Serving Up Vermont

Monday, May 15, 2017
By Meredith Knowles, Outreach and Education Coordinator

Mild weather and plenty of rain means we’re in that precious window of spring where young sprouts pop up, and the wet ground is a happy habitat for wild edible like fiddleheads, ramps, and wild mushrooms. Known for their tasty flavors packed into tiny bites, these wild edibles are only available for a few fleeting weeks, but they are definitely worth seeking out.

Monday, May 8, 2017
By Chad Estey, Media Coordinator

This is a guest post by Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm. All views expressed in this article are personal to Jack.

Just about every dairy farmer in Vermont will tell you that their industry is in a grave crisis situation.  The experts tell us that our present system of pricing commodity milk from the farm is broken and pretty much unrepairable. There is simply too much milk being produced.  According to the agricultural economists, we are now in a global marketplace and milk prices show no sign of improvement in the near future.  Several well-respected commentators have recently made some pretty radical suggestions they feel will help the situation.  For some time now, James Maroney of Leicester has been pushing for a statewide transition to organic dairy practices as a way to improve water quality in Lake Champlain.  More recently, Roger Allbee, a very well respected former Secretary of the Vermont Department of Agriculture, has suggested that the only cure for the present milk pricing malaise is to move the Vermont dairy industry en masse into the organic sector.  Reactions to these proposals have been rather predictable.  The conventional co-ops that handle the lion’s share of Vermont produced milk are incredulous and dead set against any such change while folks in the organic camp are elated that a former agriculture secretary would recognize the viability and economic advantages of organic farming systems. 

Monday, May 1, 2017
By Chad Estey, Media Coordinator

This is a guest post by Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm. All views expressed in this article are personal to Jack.

I grew my first grain crops during the 1977 season one year after buying our farm.  Total acreage was six—four of wheat, one of barley and one of flint corn. The cereals were planted with a wooden wheeled antique grain drill and harvested with a PTO driven John Deere grain binder and a large tin Dion threshing machine.  We ended up with some very nice looking hard red spring wheat that seemed to glow at us.  Beginner’s luck was upon us.  This initial success bolstered our confidence and nurtured a passion for grain growing that has continued until very recently.

Monday, April 24, 2017
By Sarah Bhimani, Outreach & Education Manager

Note: This article is not meant as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult with your medical practitioner before using any type of remedy, herbal or otherwise.

Have you ever gone to a juice store and wondered about the mysterious green shot of wheatgrass?  What is it? Now considered a “superfood,” wheatgrass is considered by many to be a healthful tonic with many nutritional benefits. A shot of wheatgrass juice is the best way to absorb the nutrients, but wheatgrass can also be dehydrated and taken in powder or pill form. Customers can special order trays of wheatgrass in our Produce Department at any time, and our Wellness Department has a number of wheatgrass containing products. 

Monday, April 17, 2017
By Sarah Bhimani, Outreach & Education Manager

In 2015, one of the recipients of the Co-op Patronage Seedling Grants was the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Grower’s Association’s (VVBGA) Community Accreditation for Produce Safety (CAPS).  They received $12,700.55 from the grant program to help cover the cost of creating and implementing the CAPS program, including developing a web platform and providing farmer workshops.  CAPS is a voluntary and affordable Produce Safety Accreditation specifically for Vermont farms. The goal of CAPS is to help farmers reduce the risk of food-borne pathogens and maintain food safety credibility in the marketplace, even if they are exempt from the final rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Monday, April 10, 2017
By Sarah Bhimani, Outreach & Education Manager

This is a guest post by Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm. All views expressed in this article are personal to Jack.

One hundred per cent grass fed dairy products (aka “grass milk”) has been a relatively recent arrival to the dairy section of most natural foods outlets.  The health benefits of 100% grass fed dairy have long been espoused by The Weston A. Price Foundation and others.  When cows live on a diet from which grain has been eliminated, the omega 3 fatty acid profile increases in their milk.  Grass fed beef has become quite popular because of the presence of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA’s) in the meat.  Higher CLA’s reduce one’s risk of cancer and other diseases.  These same nutritional advantages hold true for 100% grass fed milk products. 

Monday, April 3, 2017
By Sarah Bhimani, Outreach & Education Manager

Artichokes? No way! I can sympathize with the sentiment.  Artichokes are a seemingly intimidating vegetable, what with its many leaves and spikes (it is the edible pre-bloom flower of a specific type of thistle).  But, once you know how to handle and prepare artichokes, the intimidation factor decreases.

Thursday, March 30, 2017
By Meredith Knowles, Outreach and Education Coordinator

Spring is shyly peaking her head out from under the snow. In sporadic bursts of rain and sun, we can feel the warmer weather rolling in (even if only slightly). But it’s still worth celebrating a time of blooming and regrowth! My favorite way to do that? New recipes, of course!

So, what’s in season? The coming months will bring lots of fresh, bright flavors. Look for local herbs and crisp produce like greens, onions, garlic, and peppers. Spring wild edibles like mushrooms and garlic scapes are right around the corner. Fancy treating your sweet tooth? Keep an eye out for rhubarb!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
By Meredith Knowles, Outreach and Education Coordinator

Homemade cooking doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In an age where packaged and premade food is immediately available, it can be easy to neglect the pots and pans in our kitchens. But cooking from home offers many benefits over eating out; it’s overall healthier, lower in empty calories, higher in nutrition, and is significantly more cost-effective. When out of practice, though, recipes gone wrong can be a frustrating end to your day. So we’re introducing a new cooking workshop series dedicated to making you feel good about getting your hands dirty.

Monday, March 6, 2017
By Sarah Bhimani, Outreach & Education Manager

You may have heard some rumblings about the benefits of ghee, or perhaps you’ve seen ghee on the shelf (you can find it in Aisle 2). But do you know what it is?

Ghee is clarified butter, meaning the oil has been separated from the milkfat.  It is a concentrated source of the fats (mostly saturated) and the vitamins A, D, E, and K2 found in butter. It also is a good source of butyric acid, a saturated fat that helps the digestive system.