I always find it interesting when hippies become entrepreneurs. Not that Allie Dercoli, owner and operator of FinAllie Ferments, is necessarily a hippie…she’s more like a combination of itinerant farmer, artist, electrician, teacher, and finally, chef, with a refined palate, innate resourcefulness, and a penchant for smelly stuff – which is an important attribute for someone devoted to crafting this delightfully pungent food. When she settled in Vermont in 2014, she wasn’t looking to start a business—she was looking for sustainable community and farming. FinAllie Ferments is simply the result of meeting the demand that naturally arose from her delicious supply of amazing kimchi and kraut.
Peter and Virginia Vogel founded Back Roads Granola with the goal of creating the best granola you have ever tasted. They have been entrepreneurs in one form or another for much of their lives, and in many ways their success story starts with Virginia and Peter’s skills: Virginia’s business savvy and sales and marketing experience, combined with her commitment to impeccable customer service, has led their strategy, branding, and sales approach; she and her team build relationships with every one of their current buyers, and are quick to respond on every level to satisfy their customer base.
As humans we crave connection, to build relationships that nourish us and those around us. At Orchard Hill Breadworks, Noah started baking bread in 1997 with this as a source of inspiration. Since then he has built a business that strives to be integrated into the community, fulfilling the needs of those around him in a way that calls back to the days of villages inhabited by people who, with a variety of skills and trades, were able to sustain themselves and each other through cooperation.
Cajeta. A time-honored tradition in Mexico. It is an irresistible caramel sauce made with fresh goat’s milk and pure sweeteners cooked in copper kettles. And it’s a labor of love, as it takes much time and precision to make this concoction. Since 2006, the family that owns and operates Fat Toad Farm has been offering a Vermont rendition of cajeta from their farm in Brookfield, VT. In fact, it all started when their daughter Josey returned from Mexico with this recipe, knowing they had lots of extra goat’s milk that could be made into this delectable dessert.
As a community-owned cooperative, our Ends Policies act as a guiding light for our values, purpose and mission. Ends Policy #6 states that “The BFC exists to meet its shareholders collective needs for: relevant information about food and related products, the environment, and the Cooperative Values and Principles.” In this edition of Food for Thought we’ll be sharing what we’ve learned about the hemp industry in Vermont from historical research, Vermont law, interviews with staff, Vermont-based CBD producers, and particularly our January Producer of the Month, Bravo Botanicals.
Brag Bags- The story of Brag Bags began when Kathleen Kennedy was a child and witnessed her mother’s work as an accomplished seamstress. Crafting gorgeous dresses, hemming pants, and making bags, her mother was very handy with a sewing machine and a true artist. She could walk into a store, see a lovely dress, and then head home and re-create it from her memory and her creative passion. Being exposed to this artistic energy was infectious, and as Kathleen grew from a child to a teenager, she began to pick up a love for drawing and painting, which led to a degree in art from SUNY New Paltz. Throughout her life art has always been a part of her work, from making jewelry and designing gardens to creating floral arrangements, and now with Brag Bags, her line of unique, hand-made purses and totes that we sell here at the Co-op.
November is a time for delicious food, for giving thanks and for enjoying loved ones. Here at the Co-op we are excited for November because it means we get to be a part of supporting your holiday meals with friends and family. Whether it be a fresh turkey from Stonewood Farms, bulk flour from King Arthur Flour, or sweet potatoes from Laughing Child Farm, we are excited to help make your holidays special. While we know many people love to cook their own recipes from scratch and take deep pride in a Thanksgiving meal, we are experiencing an increase in demand for conveniently prepared foods ready to eat.
Every October, cooperatively-owned businesses around the world celebrate National Cooperative Month. No matter what type of co-op it is—whether it’s an electrical utility, credit union, or food cooperative like our own BFC, it is our shared values and principles that steer our businesses forward, and this is the month to share our successes! Look for signs calling out cooperative food companies, follow us on Facebook for fun facts, and view our website events calendar to see our scheduled tastings and demos featuring cooperative companies. And in this month’s Food for Thought, we are taking the opportunity to share the story of one cooperatively-owned business that is locally owned…and quite possibly chilling in your fridge.
In Amherst, Massachusetts, 34 miles as the crow flies from the Brattleboro Food Co-op, seated in and amongst a picturesque rail trail, a golf course, suburban homes, and a strip-mall development, is a hidden gem of sorts—a farm which holds the local food movement to a lofty standard. Despite its high standards, Old Friends Farm is not pretentious. It’s simply the expression of the founders who care deeply about the land and the workers who derive a living from that land. Their salad greens, fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, ginger and turmeric, and specialty products shine bright with the care and love that is poured into the work and the land every day.
Azul; Veil of Love; Bohemian Rose; Prism of the Sun; hibiscus; jojoba; spruce; rose. These are just a few of the names of skin care products and botanicals used by SantaLena Groves, the owner, formulator, herbalist and general do-it-all entrepreneur of Heart Grown Wild, the ever-growing-in-popularity skin care company out of Wardsboro, VT, and our local Producer of the Month for August. Heart Grown Wild has a beautiful story that speaks to the benefits of risk taking, love for the earth, wild harvesting, clean, green beauty, and artisanship.
Super premium ice cream is made in small batches by hand using the highest quality, all natural ingredients that deliver a distinct, creamy, delicious flavor. Walpole Creamery in Walpole, NH executes this type of carefully crafted treat for you and your taste buds. The deep care and attention to detail extend into their sourcing by using super local ingredients whenever possible, such as milk from Crescent Farm, also in Walpole. This ice cream dream started in 2006 and to this day has a commitment to quality you do not see or taste often in our fast-paced world.
From the early 1950’s until the late 1980’s, the United States government placed a high priority on subsidizing wool because of its importance as a material for military uniforms. During this time, David Major’s family was able to raise many sheep and earn up to three dollars a pound for their wool. The industry thrived, and allowed thousands of Americans make a decent living. When the subsidies ended in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the entire wool market in the United States collapsed. Once-vibrant woolen mills in Vermont and Rhode Island became obsolete, as the business of raising sheep quickly travelled overseas due to American farmers no longer being able to survive.