GIVEAWAY: Gift Basket from the Old Creamery Co-Op

Old Creamery Co-Op Gift Basket Giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win a gift basket from the Old Creamery Co-Op in Cummington, MA (valued at $150).  A great gift for yourself, or someone you love. Deadline to enter to win, Dec. 24th by 12noon.

This fall the Hilltowns became home to another community co-operative grocery store in Western MA: The Old Creamery Co-Op in Cummington, MA!

To celebrate this new beginning, Hilltown Families and the Old Creamery Co-op have partnered up to offer one of our readers a gift basket (valued at $150), abundant with a collection that is representative of what you will find when you visit this Hilltown gem! Details on how you can enter for a chance to win are below!

VISION OF THE OLD CREAMERY

The Old Creamery is a small country store cultivating a big vision: “…to make the world a more just, loving, and environmentally sustainable place, starting in our own neighborhood, through the vehicle of a vibrant, community-oriented retail store.”  Alice Cozzolino and Amy Pulley purchased the Old Creamery in 2000 and have since helped transform it into a vibrant community hub in the heart of the Hilltowns, transitioning to a community owned co-op last month!

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Alice and Karen Doherty, the co-op’s new general manager, have put together a list of great gifts you can find at the Old Creamery Co-op, gifts that reflect the co-op’s values & vision, some of which will be found in our Gift Basket Giveaway:

List of 20 Gifts You Can Find at the Old Creamery Co-op

  1. Two mugs from our crafts gallery and a bag of locally roasted Indigo coffee.
  2. Vermont-made wooden toys from sustainably harvested timber.
  3. Tessier’s maple syrup, in a variety of sizes. The quintessential New England gift!
  4. The book World Enough and Time by local author Christian McEwen.
  5. Les Costes Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the richest-flavored, most delicate, buttery olive oil I have ever tasted. For an extraordinary gift, pair it with Eiswein Vinegar with Quince from Germany, unique among the vinegars I’ve tasted.
  6. Nitty Gritty Grain Co. of Vermont bags of regionally grown cornmeal, grains, and flour.
  7. Lotus Foods heirloom rices, supporting farmers from many countries in their efforts to grow delicious and nutritious heirloom varieties using environmentally sustainable growing methods.
  8. Sap House Meadery’s assorted flavors of meads in exquisitely beautiful bottles. I enjoy the aroma as much as the flavor.
  9. Bug Hill Farm Black Currant Cordial to drizzle on ice cream, to mix into seltzer, or flavoring in a cooking sauce.
  10. Faber Castell environmentally sustainable beeswax crayons and colored pencils.
  11. One of many really cool, well-engineered kitchen tools.
  12. Assorted chocolates from all over the world; many are organic and fair trade. Put a selection together in a small basket.
  13. A colorful African Market Basket from Ghana.
  14. Beautiful bamboo kitchen towels and sustainably produced bamboo wooden kitchen spoons and spatulas.
  15. A book about canning, canning jars, labels, and a canning funnel.
  16. Wise Ways locally made herbal medicines, and skin-care and personal-care products with a book on medicinal herbs.
  17. Locally made Ooma Tesoro’s marinara sauce, and other Mediterranean condiments.
  18. Maggie’s socks, from a regionally owned company.
  19. A member-owner share in The Old Creamery Co-op.
  20. And the very last of the old-style Old Creamery T-shirts, sweatshirts, or baby jumpers.

Alice also suggests that folks think about giving nontraditionally this holiday season too! “Give the precious gift of your time,” she suggests. “Offer to accompany your friend/family member on walks in the woods, cook a meal for someone you love, or offer to teach something you know, like knitting, cooking, bicycle maintenance, or furniture repair. Take the time to write a card (make your own or buy one of our many cards by local artists). Invite your gift-recipient to accompany you to one of our many local arts venues (theater, music, dance) or to your favorite restaurant.”

The Old Creamery Co-Op is located on Route 9 in Cummington (445 Berkshire Trail Road). As you approach the Old Creamery’s white turn-of-the-twentieth-century building the first thing you notice is the sizable statue of a cow on the front roof overlooking Route 9. The cow connects us with our roots. In 1886 this building housed the Cummington Cooperative Creamery, the co-op of local dairy farmers. These co-op members brought fresh cream from their farms to be churned into butter here. At its most active, 145 dairies produced 20,000 pounds of butter per month.  Find out more at www.oldcreamery.coop.

