By Ashley Fuentes • Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
New products from local producers are popping up all the time at Healthy Living, and new friends and old pals of the Dairy Department are making some delicious things!
Kimball Brook Farm: Maple Milk
Yes, this is what it sounds like – get excited. They’ve taken maple syrup (VT’s all time favorite food) and blended it with organic 1% milk straight from the farm. Old family recipe, new family favorite.
In the perfect on-the-go pint size.
Luiza’s Homemade With Love: Pierogi
Based in Shelburne, VT, Luiza makes pierogi that are authentic and light. To quote the Seven Days, “Bloomberg’s most popular pierogi, the potato and cheese, is fluffy inside, almost like a soufflé.”
If you are a fan of pierogi, even if you have a Polish granny, there is no way you could be disappointed.
photo credit: Luiza Bloomberg
To see the full article about Luiza and her creations, click here.
Mama Hoo-rah: Saucy Spreadable Dip
Susanna’s Catering out of Morrisville is making a product that is both delicious and hard to categorize…it’s that versatile. Mama Hoo-rah is a saucy, spreadable dip made of mostly roasted red peppers, so it’s healthy and yummy.
- a sauce for grilling, pasta, or pizza
- a dip for veggies, chips, or crackers
- a spread for sandwiches
Find it with our pesto and pasta, use it wherever you can!
Mountain Home Farm: 100% Grass-fed Ricotta
The Tunbridge,Vermont artisan farm has come out with amazing 100% grass-fed dairy products this year. We started out selling their single source cultured butter and “true buttermilk, and now that they have started producing ricotta, we obviously couldn’t resist. If you want to become instantly famished, just look up “ways to cook with ricotta,” like I just did. Whoops.
Stay tuned for more ways to shop local, and we’ll keep looking for Vermont businesses to support!
By Gary Daluisio • Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Shop bulk coffees here at Healthy Living and it’s a win for you, the local economy and the world! For the consumer, bulk packaging and shipping means better prices for you and you can buy as little or as much as you need, always keeping you supplied with the freshest coffee! For the local economy we have local roasters like Uncommon Grounds from right here in Saratoga and Lucy Jo’s out of Hebron, NY and Tierra Farms from Valatie, NY and Equal Exchange out of Massachusetts. So how does our bulk coffee benefit the world? More effective shipping and reduced packaging, as well as organic and sustainable farming are good for the environment. And then there is fair trade.
Fair Trade: The going rate for “free trade” coffee is around $0.75 per pound. ”Effective April 1, 2011, the minimum price set by Fairtrade International for washed arabica coffee beans was $1.40 per pound. Another 30 cents is added if the coffee is also certified as organic. An additional 20 cents, called the Fairtrade Premium, is collected and is used to fund social and business development projects in the producing communities. One fourth of that premium is set aside for efforts to improve quality and productivity. These prices are paid to the farmers’ cooperatives, which then distribute profits after expenses. Fair Trade farms must also meet labor standards such as paying a minimum wage to workers, allowing workers to organize, and ensuring health and safety standards (http://www.ethicalcoffee.net) Additionally, Fair Trade certification has sustainability standards for farming not present on “free trade” farms. Fair Trade cooperatives put money back into the community providing education where often there was none.
Great taste! As a coffee drinker and self proclaimed connoisseur, run of the mill coffee just won’t do! Each coffee here is picked for it’s quality, complexity, consistency and did I mention? GREAT TASTE!
Stop by and say, ”Hi!” and let’s talk coffee!
By Anna Glavash • Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
A bee takes shelter from rain showers while we explore farm fields. Half Pint Farm, Burlington Intervale
Farm season in Vermont is peaking, and to us at Healthy Living, this means it’s also farm trip season! Last Wednesday, a group of HL staff took a trip to several of our local producers’ fields (I guess that makes it a field trip??) to see what’s coming out of the ground and learn more about how it’s grown. To me, this opportunity to connect, to witness and to deepen our relationship with vendors is vital to being part of a business that supports local. For anyone who buys local, when we get to know our farmers, we enrich every bite and add value to every purchase by knowing who grew our food, what care they took in doing so, what they risked and sacrificed to make it possible, and what it means to them to bring it to us. I don’t think anyone we visited would mind another friend stopping by, so I highly encourage you to make a pilgrimage to your local farms and let them know you love their food! I swear, it makes the veggies grow bigger…
Open doors greeted us as every farm we visited. MR Sol Farm, Grand Isle
What struck me most about this farm trip was how different each farm is. So different, in fact, that it reminded me of the four student houses in Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School. Each house, and each farm had its strengths and its weaknesses, its characteristics and its aversions, and these differences are what make them all worth appreciating. When we all play to our strengths and diversify, a rainbow of bounty (and a stronger food system) is the result. As with people, I’m sure glad every farm isn’t the same…how boring would that be?
