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.
The story of Lyman’s Specialties starts in 1998, when Peg Moulton and Lyman Powers met. The first batch of pickles arose from a conversation about Christmas presents back in the early 2000’s. They decided on gift baskets that would be filled with Peg’s grandmother’s fudge and cinnamon rolls, as well as Lyman’s great-grandmother’s bread & butter pickles and garden relish. As they distributed the gifts, the feedback on the pickles was overwhelmingly positive. In fact, Rhonda, Peg’s daughter, said they were the
Maple syrup, the Vermont delicacy dates back hundreds of years when Native Americans first discovered the sap flowing from Sugar Maple trees and boiled it into the sweet caramel syrup we know and love today. Vermont is the top producer of maple syrup in the United States with a share of 40%, or over 3.5 million gallons. While many other states produce maple syrup no
In 1989, a young Pierre Capy stopped in for a cup of coffee at a café called the Coffee Connection in Cambridge, MA.. He had never had anything like it before in his life, and two weeks later he was working for that café’s legendary owner, George Howell. Pierre’s life was on a completely new course.
The story of Nutty Steph’s starts at a Vermont gas station in 2003, when Stephanie Jaquelyn Rieke and her mother bought some granola as a snack. Her mom was unimpressed with what they tasted, and immediately knew that the granola Jaquelyn had been baking for many years in her home kitchen was far superior. Since Jaquelyn had just quit her job as a teacher and was seeking a lifestyle change,
Chris Chaisson has had a passion for farming and food since an early age. It all started at the age of 3 when he lived in Western MA and helped his family raise bees and grow vegetables, which they sold at a tiny farm stand. His first job was with his father’s catering company at age 12, and he worked as a cook all through high school. During his formative years his grandmother helped to start Smartfood popcorn, which instilled an interest in the farm-to-manufacturing process. After high school he apprenticed with herbalists