HOW TO WIN

We’re putting together a BUCKET LIST of things to do and places to see in Western MA with the family this winter, post-holidays (January-March). Recommend your favorite attraction, must see or must do family winter activity in Western MA, and be entered to win a gift basket from the Old Creamery Co-Op (valued at $150), filled with gift quality items and artisanal & local foods you can find at the co-op, including several from the list above. To enter to win simply:

  • POST YOUR RECOMMENDATION AS OUTLINED ABOVE IN THE FIELDS BELOW (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below.
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 at 12noon (EST).

Co-Op Conversations First Tuesday of the Month

Nearly 100 people Engage in Co-op Conversations!

We are so excited about the level of interest in the Old Creamery Co-op. Nearly 100 people turned out for six lively “Co-op Conversations” held over the past two months. These small group meetings provided a great forum for members of the Creamery Co-op board of directors to provide an update on how things are going with the transition to a community-owned Old Creamery.

Each meeting was highly interactive – full of questions, ideas and information, and of course great refreshments. We shared what we have learned from our customer surveys, a staff survey, and an outside market study, including evidence that the Creamery is a valued resource now, has great potential to serve the community for a long time, and needs to make some changes to product offerings, service, retail space and parking in order to better meet community (and Co-op member) needs.

We talked about changes that have already been made in the Old Creamery because of the enthusiastic feedback from well over 300 survey respondents. We hope you will notice the addition of breakfast sandwiches to the deli menu, the new weekly sales specials, the new in-store signage, and the re-organized bulletin boards.

A dedicated group of people is currently working with a volunteer architect to develop plans for physical improvements to the building and grounds. The work will improve the space and experience for customers in the store, as well as provide better work flow for staff. We will also increase the shopping space. We hope to unveil the plans for the “New Old Creamery” in the coming weeks.

Throughout these Co-op Conversations people asked, “What can I do to help?” The answers are easy. Do more of your shopping at the Old Creamery and keep telling us what we need to do to make that happen! Help us get more Founding Member-Owners for the Co-op by telling your friends and family about our exciting venture and what you love about the Old Creamery. (The number of founding memberships is a sign of necessary community support and an important indicator of the future viability of the Co-op.)

These Co-op Conversations were so helpful to the Co-op Board, that the board has decided to hold one each month for the foreseeable future. The conversations are open to all and will be held on the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 PM in the Sustainability Library over the Old Creamery. Registration is required. Please RSVP to outreach@oldcreamery.coop to attend any of these sessions.


Goings-On at the Old Creamery Co-Op by Cherylann Richards

Cherylann Richards is the Outreach Coordinator for the Old Creamery Co-op and writes about the ongoing adventure of working to transition the locally beloved Old Creamery in Cummington into a community owned food cooperative. Cherylann is a past employee of The Old Creamery and completed her Masters of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School this past May.  She is in the process of becoming an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a board certified chaplain with the ultimate goal of working as a medical chaplain.  Cherylann loves Old Creamery made chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and all things outdoors; cross country skiing at Notchview, hiking or swimming with her dog Tula, camping, and bicycling.- Check out Goings-On at the Old Creamery Co-op every third Wednesday of the month.

Beat Cabin Fever at the Old Creamery!

Cure the Winter Doldrums at the Old Creamery

Did you know the Old Creamery in Cummington, MA offers a diverse array of fun free events for everyone?  We encourage you to check out our Community Calendar for all scheduled events from now through June.

The first Friday of every month is Games Night in the cafe.  Bring your family, your friends and your  favorite games to share or use games provided by the Old Creamery.  The Old Creamery provides complimentary popcorn and beverages and schedules this event to start early enough, 6:30 pm, so that children will be able to get their parents home at a reasonable hour.  Games Night is full of fun, laughter and good cheer for all ages.

The second Thursday of the month is Film Night in the Sustainability Library on the second floor of the Old Creamery. Films begin at 7 pm. A series of films is planned on a variety of topics associated with environmental sustainability and critical ecological and social problems.  Discussions in a supportive environment follow each film and complimentary refreshments are served.

The Old Creamery Coffee House tradition continues on the third Thursday of the month at 7:30 pm.  Our community is rich with local artists and the Old Creamery is thrilled to showcase their talents in the café.  Consider coming a bit early to enjoy a dinner from the deli before the show begins.  Baked treats and beverages are available for purchase throughout the evening.

The popular Tastings are held once a month during late winter and spring, on Sunday evenings in the café.  Each month participants learn about and taste samples of some of the special products that the Old Creamery carries.  This year’s series includes tasting of chocolate, olive oils, vinegars, wines, and cheeses.  This series is very popular so pre-registration is required and donations are accepted to help defray the cost of the event.