The MR Harvest farm truck
Our first stop of the day was on Grand Isle at MR Sol Farm. MR Sol—formerly MR Harvest —is certified organic and run by Dave McGregor of MR Harvest and his partner Greg Sol, formerly of Sol Fresh Farm in Charlotte. Dave and Greg together manage several high tunnels as well as two sets of fields in diversified vegetable production. Dave grew up on the farm, which started as a large flower garden under his father’s hand and grew into what it is today, 25 acres of intensively cropped land.
Greg Sol and Dave McGregor of MR Sol Farm
The farm is still recovering from a very wet season last year, which had a big impact on the diversity of their crops. This year, they are working on restoring variety to their fields, with moderate success. Dave was quite honest with us when showing certain heirloom species, explaining that they can be more fickle and susceptible to environmental factors than their more common descendents, and a risk to grow.
Slicing tomatoes and purple basil at MR Sol
It’s obvious that Dave has to make tough choices between offering more to his customers and protecting his business, but his positive attitude more than makes up for any disappointments. I’ve never met a farmer so determined to problem-solve and willing to try anything and everything to squeeze the most out of his acres.
These jalapenos came with a warning to wear gloves when prepping! That means a lot coming from a farmer…
And I wasn’t fooled by his less-than-perfect fields, which were unapologetically weedy—ever since we started receiving boxes from him back in April, I am consistently impressed with the quality of his produce, which is unmatched and stands out from our already exceptional shelves, practically glowing with vitality.
A full harvest of curing onions and garlic to look forward to!
After being invited to pick right from his plants on our tour, we stepped into his walk-in to conclude the visit and found it impossible to stop him from filling an overflowing box of his best produce for us to take home. Dave’s generosity, ethics and above all, his down-to-earth honesty all impressed me greatly. You can taste the best by looking for MR Sol’s yellow and red onions, cucumbers and eggplant, gold beets and green cabbage, scallions and a mess of tomatoes this week in Healthy Living Produce.
Savage Gardens, North Hero
We continued on our rainy journey to Savage Point Road on North Hero, home to Savage Gardens. They are probably most famous for their delicious eggs, but what I didn’t know is that they also have a bustling farm stand and extensive gardens. I can also personally attest to their having extra tasty meat birds, after bringing home a fresh one and roasting it whole.
Hugo and Amanda Gervais, Savage Gardens
HL is currently carrying their beautiful red and blue new potatoes, which I can’t get enough of—did I mention I roasted my chicken on a bed of them? Be sure you visit their happy farm to pick up a fresh bird if you get a chance.
Amanda’s pigs feed the family and provide friendly nuzzles
Hugo and Amanda Gervais started growing on the property after building their home in 2001. Amanda’s garden grew and brought her to local farmers’ markets, and eventually animals were added to the mix and Hugo joined her to farm full-time. The diversity of their farm is amazing for its size—quite small, that is. This land supports thousands of laying hens, broiler birds, their 3 dairy cows—yes, they sell raw milk—and a cornucopia of fresh produce, as well as cut flowers. They also sell piglets! We met their 4 pigs who were friendly and frolicksome.
Weighing out lettuce for market. Behind her are cut flowers, and–you guessed it–a hoophouse full of tomato plants
Savage Gardens tomatoes ready for wholesale
They now farm 30 acres in North Hero and 60 in Isle Lamotte, practicing rotation with their animals and cultivation. This means that the fields for planting have been pre-fertilized by the chickens, who were pastured on them the year before. This practice ensures the long-term viability of the land for growing and minimizes the need for inputs and pest management. They are certified organic and clearly care deeply about their land and creatures, great and small.
