Local Food

Soil Health is the Key

Healthy soil is the key to so much: healthy food, clean water, increased crop yields, drought resistance.  It’s integral to a healthy food system, but for the last 50 years or so, it’s been relegated to the background as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, tillage, and monocropping have come to the forefront.  Dust storms that harken back to the dust bowl are still the reality in areas where soil is left bare and exposed to the wind, particularly in the Midwest and Southwest. However, as we look to improve water quality in Vermont and to develop a strong and sustainable food system, more attention is being refocused on the health of our soils.

JBF Food Conference Recap: Rethinking the Future of Food

Last month, the James Beard Foundation hosted their 6th annual conference tackling the very large topic “Rethinking the Future of Food.” I will say, this is no easy feat. Breaking it down into three perspectives, speakers, panelists, and participants examined this topic through the lenses of the future of health, the future of the kitchen, and the future of the farm.

Farm Visit: LaPlatte River Angus Farm

I had the pleasure of joining our Meat and Seafood Manager, Jamie, and our Meat and Seafood Buyer, Nick, on a visit to LaPlatte River Angus Farm’s new inspected livestock processing facility in Milton, VT.  Considering we get 1,600 - 2,000 pounds of beef from LaPlatte River Angus Farm each week (that’s 4 sides of beef per week, averaging between 400 and 500 pounds each), we were appreciative of the opportunity to check out the new facility and to see how the process works. 

Farm to Freezer is Back!

A couple years ago, we featured some regional frozen vegetables in our freezers in Aisle 4.  These were offered to us as part of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association’s Farm to Freezer program, and we’re happy to announce that NFCA is once again making these delicious frozen veggies available to us!

NFCA’s Farm to Freezer program started in response to Co-ops in New England needing more local or regional vegetables and fruit in our freezer aisles.  We offer a wide variety of local and regional options in our fresh food departments, like Produce, Meat and Seafood, and Cheese, so it felt only natural that a larger share of our frozen items should be produced locally or regionally as well. We have a variety of locally grown and frozen berries from Adam’s Berry Farm in Charlotte, VT, but the vegetable options were lacking.  Enter Farm to Freezer!

A Visit to Gerard's Bread

What if I told you there was a product we stocked that is in even higher demand than Heady Topper?  Would you believe me?  If you’ve ever looked for Gerard’s bread at the Co-op, then you know it’s true!  We’ve even seen folks notice it arriving at our loading dock out in the parking lot, and head back inside to meet the deliverer right as they arrive in the Bakery Department.

Fresh is Best

As many of you know, Summervale season is upon us. Every Thursday in our office is a bustle of activity to make sure orders arrive on time, all the prep work of washing, grinding, chopping, and slicing is done, the signs are printed, and the van gets packed with everything we need to head on down to the buzzing scene at the Intervale. Last week, as I prepped for our “Make Your Own Pesto” activity, I had to make a last-minute change of plans to whole basil tops instead of already-picked leaves. Basil tops include the whole stem and come in large whole bunches.

Radish Overload

Radishes. Always one of the first spring goodies to pop up in my garden, it’s always exciting to pull those red (or white or purple) globes out of the ground.  But if you are like me, you probably grow tired of eating radishes the same way all summer long – sliced raw on salads.

As spring moved into summer, our radishes, as radishes tend to do, became spicier and spicier.  Too spicy for salads, in my opinion.  I needed to find something else to do with them.  I had heard of roasting radishes, and in my searching, I also found recipes for braising radishes.  Both methods are easy to prepare and mellow out radishes’ spice, making them creamy, mild little nuggets.

Bee Sting Bakery Visit

If you take a walk through our bread aisle, you may see some impressively dark loaves marked as a product of Bee Sting Bakery. As owner and lead baker, Heike Meyer would say “Don’t fear the dark crust!” This week, Heike led a tour of her bakery and a class on the wonders of sourdough baking. She and her husband, Jens, who she affectionately introduces as Chief Oven Manager, together run this picturesque and self-sustaining bakery out of their home in Fairfax, VT.

Farm Visit: Ploughgate Creamery

A couple of us from the Co-op had the opportunity to visit Ploughgate Creamery at Bragg Hill Farm in Fayston, VT the other week. 

Vermont Blue Cheeses

We had the pleasure of hosting Tom Bivins, Executive Director of the Vermont Cheese Council, yesterday for a tasting of three Vermont blue cheeses: Cellars at Jasper Hill's Bayley Hazen Blue, Plymouth Artisan Cheese's Red, White, and Blue, and Parish Hill Creamery's West West Blue. 


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