Side Dishes: Greg Melville, Alex's Restaurant, Hunger Mountain Co-op, Michelle Edelbaum, Ben & Jerry's, High Mowing Seeds, Red Hen Baking Company, Vermont Coffee Company
The February issue of the men's mag Best Life features a story by Burlington resident Greg Melville, who is writing a novel about a cross-country trip in his used-oil-powered Mercedes Benz. On the road, Melville filled up at any place that would give him their leavings. When he's cruising around B-town, he gets his grease from Alex's Restaurant: Home of the Vermont Soup Company . Of owner Alex Marko, Melville writes, "He fries up the usual assortment of chicken tenders, fries, and onion rings in two gloriously bubbling vats of soybean oil — and soybean oil is some of the purest, smoothest-burning shit you can get." Beats $4 a gallon.
The co-op and natural-food-store boom isn't exclusive to Chittenden County. Montpelier's Hunger Mountain Co-op  is getting in on the action, too, with a $2.86 million project that will expand the store by 7000 square feet. Improvements will include more space for in-demand products, additional checkout lanes and better lighting. The seven-month construction project is slated to begin in April.
Michelle Edelbaum, who used to write foodie articles for The Burlington Free Press, is the latest staffer to jump ship at the Queen City's Gannett-owned daily. Edelbaum now works for Charlotte-based EatingWell  as the "associate editor of interactive."
Ben & Jerry's  isn't the only Vermont company that's getting in Monsanto's face over their growth hormones and genetically modified seeds. High Mowing Seeds  of Wolcott recently joined a lawsuit in the hopes of preventing deregulation of "Roundup Ready" sugar beets, fearing that pollen from the resulting plants could cross with other beet and chard varieties and contaminate them.
Red Hen Baking Company's  new café in Middlesex is open. It's serving bread and pastries alongside espresso from Vermont Coffee Company , and is offering "a smattering of local cheeses and beers for sale," says owner Randy George.