Laying hens roosting in their shelter
Everybody huddling together out of the rain
Hugo and Amanda are incredibly humble and warm people and spent a long time talking with us, which shows me how much they value their supporters. They have two young children and while they did recently built housing for their handful of seasonal employees, it was so beautiful to witness a family farm run by folks who are doing it themselves and for love and have a true passion for growing and raising. You can find more of their produce (and sometimes chicken!) at the Fletcher Allen Farmers’ market on Thursdays’, as well as weekly markets on the Islands.
Amanda and Rob in the barn, where they recently held a farm dinner and contradance
After we dried off and ate some lunch, it was down to the Intervale our group went next. Our first stop was Half Pint Farm, which is leased by Mara and Spencer Welton.
Mara and Spencer Welton, Half Pint Farm
Half Pint’s philosophy boils down to a whole lot of planning, seed saving and a very specific focus: specialty and heirloom varieties. Specifically, tiny versions of heirloom varieties—think baby squash, microgreens, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, baby lettuce… And their farm is correspondingly tiny. Don’t be fooled by its’ size, though—comprised of just 2 acres, it boasts close to 400 varieties of vegetables.
Half Pint’s exquisite baby lettuce heads
I think micro-managed is the appropriate term here—as Mara said, “we are a spreadsheet farm”—but far from obsessive, it’s incredibly inspiring to listen to her talk about her passion for overseeing the cropping, bringing in new varieties and experimenting to learn what works and what doesn’t. In regards to what doesn’t work, I found their approach very interesting —when a crop falls victim to disease or pests, they don’t fight at all. They let nature take its course and instead focus on what’s doing well. And on a farm with so many varieties of a given crop, they can afford to do this, which is fortunate.
San Marzano tomatoes ripening on the vine
During the winter, which Mara calls “conference season”, they are traveling and sharing their techniques with other farmers and learning new ways to improve their return. This combined with subscribing to as many food magazines as she can get her hands on is what allows Mara to be perched on the cutting edge of food trends and still drawing on traditional grower wisdom.
Sunflower buds–the next summer delicacy?
For example, among the bouquet beds for CSA members she pointed out sunflowers whose heads had not yet opened. These large buds look somewhat like baby artichokes, and she had heard that if steamed, they could be eaten much the same way. She was going to try it out and if it got her approval, the sunflower buds would go into her CSA boxes for the week. This kind of experimentation in a farm share wouldn’t be everyone’s way of doing things, but they have cultivated a customer base who are as enthusiastic about slow food as they are, and it works.
Mara explaining to Rob how best to stuff a squash blossom (with lots of cheese, of course!)
As we walked around the small farm, it was as clear there as it was at all of the farms that it’s tomato and pepper time right now. I couldn’t keep track of all the varieties of each that they have growing, not to mention the jumble of mature squashes on the ground (don’t forget about those squash blossoms, either).
Tiny cuke-o-melons are a hybrid of watermelon and cucumber
I saw cuke-o-melons and sunchokes growing for the first time, and even got to taste the elusive Trinidad Perfume, a habanero variety with no heat. I never knew habaneros had so much flavor!
The only Habanero I will ever eat whole: the Trinidad Perfume
Leaving Half Pint, I was most impressed by the obvious success they have had working within self-imposed parameters. A small farm size, a tight plan and a specific focus all have helped Half Pint succeed as a specialty producer that customers seek out time and again for exceptional food. While other farms, such as Savage Gardens, are looking to grow all the time, Half Pint seems pretty content to be the mini-farm that it is.
Half Pint’s tidy washing and packaging station, and their 2 seasonal staff
Speaking of growth, our last stop of the day was just down potholed and puddled Intervale Road at Diggers’ Mirth. 22 years ago, Diggers’ started as another small Intervale farm, and season by season it has grown into the essential and dependable mid-sized farm that it is. They have acquired several additional fields in the Intervale, allowing them to grow specialty crops for their diverse customer base, as well as expand their “bread and butter” crops: salad greens.
MR Sol Farm
Hilary, one of the partners, explained to us as we traipsed through the rain that the 5 of them track their hours worked, and at the end of the year they divvy up their profits accordingly. This system allows them to travel, work other jobs, and get out what they put in.
