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PRODUCER OF THE MONTH: The BFC Deli PDF Print E-mail

March 2017
by Jon Megas-Russell

The Brattleboro Food Co-op Deli thrives because of the wonderful people that work behind the scenes in our commissary kitchen and on the front lines. They are artists, they are chefs, they are food lovers and most importantly they are incredible people. As I walked around and asked why the team in the deli and kitchen love working at the Co-op they all kept saying “the people!” To quote one of the team members, “I love my coworkers! They are awesome, friendly, smart and never boring.” Another stated “I love the community aspect of the Co-op and getting to know the people shopping on a first name basis.” It was refreshing to hear that they feel supported by each other, they love the team work, love the recipes and even though they all have different tastes in music they always get along! The team is large, at over 30 people working in this department, and we are fortunate to have each one of them. Beth has been cooking in the Co-op kitchen for over 20 years. Dano has also been serving up food, making sandwiches, and creating smoothies for about 20 as well. Kevin in the deli has been here for 16 years and loves making the Garden Green juice. Ron, who does much of the ordering for the deli, has been here for over ten years and said he loves the smoked chicken wings. Many other members of the team have been here years and years, totaling 500 years of food service. This a talented group! When speaking with our Food Services Manager Dawn, it became clear that she has a lot of pride in her team’s ability to produce so much great food fresh each day. At the Co-op, we do not serve food from a box or a bag and the “from scratch” philosophy is what sets us apart from other delis in the area.

This philosophy has our bakers arriving at 4:30am every morning when they come in to fire up the ovens to bake scones, muffins, and cookies, —some gluten free— and many baked from scratch. As our chefs and cooks arrive they begin crafting the most delicious and freshest food possible for all types of lifestyles and diets. They are constantly rotating through vegan, vegetarian, organic, Non-GMO, and conventional recipes, and use local products whenever possible. They try to balance grains, pastas, greens, and beans, and create dishes that please all sorts of palates. With a juice and smoothie bar, handmade sandwiches, and our expansive grab-and-go section with many local items. Every recipe is unique and many are invented by our team members! Beth’s famous chocolate truffle brownies are a mainstay at the Co-op—they are  some of the most delicious brownies you will ever taste. Dano helped create one our deli favorites: the edamame salad. A past employee brought his pork carnitas to share with us and we liked them so much that we regularly stock them at the Deli and they are now one of our top sellers! Look for Wild Will’s carnitas, perfect with some Mi Tierra tortillas. Folks like Kevin in the sandwich bar come up with on-the-fly specials that aim to please every day. It’s fun to note that signature dishes that helped build the Deli, such as sesame noodles and Korean spinach, are still being offered.

Each week they make stock from scratch so that we have the highest quality soups. In fact, visitors to the Co-op consume over 700 gallons of our soup during the winter months. Whether it be Chris, Scott, Beth or Shirley they are always cooking up delicious and nutritious soup.

 Recently we have acquired a new addition to the team: a smoker for meat and vegetables. This has allowed our chefs and cooks to smoke turkey, pork, chicken, trout and salmon, with aspirations of more menu items. One of the chefs even wants to smoke some mac and cheese; stay tuned! This is a great addition to our Co-op because we can now offer in-house smoked wings, Stonewood Farm smoked turkey breast for sandwiches, smoked fish and more. Look for these delicious offerings every day in our Deli.

As our conversation evolved Dawn mentioned that she is especially proud of her brick oven pizza recipes; the crust is 98% local to Vermont (featuring King Arthur Flour), and many of the sauces on the pizzas are made from scratch in our kitchen. She also loves the pride and artistry that her team takes in creating new pizza specials each day. From  the chicken-bacon-alfredo to the spinach-sundried tomato to the Meatza pizza, we’ve got some stellar offerings baked up every day!

Then there is the legendary Fish Friday. It’s been a regular Friday menu item dating back quite a few years, but now has grown in a big way. When we started Fish Friday, the kitchen only fried up five pounds of fish. Now that Craig has taken on making bread crumbs from scratch using Red Hen Bakery bread and hand breading the wild-caught Pollock, the Deli now fries up over 40 pounds of fish every Friday. Pair it with our hand-cut steak fries, steamed organic greens and homemade tartar sauce and you have an old time classic fish and chips that pleases the taste buds at a great price. Craig loves listening to Stephen Stills and always tries to get it on the kitchen speakers when it’s fish-frying time!

Overall our Deli offers 50+ rotating salad and hot bar items to choose from. Check our Facebook page for daily menus!

Come meet the BFC Chefs and Deli Team for a special Deli Tasting on Friday, March 3rd at 4-6pm and Tuesday, March 21st at 11am-1pm!