Serving Up Vermont
Pomegranates are a delicious treat this time of year, but I know I'm not alone when I say they are one intimidating fruit. How do you know when they are ripe? How do you cut it? How do you get all those delicious kernels out of the intricate pith inside? But once you figure it out and taste the sweetness of the seeds, all that work seems totally worth it and not as hard as initially thought.
Earlier this month, a few of us from the Co-op went out to visit one of our favorite farmers: David Miskell, from Miskell's Premium Organics in Charlotte. You can find Miskell's produce in our Produce Department, as well as on our Hot and Cold Food Bars.
We are extremely excited about our partnership with Burlington-based Brio Coffeeworks and the four fair trade, organic coffee roasts that we developed with them for sale in our Bulk Department! Magda and Nate from Brio stopped by recently to talk with our staff members about the new coffee roasts and about coffee in general.
Last night at ArtsRiot, an eager crowd gathered for another great food discussion. In this third installment of The Dish series, our topic was “Global Foods, Local Perspectives”. For me, it was another fine example of Vermonters putting their values on the line, even if it means wrestling with some challenging questions. As a community that places a high value on local food and the farmers who grow it, while at the same time cherishing delicious global foods that we will never realistically grow locally (think coffee, chocolate and avocadoes), how can we make informed, value-driven decisions when purchasing those global foods? We can sum up the evening’s conclusion with three simple words: Tell a story.
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.