the energy expenditure that went into producing those food items in the first place. 

Promoting Reuse and Recycling

According to a 2012 Impact Study, co-ops recycle 96 percent of cardboard, 74 percent of food waste, and 81 percent of plastics compared to 91 percent, 36 percent, and 29 percent, respectively, recycled by conventional grocers. Your Co-op understands that recycling isn’t the panacea we all once believed it to be, so we’ve doubled down on our efforts to reuse and upcycle as many items as possible. We dedicated the Spring 2019 and Spring 2020 issues of our Under the Sun newsletter to this important topic, complete with a map in the 2019 edition centerfold highlighting all of the items throughout the store that are reused either by local farmers and producers (apple crates, delivery boxes, maple syrup buckets, and honey buckets) or by customers (spice scoops, egg cartons, product delivery boxes, etc.). We also installed a cardboard bailer to allow us to minimize the number of trips required by Casella to pick up our recycled cardboard and we’re constantly exploring new ways to offer products without packaging. 

Supporting Sustainable Infrastructure

Buildings have direct environmental impacts, ranging from the use of raw materials for their construction and renovation to the consumption of natural resources, like water and fossil fuels, and the emission of harmful substances. When your Co-op expanded in 2017, significant efforts were made to minimize the environmental impact of the physical store. We prioritized the integrity of the building “envelope” to ensure a high level of control over indoor air quality, temperature, humidity levels, and energy consumption. We also made every effort to use sustainable building materials, installed LED and solar lighting throughout the building and parking lot, and integrated hyper-efficient refrigeration systems. The efficiency of refrigeration systems has a critical impact on a store’s carbon footprint, as refrigeration can account for as much as a third of a typical grocery store’s electricity usage and the refrigerants used in refrigeration systems have a greenhouse warming potential many thousand times that of carbon dioxide. Therefore, reducing refrigerant leaks and carefully maintaining refrigeration systems can have a significant impact. 

While we truly believe Earth Day should be celebrated every day, we love having a specific day set aside to honor our incredible planet and we enjoy the conversation it inspires with regard to environmental sustainability and climate action. People like you make it happen. When you shop at the co-op, your money makes a bigger impact in your local community than at a typical grocery store. At the co-op, your food dollars work to support a robust local economy, a vibrant community, and a healthy environment. Thanks to co-op shopper support, local farmers and producers continue to have a market for their delicious food, organic agriculture continues to grow, local food pantries and nonprofit organizations have a strong partner and together we are making progress towards a fairer food system.

Spotlight on Cascadian Farm

We’re shining this week’s Member Deals Spotlight on Cascadian Farm. Their full line of organic products are 20% off for member-owners from March 11th – 17th, so it’s a great time to stock up and save! Read on to learn more about their commitment to providing healthy, organic foods for over 45 years:

The Cascadian Farm story began over 45 years ago when founder, Gene Kahn, an idealistic 24-year-old grad-school dropout from Chicago, wanted to make a difference in the world. He recognized the delicate balance between humans and their environment and wanted to farm in a way that would not harm the natural beauty of the earth or her inhabitants. Inspired by reading “Silent Spring” and “Diet For A Small Planet”, he set out to farm organically on a little stretch of land next to the Skagit River in the Cascade Mountains of Washington.

The Cascadian Farm family is proud that more than 45 years after their founding, the original farm is still rooted in the organic values it was founded upon. It represents their ‘true north’, demonstrating their commitment to organic and land stewardship practices to the partner farms they work with to bring organic products to more consumers. Dedication and passion from farmers past and present preserves this organic legacy. Their company has been recognized as a pioneer in converting large-acreage conventional farms to organic production, now boasting more than 100,000 acres of organic farmland.

Want to visit the farm? They’re offering a trip for two to tour the original farm in Skagit Valley, WA to learn all about their history and farming practices! Three runners up will win $250 in free Cascadian Farm product. To enter, click HERE anytime after April 19th.

Why Organic?

Choosing organic foods allows you to:

  • limit your exposure to synthetic insecticides, fungicides, and herbicide
  • limit your intake of growth hormones and antibiotics
  • limit your intake of genetically modified foods

Organic Foods:

  • Do rely on natural biological systems for pest and weed control thus avoiding use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and soil fumigants.
  • Do improve the quality and fertility of the soil
  • Do protect water quality
  • Do reduce soil erosion
  • Do reduce the impact of agriculture on our environment
  • Do produce high quality, great tasting food
  • Don’t use genetic engineering
  • Don’t use sewage sludge as fertilizer

Take it from Jim Meyer – Cascadian Farm’s Organic Educator and Farm Manager from 1993 until his retirement in 2015. His strong belief in working with nature and giving back to the community set a solid foundation for the future of the farm:

Spotlight on Dr. Bronner’s

This week’s Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Dr. Bronner’s! Member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on all Dr. Bronner’s products from February 25th – March 3rd, so it’s a perfect time to stock up and save. Read on to learn more about this mission-driven company and its deep commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

History

Dr. Bronner’s was founded in 1948 by Emanuel Bronner, a third-generation master soapmaker from a German-Jewish soapmaking family, who spent his life renouncing hate and war on a personal mission to unite mankind. He used the labels on his superb ecological soaps to spread his message that we must realize our transcendent unity across religious & ethnic divides: “We are All-One or None!” Still family-owned and run, Dr. Bronner’s honors its founder’s vision by making socially & environmentally responsible products of the highest quality—and by dedicating their profits to help make a better world.

