September Update and Farewell to Lee Bradford

| Food For Thought, GM Report

I hope this note finds everyone in good health and spirits. It is with mixed emotions that I write to you today. As many of you have heard, I have decided to step down from my position as the General Manager of the Brattleboro Food Co-op. Serving in this role has, quite simply, been an honor and a privilege. I have had the pleasure of working with an exceptional team, dedicated board members, and passionate shareholders who are committed to the values and mission of our cooperative.

Mi Tierra – Fresh Local Tortillas

When I first encountered Mi Tierra tortillas, I knew they were special. Maybe it was the fragrant perfume of fresh corn that emanated from their packages (who knew corn had a fragrant perfume?!), perhaps it was the fact that they were delivered by a wild-haired, dirt-under-the-fingernails farmer, or maybe it was the name: Mi Tierra – Spanish for “my land.” Whatever it was, I have come to understand that my enthusiasm for these little golden rounds was not unfounded. The more I’ve learned about the people and the story behind them, the more I’ve grown to love Mi Tierra Tortillas.

Dover Hill Creamery

Dover Hill Creamery is located at the top of the beautiful hills of East Dover. Peter, Sara, and Liz Honig live there and raise Nigerian Dwarf goats, and make rich, creamy artisanal cheeses from their milk. Sara and Peter are Liz’s parents, and the three of them, plus Liz’s fiancé, moved there in 2018 after falling in love with goats. At their previous home in Concord, MA, they raised goats as pets, and Liz loved caring for them so much that she took some higher education courses in dairy farming and cheesemaking. She is now the resident goat midwife and animal husbandry expert, Peter is the cheesemaker, and Sara delivers their cheeses to the small group of area shops that carry their products. But all three of them are deeply engaged with their herd — they all know each goat’s name and history and personality, and seem to consider them members of the family.

August Update

| Food For Thought, GM Report

First and foremost, I wanted to extend our thoughts and well wishes to everyone who has been impacted by the recent flooding across the state. At the BFC, we are coordinating efforts with other cooperatives including City Market, Middlebury, Hunger Mountain, Hanover, Monadnock, and Littleton to support local farms through the and other organizations. One big way you can help is Round Up for Change in August, which will add flood relief. The BFC will be matching every dollar raised for flood relief to double the contribution. Thank you to everyone in advance for supporting this fundraising and helping Vermont recover from the flooding.

July Update

| Food For Thought, GM Report

May this update find you all in good health and spirits! This month presents an opportunity to look back on our 2023 fiscal year, my first full year as GM, and also share a preview of things to come in 2024.  The team has certainly accomplished quite a bit in the last year. There isn’t space to share everything here, but there are certainly a few highlights worth mentioning!

FinAllie Ferments

FinAllie Ferments is a kraut company based in southern Vermont that uses all locally-grown produce. It’s named after Fin the farm dog and Allie Dercoli, who is equal parts farmer, community builder, and artist, with some electrician sprinkled in for good measure. When she settled in Vermont in 2014, she wasn’t looking to start a business—she was looking for a 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.

Just Soap

Sometimes something simple can make the largest impact. Just Soap strives to make a big difference through low-impact practices, intentional efficiencies, and high-quality products. Frederick Breeden started Just Soap as a simple craft project, and it has since blossomed into a thriving household staple, locally and beyond.

June Update

| Food For Thought, GM Report

I hope this month finds everyone in good health and high spirits as summer approaches. We are finishing up our fiscal year, and planning for next year and beyond is well underway.  At the heart of the BFC is a deep commitment to serving our community, and developing a clear vision and responsible financial plan is critical to our ability to do so.

Farmers and Cooks: Deli for Foodies

For Sam Estridge of Farmers and Cooks, real conversation means talking about real food: quality, flavor, and tradition. Because what they do is so unlike the industry standard, Farmers and Cooks needs the stores that carry their products to be partners in educating and inspiring their customers. At our Co-op, that hurdle isn’t quite so high, but it’s still kinda weird to think about buying something from the deli case that’s so good you’d be comfortable serving it to guests on a dinner plate. That’s where the real conversations come in.

May Update

I am writing this from my hotel room at the National Cooperative Grocers spring meeting. One year ago I attended this same meeting as a brand-new GM. Now, I am reflecting on an amazing first year at the Brattleboro Food Co-op – and there is a lot to think about. First, thank you to everyone on the BFC team. You have been patient, kind, and supportive while holding me to the high standard you deserve. To our Board, thank you for being such vibrant thought partners and for your service to our community.

April Update: Whitney Field

| Food For Thought, GM Report

I am going to depart from our regularly scheduled programming this month to share that our Store Manager, Whitney Field, has given her notice and is moving on to new adventures. Whitney began her career with the BFC in 1995 when she joined the team as a floater. In this role, she helped wherever she was needed, a strength that remained a common theme for her entire career. She was promoted to management a few short months later in the Bulk Department and the rest, as they say, is history. She then moved into the Grocery Operations Manager which included buying for the Frozen and Dairy departments. After a short stint at our neighboring Monadnock Food Co-op from 2013-2015, Whitney returned to the BFC and has been our Store Manager ever since.

Pangaea Sushi

I will use the names Myanmar and Burma interchangeably in this article, as Poe and Su Su did during our conversations.

Su Su Min Aung came to the U.S. in 2013 from Myanmar. In her life there, she was an elementary school teacher. But she always knew how to cook. When she arrived here, she jumped right into the little sushi business her husband, Poe, had started. Thanks to Su Su’s finance and business skills and Poe’s operational know-how, Pangaea Sushi has grown into a strong local business–one that now, with its presence here in Brattleboro, has deeply enriched our Co-op community.