Crossroad Farm: Feeding the Soil that Feeds Us

Stewards of the land.

“We take our responsibility as ecologically sound farmers very seriously.”
~ Tim and Janet Taylor

Location: Post Mills, Vermont

Distance from the Market: 37 miles

Crossroad Farm in Post Mills, Vt.,  and Woodstock Farmers’ Market go way back. The Taylor family has been providing us with farm-fresh produce since we first opened our doors over 28 years ago.

In 1980, when Tim and Janet Taylor bought 15 acres and planted a one-acre garden, they hadn’t planned on becoming vegetable farmers. But one thing led to another, and 35-plus years later they’re still at it. If you stop by the farm, you’re likely to see members of the next generation (Tim and Judy’s grandchildren) running around the fields or riding with Tim on the tractor.

Tim Taylor and three farmers-in-training.

Over the years Crossroad Farm has grown to include 40 acres of mixed vegetables, strawberries, melons, flowers, and bedding plants. Salad greens, herbs, and crucifers have been their staple crops for over three decades.

Why We Love Them: Nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables begin with healthy soil. When the Taylors first started farming the land, this is what they focused on: feeding the soil so that it could, in turn, feed their community with produce rich in vitamins and minerals.

Tim and Janet are committed to using sustainable farming methods that require minimal or no use of insecticides, fungicides, or herbicides. If they must use pesticides, they use only those that are approved for organic production. And they never use GMO seed.

Putting in leeks.

The Taylors take their role as stewards of the land very seriously. They’ve devoted time over the years to learning farming methods that leave the earth in better shape than they found it. Their techniques include: nutrient and irrigation management, using cover crops and green manures, and the introduction of beneficial organisms. Learn more here.

Here’s how they explain it:

“We’re farming beyond our immediate short-term need to be profitable, working to maintain a continual balance between our practices and the backdrop of protecting the environment, including water quality, human health, soil productivity and the local community.”

What’s not to love?

To learn more: crossroadfarm.com.


Local Food Is Love is our summer celebration of the amazing things coming out of our neighbors’ farms and kitchens this time of year and the people who make it happen. Every week this summer we’re spotlighting local farms and producers—and the good food (+nourishment and joy) they bring to our lives. Click here to read more stories about our local growers and producers.

Sweet Cow Yogurt: Fresh From the Family Farm

One barn, three cows, and daily batches of creamy yogurt.

“As a family, we are committed to working hard and caring for the land, the health and comfort of our cows, our customers and what goes into each and every cup of yogurt.” ~ Diane

Location: West Newbury, Vermont

Distance from the Market: 44 miles

Sweet Cow Yogurt is a family business that makes small-batch, artisan yogurt using milk from their own pasture-raised Jersey cows and home-grown fresh fruit. Their delicious, tangy yogurt is pure and natural: fresh milk + live, active cultures.

The farm sits on 34 acres of lovingly cared-for land at the end of a dirt road in northern Vermont. This is a small operation; they have one barn, a few cows, and a team of family members. Which means they have complete control over the production process.

The Wyatt family is committed to NEVER using growth hormones or incorporating GMO products or artificial ingredients in their yogurts. They employ sustainable farming practices, including natural fertilizers (i.e., manure) and pasture rotation to ensure that their cows always have fresh, green grass to munch on. This healthy diet results in a creamy, nutrient-rich milk that gives their yogurt its rich texture. (Most of their fruit comes from their own orchard or nearby farms.)

Why We Love It: There are so many commercial varieties on the market right now, it’s easy to forget what real, pure yogurt tastes like. Sweet Cow Yogurt reminds us of the yogurt our grandmother made using fresh milk and just-picked fruit from the family farm. We love the simplicity, the honesty, and the “homeyness” of this Vermont-made product.

We also love Sweet Cow’s story. Diane and her family started out selling yogurt at their local Farmers’ Market and have grown their distribution to 15 stores, including the Woodstock Farmers’ Market. But not without their troubles. Thanks to their perseverance, loyal customer base, and one extremely helpful college professor, they’ve found success.

We’re proud to support family businesses like Sweet Cow. People working hard to produce good, honest food while bettering their communities and the land they depend upon.

This is only a teaser. Grab a tissue and read Sweet Cow’s inspirational story about the power of what Diane calls “Divine Providence.” She tells it best:  sweetcowyogurt.com/history.