Dr. Bronner’s founder Emanuel Bronner

Emanuel passed away in 1997 due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease, though his legacy lives on through his family who continues to run the business and carry out the social and environmental missions that Emanual held dear. The torch was initially passed to Emanuel’s sons Ralph and Jim, along with Jim’s wife Trudy, though, by 1998, Jim was battling cancer and began to train his son David (24-year-old Harvard graduate, mental health counselor, hemp advocate) to run the company. On Jim’s passing, David, along with mom Trudy and Uncle Ralph, began running the company, and in 2000, David’s brother Michael rounded out the team by joining the family business.

David, Trudy, and Michael Bronner

Advocacy

Intent to carry on Emanuel Bronner’s passion for the care of people and planet, Dr. Bronner’s has continued to dedicate themselves to using their business as a force for good. In 2003, Dr. Bronner’s became the largest personal care company certified under USDA’s National Organic Program. They pioneered the first 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, instituted progressive business practices, including the implementation of a 5-to-1 compensation cap between top salaried employees and their lowest-wage warehouse position, and provide 100% free health care coverage to their entire team, along with profit sharing. All profits not needed for the business are allocated to progressive causes and charities. Dr. Bronner’s was instrumental in funding and coordinating the hemp industry’s battle to defeat the DEA’s prohibitive hemp regulations and they’ve been outspoken advocates for the labeling of products produced using genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Click here to check out Dr. Bronner’s blog to read more about their advocacy and activism.

Certifications

Dr. Bronner’s has been Fairtrade certified since 2007, B Corps Certified since 2015, and they recently became one of the first companies to receive a Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) from the Regenerative Organic Alliance for their coconut oil. This designation is given to products that meet the highest standards for soil health, animal welfare, and farmworker fairness and Dr. Broner’s is committed to eventually having all of their products receive this certification. The ROC and Fairtrade certified coconut oil that goes into Dr. Bronner’s products is produced by a sister company, Serendipol, located in Sri Lanka.

A coconut farmer harvesting the Fairtrade Regenerative Organic Certified coconuts for Dr. Bronner’s products

The palm oil used in Dr. Bronner’s products comes from another sister company, Serendipalm, located in Eastern Ghana. The palm oil is produced ethically from sustainably-harvested palm fruits that come directly from 500 small organic family farms. These farms were developed without the widespread clear-cutting of rainforest and the resulting devastation to local primates that are common with many of the newer, larger-scale palm oil plantations. The farmers, along with the 250+ workers in the oil mill (primarily local women) are paid a Fairtrade premium price and enjoy working conditions that are uncommon in this industry so marked by exploitation. The Fairtrade premium has been used for a range of community development projects, such as drilling wells and installing tanks to provide community-operated water systems, building public toilet facilities, rebuilding a pedestrian bridge, installing lighting, and providing school supplies.

The women of Serendipalm processing the ethically and sustainably-harvested, Fairtrade, Organic palm fruits to produce the palm oil for Dr. Bronner’s products

According to their website, “Dr. Bronner’s has always been an activist company, dating back to when Emanuel Bronner was calling on the human race to unite from street corners and auditoriums, selling his peppermint castile soap on the side. Carrying forward that same activist spirit, it is our mission to continue to use the company today to fight for and financially support causes we believe in: regenerative agriculture, fair trade, animal advocacy, industrial hemp and drug policy reform, and living wages, among others. We call ourselves the “fighting soap company,” and are committed and strategic in the causes we fight for.

Spotlight on Late July

Are chips and dip part of your Super Bowl 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 28th – February 3rd.  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!

 

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 pizza dough is featured in our weekly sale from January 14th – 20th, along with local Maplebrook fresh mozzarella, Muir Glen organic pizza sauce, and a handful of perfect pizza toppings, including local Vermont Smoke and Cure Pepperoni, 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 3rd – 9th! 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 switch last year 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 is 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 is hyper-local with very minimal waste. 

Amanda Warner & 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

 

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 3rd – 9th! 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 switch last year 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 is 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 is hyper-local with very minimal waste. 

Amanda Warner & 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

 

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 26th – December 2nd! We happen to 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 90 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, the environment, and the community. At the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Badger joined a group of over 500 other B corporations in committing to Net Zero by 2030. That means reaching a perfect equilibrium with the earth—drawing all of their energy from renewable sources, and releasing zero carbon into the atmosphere. 

Badger facility & ecology center
Badger Facility & Ecology Center Gardens

Going Solar

This past September, Badger was so excited to officially unveil their 1,384-unit, 486.7-kilowatt array of solar panels! Mounted on their grounds and stretching across their rooftops, the panels produce enough clean solar energy to power all of their operations—and even send extra electricity back to the grid. These panels will eliminate about 636,000 pounds of carbon pollution every year!

New Solar Panels Powering the Badger Campus in Gilsum, NH

 

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 regenerative 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. Recently, their full line of mineral sunscreens was among the first to bear a new Protect Land + Sea Certification, a seal verifying that a product does not contain any ingredients or contaminants considered harmful to coral reef environments, sea turtles, and other aquatic life.

 

 

Take a Virtual Tour with Badger Bill:

 

A Tour of Badger from Badger Balm on Vimeo.

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