Serving Up Vermont
This past week, a few of us from the Co-op headed out to the Northeast Kingdom to visit one of our organic dry bean producers: Morningstar Meadows Farm. The farm is operated by Seth and Jeannette Johnson (and their 3 young children) and is a diverse operation – in addition to organic dry beans, Seth and Jeannette also raise beef cows, breed golden retrievers, and care for 4 Belgian draft horses.
After taking a brief hiatus, City Market staff cheese tastings are back, and we kicked it off with a special visit from Wendy Brewer from Grafton Village Cheese. The Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company (yep, they started as a cooperative of dairy farmers!) was founded in 1892 to make surplus milk into cheese. In 1912, a fire destroyed the Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company’s factory, and the company laid dormant for a few decades. In the mid-1960s, the Windham Foundation restored the company and now serves as the parent company of Grafton Village Cheese. The Foundation’s mission is to promote Vermont’s rural communities, and Grafton Village Cheese fulfills this mission by purchasing milk from local dairy farms (primarily Jersey cow milk), participating in the local economy, and supporting local community events.
Some City Market staff members recently organized a bike ride out to Colchester to visit Amir Hebib’s mushroom house to visit with Amir and learn more about the mushrooms and plants he cultivates. Before moving to Vermont from Bosnia in 1996, Amir managed one of the largest mushroom operations in Europe.
As a new contributor to this blog, I will begin by introducing myself. My name is Cristi Nunziata, and I am City Market’s Outreach and Education Coordinator. I have worked at the Co-op for over 10 years, beginning in the Deli, then Wellness and finally in Member Services. I have coordinated our Herbal Education program for over eight years. I am very passionate about wellness and nutrition and am very excited to now be coordinating cooking classes in addition to the wellness ones.
One of my proudest achievements in life is becoming a mother. My son has brought me so much joy. He has also brought me many new learning experiences, including how to introduce foods to a baby. So, in the spirit of introductions, it seems fitting to begin my blog writing with this subject.
Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany is similar to Burlington, Vermont in some ways. It’s about the same population, has a lot going on in terms of activities and places to eat, is a very walkable city, has lots of greenery, and feels like a small town. Why even bring up this obscure location? Well our Co-op, along with two other co-ops in different regions, won a trip to visit Weleda’s biodynamic gardens where they grow some of their plants and herbs for their products. Weleda is one of our more popular skin and body care brands in the store. So anyway, no big deal. I got to fly to a really beautiful city in Germany, blah, blah, blah. I joke! I feel so grateful to have gone on this trip! I met some amazing people and gained so much knowledge of and respect for biodynamic farming.
What's new with City Market's cooking classes? One answer: Foreign language cooking classes! Since this spring, we have been offering foreign-language cooking classes in Spanish and French, and we are thrilled with the community response. For years, we have provided a venue for instructors from other countries - Bhutan, Burma, Somalia, the Congo, Bosnia, Vietnam and more - to teach about their native cultures and cuisines.
Father's Day is fast approaching, and here's a great way to show your dad how much you appreciate him: make him homemade body care products! The following recipes come from our Herbal Education Coordinator, Cristi Nunziata, and run the gamut from aftershave to foot powder. Don't have time to make your own DIY gifts? Check out some gift suggestions at the end of this post from Cristi.
Bay Spice Aftershave
Allspice, ground or grated
Ginger, grated or ground
Besides the joy of welcoming a newborn into the world, do you want to know a way to make new parents even happier? Participate in a Meal Train! As I alluded to over the winter when I said my wife and I were “working on expanding our family”, we had a baby! We welcomed our beautiful baby girl into the world in March and she’s just awesome. My attention to creative dinner plans right after her birth, on the other hand, left something to be desired.
What’s in a word? There’s the technical definition, yes, but our experiences and our perceptions can create a certain understanding of particular words that are different from what others may accept. Likewise, new terms are being created regularly and sometimes even become mainstream (“selfie,” anyone?). Given this, one of our biggest challenges with the rapidly expanding sustainability movement, is explaining the terms commonly used to describe sustainability (the “lexicon”) and making those terms accessible and commonplace to all people. Without a common language, we can’t expect to m
Spring has finally sprung, and it seems like the perfect time to write about a recent Mosaic of Flavors class where we made a special Bosnian bread stuffed with spinach. Spinach will always be a "sign of spring" for me, because it's one of the first crops we get from local farmers in the springtime. Its fresh, green color and large, squeaky leaves are a welcome change of pace from root vegetables!
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