Along with these Old Creamery sponsored events, the Creamery also hosts the Sustainability Library and the Wholesale Food Buying Club upstairs on the east side of the 2nd floor.  The sustainability library is full of books related to the topic of living sustainably.  These books are available for loan to anyone in the community and there are comfortable chairs that welcome anyone who wants to sit and read in the library.  The Wholesale Food Buying Club has ordering information in the library.  The food deliveries are left in the kitchen upstairs.  Feel free to ask Alice or Amy for assistance if you’re not clear how to use the system.

The Old Creamery is an incredible resource for our community and this is one of the prime reasons for the effort to keep the Old Creamery in the community as a community owned cooperative.  The Old Creamery Co-op is committed to continuing the tradition established by current owners Alice Cozzolino and Amy Pulley of creating and nurturing community.  For more information about the Old Creamery Co-op, join us for one of these  community  events or visit www.oldcreamery.coop or contact me at cherylann@oldcreamery.coop.


Goings-On at the Old Creamery Co-Op by Cherylann Richards

Cherylann Richards is the Outreach Coordinator for the Old Creamery Co-op and writes about the ongoing adventure of working to transition the locally beloved Old Creamery in Cummington into a community owned food cooperative. Cherylann is a past employee of The Old Creamery and completed her Masters of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School this past May.  She is in the process of becoming an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a board certified chaplain with the ultimate goal of working as a medical chaplain.  Cherylann loves Old Creamery made chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and all things outdoors; cross country skiing at Notchview, hiking or swimming with her dog Tula, camping, and bicycling.- Check out Goings-On at the Old Creamery Co-op every third Wednesday of the month.

Seven Principles of Cooperatives

Why a Co-op in Cummington?

In the first few months of working as the Outreach Coordinator of the Old Creamery Co-op I’ve been asked many times, “Why a Co-op?  Why not just keep the Old Creamery as a private business with new owners?”  Well, good questions!  And while we’re at it, “What is a Co-op?”

There are many types and sizes of cooperative businesses and most are structured as for-profit businesses.  Whether it is a small worker owned co-op (like Collective Copies),  a financial organization (like Greenfield Cooperative Bank), or a large producer co-op (like Pachamama Coffee Company), all co-ops have many of the same characteristics as traditional business, and they are unique in several important ways.  One of the biggest and most important differences is that they are democratically controlled by their member-owners, usually on a one-membership/one-vote basis. The fundamental principle of cooperatives is voluntary and open membership.

Another important difference is that co-ops are not motivated by profit alone.  Instead, co-ops exist to provide high quality goods, services, and support and to meet the needs of their members.  The very first co-op was started in Rochdale England in 1844 by a group of 28 weavers and other artisans.  At this time, the advent of mechanization was forcing many skilled workers into extreme poverty. The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers was formed when these workers banded together to open their own food store so that they would be able to purchase food they could no longer afford. — Read more about the history of the cooperative movement on Wikipedia.

Co-ops are also formed by businesses that come together to meet a common need.  The Old Creamery started in 1886 as a Co-op of local dairy farmers who needed an affordable and accessible way to churn their dairy cream into butter.  Cabot Cheese, sold today at the Old Creamery, is produced by Cabot Creamery a 1,200 farm family dairy cooperative with members in New England and upstate New York.

All cooperatives adhere to Seven Principles:

     

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Member Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training and Information
  6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
  7. Concern for Community
  8.  

Co-ops are families, friends, and neighbors who come together to support each other.  Co-ops support the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.  Cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others both locally and globally.

So, why a co-op in Cummington?   Read the rest of this entry »

The Goings-On at the Old Creamery Co-Op: A History

Holy Cow! A Creamery Co-Op!

The Old Creamery in Cummington, MA (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The Old Creamery in Cummington began its long presence in the Hilltown community as The Cummington Cooperative Creamery in 1886.  At that time, a co-op of dairy farmers brought fresh cream from their farms to be churned into butter.  During the Co-op’s most active period, 145 dairies produced 20,000 pounds of butter per month. With the advent of widespread refrigeration and motor trucking in the 1940’s, the needs of the community changed and The Old Creamery began a long legacy of transforming itself to respond to those changing needs.

The Old Creamery has at times been a restaurant and at times a general store.  In 1988, the Berenson family merged these two functions when they purchased the building and business and made major renovations including the addition of the sunny café area.  Current owners, Alice Cozzolino and Amy Pulley, purchased the Old Creamery in 2000 and have worked to transform it into a vibrant community hub in the Hilltowns where people love to gather year round to sample the Old Creamery’s delicious fare, shop for groceries, visit with friends, grab a quick breakfast or cup of coffee, read the paper, or more recently surf the internet.