Local Food Is Love is our summer celebration of the amazing things coming out of our neighbors’ farms and kitchens this time of year (and the people who make it happen). Every week this summer we’ll spotlight local farms and producers—and the good food (+nourishment and joy) they bring to our lives. Click here to read more stories about our local suppliers.

Quaker Hill Granola: From Nancy’s Kitchen to Yours

Homemade granola that you don’t have to make yourself.

This is still a one-woman business. If you call, I’m the person who will answer the phone and pack your order.” ~ Nancy Tucker

Location: Randolph, Vermont
Distance from the Market: 25 miles

In 1990, Nancy Tucker started selling granola out of her home kitchen, at the base of Quaker Hill in central Vermont. She had been perfecting the recipe for years, while running a bed and breakfast in the White Mountains. If her guests loved her granola, then maybe other people would, too. So, she decided to give retail sales a whirl.

Nancy began taking samples of her granola to local shops and co-ops, and she eventually built up a loyal clientele. Nearly 30 years later, she’s still at it.

Both flavors of Quaker Hill Granola—Cherry Almond and Maple Cashew—are made with organic oats, lightly sweetened with real maple syrup and thickly laced with nuts and fruit.

If you pick up a bag, be sure to check out Nancy’s recipes on her website (who knew granola could be so versatile?).

Why We Love It: This homegrown business has all the elements we appreciate in a product story. Inspiration + ingenuity and hard work = success.  Quaker Hill Granola is truly a one-woman business, and we admire Nancy’s ability to wear so many hats …and to do it well.

We all love homemade granola, but we don’t always love taking the time to gather all the ingredients and make it ourselves. So, thank you, Nancy, for making it easy for us to enjoy a summer favorite: a big bowl of yogurt topped with fresh fruit and crunchy granola.

For more info: quakerhillgranola.com.


Local Food Is Love is our summer celebration of the amazing things coming out of our neighbors’ farms and kitchens this time of year (and the people who make it happen). Every week this summer we’ll spotlight local farms and producers—and the good food (+nourishment and joy) they bring to our lives. Click here to read more stories about our local suppliers.

 

 

O.W.L. Energy Bars: Tasty, Good for You, and Portable

We love these nifty little treats.

“These handcrafted, small batch, whole-food bars are designed with our philosophy that ‘you are what you eat’”. ~ Allison Wright

Location: Brattleboro, Vermont

Distance from the Market: 70 miles

In 2011, Allison Wright, founder of OWL Energy Bars, began making her energy bars in a commercial home kitchen in her hometown of Shelburne, Vermont. An outdoor enthusiast, her goal was to create a portable meal using gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and non-GMO ingredients. Each ingredient is responsibly sourced and specifically chosen for its ability to naturally sustain your health and energy.  

“When I introduce someone new to my product and see their excitement and genuine appreciation for the OWL Bar, I am so inspired to keep making the best products I can,” Allison said.

Why We Love Them: These wholesome, Vermont-made bars fit our “grab-and-go” summer lifestyle. This time of year we’re constantly throwing snacks in a bag and heading out the door … to the nearest lake, trail, or bike path. While the sun is high in the sky, we don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. We feel good about the all-natural ingredients (take a look at the full ingredient list here …): gluten-free oats, raw honey, dried fruit, and seeds and nuts. Plus, they’re just plain yummy.

To learn more: www.owlenergybar.com.


Local Food Is Love is our summer celebration of the amazing things coming out of our neighbors’ farms and kitchens this time of year (and the people who make it happen). Every week this summer we’ll spotlight local farms and producers—and the good food (+nourishment and joy) they bring to our lives. Click here to read more stories about our local suppliers.

Employee Spotlight: Natalie Pursues a Lifelong Dream

 

Does this smiling face look familiar? If so, there are a dozen reasons why you might know Natalie.

Natalie grew up in Barnard and recently graduated from Woodstock Union High School. Through her teen years, she worked at a number of area restaurants and stores, including the Farmers’ Market; she joined our bakery team in 2015. She’s also a member of the WUHS girls’ tennis team, which just won the WPA D-II championship. Or maybe you saw her senior portrait in last week’s issue of the Vermont Standard, alongside the rest of the Summa Cum Laude graduates.