The other thing Hilary emphasized is their mission to make fresh food accessible to as many people as possible—this is what got the collective started in the first place. The Diggers’ Mirth Farm Truck rolls through the streets of Burlington’s Old North End, a mobile veggie disco with a mission: bring the food to the people. The price is right on this produce and it’s very important to the Diggers’ crew to keep paying it forward.
Multi-colored yarrow growing at Half Pint Farm
Though farmers have come and gone from the collective, they share the same core values, and the same ability to grow amazing food. You’ll regularly see their fresh herbs on our shelves, such as parsley, cilantro and dill, as well as piles of bagged mesculun and spinach. Keep your eyes peeled soon for their oblong Sangria watermelons—the best I’ve ever had.
Seeing and hearing all of these people share their farm stories with us and thinking about their diverse backgrounds and approaches was a powerful experience for me, as it would be for any eater. Whether it’s by cunning, hard work, love, or dumb luck, these 4 farms are all growing amazing produce and working true magic in the fields. I am proud to be a part of helping support them and bring their food to the people. But don’t let us do all the work! Bring your people to the food—visit your local farmers today! It’s a trip I won’t soon forget.
By Eileen Mangan • Friday, August 15th, 2014
Here at Healthy Living, we are proud to announce a plethora of new products that have recently been added to our shelves. I would like to take a moment to introduce them to you.
Our friends at Food Should Taste Good are responsible for the creation of Pita Puffs. This clever twist on pita chips comes in 3 fabulous flavors Chive, Pesto and Multigrain. Great for snacking or scooping tasty hummus! You can find this fun new product in our Chip aisle.
Also, newly added to our chip aisle is Cactus water made by True Nopal! The nopal cactus is more commonly known as prickly pear. This unique drink has only three ingredients, is less expensive than most coconut water and is incredibly delicious! Try some cactus water today to see for yourself!
This product is for the mini shoppers out there meandering around with our miniature shopping carts. Bitsy’s Brainfood has four fabulous new flavors of cookies! These crackers are made of unique flavor combinations like zucchini gingerbread carrot and orange chocolate beet, made with real fruits and veggies! Bonus, these cookies are made in a dedicated NUT FREE facility making them safe to send into school with your children. You can find these alongside our juice boxes with our other snacks for kids.
For those coffee drinkers out there who may not always have time to make a cup, stop by to stock up on our convenient can of High Brew Coffee! This fun new coffee beverage is caffeinated by 100% Certified Fair Trade Arabica Bean with Mexican Vanilla, Dark Chocolate Mocha and Double Espresso flavors to choose from. Come grab a can out of our Grab and Go drink section, located across from our amazing juice bar.
Last, but most certainly not least, jazz up your upcoming BBQ with our new line of condiments made by Sir Kensington! They add a myriad of options to our condiment selection, some of the most exciting being Sriracha Mayonnaise, Spicy Ketchup and Spicy Brown Mustard. My personal recommendation — pair Sir Kensington’s Sriracha Mayo with Sunset Farms Local eggs to make a spicy egg salad, Yum!
By Saratoga Wellness Manager • Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
Sun Warrior Classic Protein is a great way to add the necessary vitamins and nutrients you’ve been yearning for in your diet. The Sunwarrior Classic is a raw (not heated over 90 degrees) whole grain brown rice protein with a complete amino acid profile. Unlike other protein powder supplements you may find out there, Sunwarrior Classic Protein actually tastes really good!
While the Sunwarrior Classic is made with whole grain brown rice, The Sunwarrior Blend is made from pea, hemp and cranberry proteins. Both are excellent with minor differences between the two in regards to protein quality.
If you are searching for extra protein in your diet, before or after your workout, or simply seeking a great asset to your smoothies, look no further. At this point I’d like to give a shout out to all you vegans out there seeking a diverse protein powder that is vegan-safe…Sunwarrior is also organic, non-GMO, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and hypoallergenic! BAM!
Enjoy your Sunwarrior sampling today 3:30pm-6:30pm in the Wellness Department at Healthy Living Market at the Wilton Mall. Great for before or after your workout!
visit www.sunwarrior.com/smoothies for more smoothie ideas too : )
Discover your warrior today and be well,