When Alice and Amy began to think about transitioning the Old Creamery to new ownership, they wanted to insure that it would continue as a place dedicated to the needs of the Hilltown community.  Thus began the dream to return the Old Creamery to its cooperative roots.  On January 31st this year, Alice and Amy held an open community meeting to discuss their co-op idea and gauge the response of the community.  The response was overwhelming.  Over 300 community members attended the meeting.  A steering committee was formed and began to work enthusiastically on pursuing the plan.

Throughout the spring, the steering committee made site visits to other local co-ops including Berkshire, Wild Oats, Greenfields Market, Leverett, and Putney VT.  They put together business and communications plans, analyzed the financial history of the current store, created future financial projections, and compiled estimates for purchase and start-up costs.  On July 30th, the founding member-owner drive was launched with a goal of signing up 300 founding member-owners by December 31st.  This goal was reached on October 21st, more than two months ahead of schedule!

On August 6th The Old Creamery Co-op was incorporated as a legal entity in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the steering committee became the Co-op’s first Board of Directors.  The Board of Directors is now engaged in developing a business plan and in raising equity through continuing to sign up founding member-owners — and through grants and loans to the co-op.  There are new founding member-owner goals:  350 by Dec 31, 2010 and 500 by the summer of 2011.  Currently there are 336 founding member-owners.  If you would like more information about what the Co-op is doing, please visit our website www.oldcreamery.coop or email the Co-op’s Outreach Coordinator cherylann@oldcreamery.coop Stay tuned for more exciting news to come!


Old Creamery Co-Op by Cherylann Richards

Cherylann Richards is the Outreach Coordinator for the Old Creamery Co-op and writes about the ongoing adventure of working to transition the locally beloved Old Creamery in Cummington into a community owned food cooperative. Cherylann is a past employee of The Old Creamery and completed her Masters of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School this past May.  She is in the process of becoming an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a board certified chaplain with the ultimate goal of working as a medical chaplain.  Cherylann loves Old Creamery made chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and all things outdoors; cross country skiing at Notchview, hiking or swimming with her dog Tula, camping, and bicycling.- Check out Old Creamery Co-Opevery second Wednesday of the month.

Cows, Crowds, and a Creamery Celebration

The Old Creamery Celebrates Ten Years

Alice Cozzolino and Amy Pulley celebrated their 10th year of ownership of the Old Creamery, a landmark in the hilltowns! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

On September 19th, 2010 the Old Creamery in Cummington was alive with activity.  Alice Cozzolino and Amy Pulley celebrated their 10th year of ownership of the store with deep appreciation and gratitude for the support of area businesses and residents.

More than a hundred people turned out for this special celebration. Friends and neighbors enjoyed Creamery made pizza, cake, and tastings of other Creamery favorites, tasty samplings from other local food producers including Bart’s Ice Cream, Dean’s Beans Coffee, Sidehill Farm Yogurt, Ooma Tesoro’s Marinara Sauce, and home made mozzeralla from Fiore di Nonno.

An exciting line up of events kept the crowds coming throughout the day including: several local musicians, cider making, juggling lessons, book signings with local authors, a magician, and a visit by Moo the Magical Milking Cow.

The celebration was also an opportunity for the community to learn about the exciting plans to transition The Old Creamery to a community owned co-op. The Creamery started as a cooperative in 1886, and now more than 114 years later is coming full circle. Co-op Board members were available all day to answer questions, listen to ideas and concerns, sign up new Member-Owners, and share their enthusiasm.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Old Creamery Turns 10!

Amy & Alice of the Old Creamery in Cummington, MA write:

Greetings Dear Community!

Ten years?!?   Yes!  It has been ten years since we embarked on our Old Creamery adventure.  Come celebrate with us on Sunday, September 19th.  We deeply appreciate your support over the past decade and want to take a day to have some fun and express our gratitude to you, our amazing customers.  Please drop by for free Creamery made pizza and cake (as long as it lasts).  Swap your favorite Creamery story with a neighbor.  We will have short music sets with some of our beloved local musicians, tastings of favorite Creamery foods, samplings by  local food producers, and other surprises and delights.

As a special thank you to those of you who have joined us as Founding Member-Owners of The Old Creamery Co-op, we are offering a 10% Member-Owner discount, all day September 19, on everything in the store except hard liquor, tobacco products, and newspapers.  If you join as a Co-op member-owner any time that day, you will be eligible for the 10% discount!  Co-op Board members will be on site all day to answer questions, listen to ideas and concerns, sign up new Member-Owners, and share their enthusiasm.

Next week we will send a schedule of events for the in-store celebration; until then, mark the date on your calendars.  We hope you will all join us on the 19th to celebrate what we have all created together here at The Creamery.