Natalie seems to excel at whatever she puts her mind to. And early on in her life, she set her mind on baking. All of her hard work has paid off. This fall she’ll head to New York’s Culinary Institute of America, after spending the summer in the kitchen at Twin Farms working alongside executive pastry chef Chris Wilson.

Thank you, Natalie, for all of your hard work over the years—and, amid all the excitement in your life right now, for taking the time to share your story with us. We wish you all the best, and look forward to hearing about your adventures on your visits “home” to the Woodstock area.

Q: When did you first discover your love of baking?

A: I’ve always loved to bake from as early as I can remember. I loved to help my mother in the kitchen whenever I could, making delicious chocolate-chip cookies and pancakes from scratch.

Q: You’ve been part of our bakery team since 2015 and just graduated Summa Cum Laude! Not all students can work part-time and keep their grades up. What’s your secret?

A: Knowing I get to jump out of bed on Saturday morning to go do what I love all day helped get me through the week. I’m an organized, responsible person with a passion for baking. Working at WFM has been a tremendous source of joy for me, and my happy place. I was careful to manage my time for my schoolwork and always leave time to do what I love. There’s always time to do what you’re passionate about.

Q: How did your experience at Farmers’ impact your decision to continue pursuing your dream of becoming a baker and pastry artist?

A: I’ve always loved coming to the market, even just to shop when I was very little. With my budding passion for baking, I always knew I would one day work in the bakery. That was a dream of mine from the start. I started working here as soon as I legally could: two days after I turned 15. I’ve grown so much as a baker and a person in my time here and learned so much from my fellow bakers about the beauty of baking and being part of a kitchen community.

Baking is my greatest source of joy. When I’m focusing on something I’m making, it’s like all of the other worries of the world somehow go away. Whether I’m elbow deep in strawberries, mixing up a batch of pies, or piping silky buttercream onto lemon coconut cakes, it’s just me in that moment, completely focused, not worrying about anything else. That, to me, is true joy. The fact that I’ve experienced this kind of flow as part of my work is amazing to me. Most of the time, it doesn’t feel like work to me. I couldn’t imagine a better first job, and I feel so lucky to have worked here.

Q: What do you love most about being in the kitchen?

A: Being in the kitchen is my happy place. It brings me so much joy. I love the feeling of accomplishment of making 25 pies, 100 something cookies, 3 kinds of brownies, and doing finishing work for the case all in one day.  I also love being able to spread the feelings of love and joy I have for food with others through my creations.

Q: What’s your favorite dessert to make? To eat?

A: My favorite dessert to make and eat is chocolate cake and cupcakes. I’ve always been a chocolate girl. I always say, if I’m going to indulge, it’s definitely going to be something chocolate-y.

Q: What’s your ultimate dream as a baker/pastry chef?

A: I hope to travel doing what I love, and work in different bakeries, restaurants, and/or resorts in New York City, Paris, and Italy. I will have these kinds of opportunities while studying at The Culinary Institute of America, as I will participate in a six-month externship as part of my curriculum. I’d also love to have my own bakery someday, maybe in one of the places I mentioned earlier, or perhaps here in the beautiful state of Vermont.

Q: Anything else???

A: Not only do I bake, but I also love to cook. As I’ve gotten older and more adventurous in the kitchen, I make a menu for the week, oftentimes do the shopping, and cook everything I have planned. It doesn’t feel like the day is over until I cook or bake something. As they say at The Culinary Institute of America, where I will be heading in the fall, “Food is life.”

Furthermore, the love for food runs in my family. My mom loves to cook, as she was the one who taught me (although I hardly let her now as I’ve pretty much taken over the kitchen.) But don’t worry, I’m going to give her all my best recipes before I head off to school.

My aunt and uncle also own a bakery and cafe in Massachusetts called “Prince Street Cafe and Bakery,” with delicious, authentic Italian pastries from my aunt’s heritage. My cousin is also an executive chef, travelling all around the West doing what he loves and even venturing to Alaska to work for two summers at The Saltry restaurant in Homer.

My love for baking has and always will be a part of me, and I owe a lot of that to my experience at WFM. Working here has provided me with a strong foundation for working in kitchens, and exploring the love, passion and joy I feel for food. It has clarified that this is the right path for me. I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not worked at WFM, and my memories here will always hold a special place in my heart.