Serving Up Vermont
With the holidays approaching and the feasts that accompany them, those with dietary restrictions may feel like they are on restriction. What fun is Thanksgiving without the turkey, the stuffing…the gravy! As someone who has been vegetarian for twenty plus years and was gluten free for two, I know a thing or two about this subject.
Last week, City Market staff members had the pleasure of attending a brief cheese tasting with Carleton Yoder of Champlain Valley Creamery. Located in Middlebury, Champlain Valley Creamery has been making certified organic cheeses and cream cheese for the past 11 years. The milk that Champlain Valley Creamery uses comes from Blissful Dairy in Bridport, VT. Blissful Dairy is certified organic and also supplies Organic Valley with milk.
In early October, City Market was lucky enough to welcome cookbook author Andrea Chesman back to lead another great class, Demystifying Root Vegetables. Andrea is on a crusade to resolve the bad rap given to root veggies. She believes that people are mistakenly under the impression that root vegetables are difficult to cook and/or cannot be delicious. Well, she certainly shed a new light on roots for me.
By Clem Nilan, Local Food Project Manager
Co-op shoppers are besotted with Besteyfield Farm’s eggs, purchasing over 8,000 dozens in 2014. Ben Butterfield is the proprietor of the 650 bird chicken farm located in the Intervale, our local treasured farming mecca just a quick walk from the Co-op. On a recent tour of his farm, Ben told Co-op staffers that his biggest challenge is the cost of chicken feed. Ben was able to reduce cost by obtaining spent grains from area brewers and his hens love it. This got us thinking. Why not use some of our “spent” produce that winds up in compost bins?
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 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.