Thank you all for 10 years of your business, for your support and kindness, for showing up at coffeehouses, films, tastings, and other events, and for the deeply satisfying richness of sharing daily lives.

Old Creamery Co-Op Welcomes Founding Member-Owners!

On behalf of the Old Creamery Co-op Steering Committee, Kimberly Longey of Plainfield, MA, writes:

Greetings: Just 6 months ago we gathered in Cummington to launch the effort to transition the Old Creamery (Cummington, MA) into a community owned cooperative. Today we’ve reach a major milestone – we are now welcoming founding member-owners to join the Co-op!

By joining now you will help us keep the momentum building and move us closer to the goal of purchasing the Old Creamery store from Alice and Amy. Your support will ensure that our vibrant local store remains in service to this community for years to come.

Read the rest of this entry »

People and Dirt: The Story

DIRT! The Movie
Free Screening In Cummington, MA
At the Sustainability Library
Monday, March 15th @ 7pm

If you missed the screening of DIRT! The Movie at the Farm Film Fest this weekend, there will be another local opportunity to view this film. DIRT! The Movie, tells the amazing and little known story of the relationship between humans and living dirt. The screening will be at the Sustainability Library, located upstairs at The Old Creamery off of Route 9 in Cummington, MA on Monday, March 15, 2010 at 7pm. This screening is free and open to the public.

Why Dirt?

Dirt feeds us and gives us shelter. Dirt holds and cleans our water. Dirt heals us and makes us beautiful. Dirt regulates the earth’s climate. Dirt is the ultimate natural resource for all life on earth. Yet most humans ignore, abuse, and destroy our most precious living natural resource. Consider the results of such behavior: mass starvation, drought, floods, and global warming, and wars. If we continue on our current path, Dirt might find another use for humans, as compost for future life forms. It doesn’t have to be that way. Another world, in which we treat dirt with the respect it deserves, is possible and we’ll show you how.

DIRT! The Movie offers a vision of a sustainable relationship between Humans and Dirt through profiles of the global visionaries who are determined to repair the damage we’ve done before it’s too late. There are many ways we can preserve the living skin of the earth for future generations. If you care about your food, water, the air you breathe, your health and happiness… it’s time to see DIRT! the Movie, roll up your sleeves for action and Get Dirty.

Clothing Repair Clinic in the Hilltowns. Reduce your clothing miles!

Clothing Repair Clinic in Cummington
Sunday, February 7th from 1-6pm

Repairing our clothing is a big part of reducing fabric waste!

According to the EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year, representing about 4% of the municipal solid waste – and this figure is rapidly growing!

The Bagshare Project is hosting their very first Clothing Repair Clinic to help offset this percentage of waste, and help local families reclaim and revitalize their wardrobe.

On Sunday, February 7th from 1-6pm, join others and bring yours or your kids pants that need hemming or patching, clothes missing buttons, complex repairs you could use some help with – and mend and socialize! Held at the Village Congregational Church on Main St. in Cummington, MA, this will be the first of a 3 month series of clothing repair clinics in the heart of the hilltowns! (The Old Creamery Chocolate tasting starts at 6:30pm so you can do a dual event!)

Bring your sewing machine if you have one and any items specific to your repair. Otherwise, fabric, thread, sewing machines and supplies will be provided. If your plan is to replace a zipper please email Barbara first.  To RSVP, call Leni at 634-5591 or send her an email. Call or email either one of these ladies, especially if you can help in a teaching capacity.

Read the rest of this entry »

Community Owned Co-operative in the Hilltowns?

Old Creamery Co-op in Cummington? It’s Up To You!


Photo credit: (ccl) pjmorse.

Everyone is invited to a community-wide meeting at the Cummington Community House on Sunday, January 31, 2010, from 3pm-5:30pm to launch the active exploration of turning the Old Creamery into a community owned co-op. Alice Cozzolino and Amy Pulley, current owners of the Old Creamery, will share their vision for the store and reflect on the connection between the values that they have brought to the business and the principles of co-operative ownership. They will explain why they would like the future of the Old Creamery to be in the hands of the local community.

What is a co-op? What are the principles guiding this concept? What are the structures this might take? Jen Caruso, the Old Creamery’s consultant from the Co-op Development Institute, will present answers to these questions and give examples of successful co-ops in our region. There will be a time for questions and input from out attendees. All are invited to continue the conversation during a soup and salad supper after the meeting, compliments of the Old Creamery. Please bring your own place settings. Child care will be provided during the presentations. – Visit the Old Creamery on-line at www.oldcreamerycoop.org.

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