Co-ops Build Relationships
Real people making and sharing real food, drink & more!
One of the most enjoyable parts of Fiddleheads' mission is meeting local entrepreneurs and sharing the fruits of their labors with our members and customers. When you shop at Fiddleheads, you're purchasing real food from real people in our part of the world. No anonymous corporations here, just talented bakers, brewers, farmers, cheesemakers, fisherfolk, soapmakers and more who live and work nearby. Meet a few of our many suppliers:
Lisa Bartlett Argilagos is a culinary school graduate who baked at a Florida resort, Foxwoods and Mystic Market before starting her own custom cake business, You Take the Cake, in New London. Her shop specializes in cakes for all occasions. For us, Lisa keeps our customers supplied with popular muffins and several kinds of brownies. Her moist, delicious carrot muffins fly out of the bakery case. When you're looking for a sweet treat, shop the right side of our case.
Thomas Johnson, better known as Chef Tomm, is culinary arts instructor at New London High School. His ambitious program teaches students about farm-to-table food, starting with a garden just outside the school. FRESH New London cleared the land and built 9 raised beds where students learn to plant, nurture, harvest and then cook and eat vegetables and herbs. Chef Tomm recently challenged his students to create products for sale at farmers' markets and here at Fiddleheads. They developed the recipe for rosemary focaccia, created the green-and-gold Whaler Café packaging, and learned how to cost ingredients and labor. This savory bread is delicious straight from the case, or warm it for a few minutes in the oven to enhance the rosemary and olive oil scent. We've also discovered that it's easy to slice any leftovers, freeze them and reheat in a toaster for a single serving or two.
Cheese & Dairy
Mystic Cheese Company is a collective that applies science and art to craft a unique line of fresh cheeses. The company sources its still-warm milk every day at Graywall Farm, a dairy in Lebanon. Founder Brian Civitello learned traditional cheesemaking in Italy. Jason Sobocinski, sales and marketing manager, knows cheese well from his retail experience owning Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro in New Haven.
The partners designed and built a portable farmstead cheesemaking kitchen in two recycled shipping containers. These mobile "cheese pods," installed at Graywall, yield several fresh cheeses, including their most popular variety, Mystic Melville. Try this soft ripening cheese with bread, chutney, or fruit preserves or add to cooked dishes of mushrooms, vegetables or pasta.
Fiddleheads sources seasonal vegetables from half a dozen family farms in Waterford, Salem, Ledyard and Lebanon. Hunts Brook Farm in Quaker Hill grew all of our lettuce this year, from spring through fall. Customers also enjoy their tomatoes, kale, Asian greens, eggplant, sweet peppers, summer squash, herbs and more. This month, while still delivering lettuce and kale, Rob and Teresa Schacht also provide plump heads of garlic and the biggest leeks we've seen.
Rob, also known as Digger or Digga, uses organic methods to nurture nutrient-dense soil. This creates a balanced soil with the application of natural minerals and beneficial microorganisms. Feed the soil, feed the plants.
Seawell Seafood Market, a family-owned store in Pawcatuck, supplies us with Black Pearl salmon, sustainably raised Atlantic salmon from northern Scotland, where the cold North Sea meets the Atlantic. Certified ISO 14001 management assures this salmon is grown under carefully monitored conditions, from egg to harvest. The flavor is clean, with buttery fat. It's the best salmon we've ever tasted, and needs only the simplest preparation. We're delighted to be able to offer a fish that meets the highest environmental management standards and practices. We can also order local dayboat scallops, local oysters and other fish for our customers.
Einkorn is an ancient wheat that is a boon for anyone with gluten sensitivity. Unchanged for thousands of years, this grain originated in the Middle East and now grows in Italy. Never hybridized, Einkorn has 40% more protein and 15% less starch than typical wheat flour.
The local connection? Carla and Rodolfo Bartolucci founded Jovial Foods to bring this uncommon flour to the U.S. – with headquarters in North Stonington! They founded the company after a long search for good, organic alternatives for a daughter with a serious gluten sensitivity. Einkorn was a surprise, one they decided they had to share with other families. Fiddleheads offers Jovial gluten-free pastas, flour, cookies, crackers and wheat berries.
Tired of too-floral, itty-bitty bars of soap? T. Gates Councilor and Maurice "Punk" Beebe of Mystic decided to make their own – big bars that wouldn't melt after a couple of showers, in scents that appeal to guys, as well as to women. That proved easier said than done, but they persevered, experimented, tweaking formulas, making batch after batch, improving each time. They commissioned one-of-a-kind molds that make each large bar (almost ¾ of a pound) look like rough-hewn stone. After developing The Rebel (leather, orange, clove and bay rum scents) and The Mechanic (peppermint, tea tree and basil), Gates and Punk realized they had something other folks would probably like, too. And Burly Stone was born. Find Burly Stone soaps, beard elixirs and balms in our Wellness department.
Beer & Brews
Step by step with the rise of the local food movement came the discovery of local beer. Microbreweries provide a taste experience completely different from mass-produced beer. New London's own Safe Harbor Beer is a case in point. From the easy-drinking 1790 Lager to hoppy Safe Harbor India Pale Ale, Safe Harbor experimented with different recipes before arriving at its signature tastes. Created in New London, brewed at the Cottrell Brewing Co. in Pawcatuck.
Artisan Beverage Cooperative isn't quite in the neighborhood, but this Greenfield, MA-based co-op is a model of a worker-owned cooperative. It's the home of Katalyst Kombucha, our bulk kombucha. Bring your own bottles or buy our refillable ones to satisfy your thirst. Kombucha is a naturally fermented, slightly fizzy drink that starts with tea sweetened with organic cane sugar. Katalyst flavors its teas with Concord grapes from a New York coop, organic blueberries grown in Massachusetts, and/or fresh-pressed organic ginger.