Featured Friends


"Finding your voice"  That's something we've needed help with for a while and the Co-op has found the right person for the job.



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Virginia Carter and the Walpole Mountain View Winery

In 2000, when Virginia Carter looked out the back window of her new home on Barnett Hill in Walpole, she thought, “If this were anywhere else in the world, it would be a vineyard. But this is New Hampshire.”

            Little did this wine pioneer know what the next decade had in store for her.

Raising crops was in Virginia’s heritage. In West Seneca, New York, she grew up in a part of town known as “Gardenville” with a rose nursery next door, a perennials nursery across the road, and truck farms all around. “I’ve always been growing things,” she says. So she had to see what her windy hill might yield.

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Judy Lidie and Grace & Miss Mouse Soaps

“Most people don’t realize that the bars we buy on store shelves aren’t soap,” says Judy Lidie. “They’re detergents – synthetic compounds designed to get oil and grease out. It’s like dish detergent. That’s why what we buy are called ‘bath bars’ or ‘body bars’. The makers can’t say that they’re soap.”


But Judy can. She crafts her hand-made soaps one small batch at a time with all the right ingredients – essence of lemon and tangerine, almond oils, blackberry, and even chocolate.


True soap doesn’t contain surfactants and other chemicals that detergents do but is a blend of an alkaline – usually lye – and an acid in the form of an oil. Judy uses olive, coconut, and palm, among others, “but you can use any kind of plant oil or animal fat,” she says. “Lard is actually one of the best soaps. But if you tell people that they’re washing with lard, they go, ‘yuck’.”


So, when she wants to reach beyond oils, Judy foregoes fats in favor of a gentler animal product. “I make a sheep’s milk soap using milk from the Vermont Shepherd,” she explains. After it debuted, “I got two calls in a week from cheese shops in New York City wanting to carry my soap” after seeing it at the Vermont Shepherd shop. “So I have two accounts in New York City,” she says with pride.

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Fiber Tools and Art:  Co-op members Tom and Diane Golding make precision tools for weavers, knitters.

Text and photos by MariLou Blaine


The Goldings of Saxtons River are pure gold in the world of fiber arts.  Their craftsmanship of  fiber tools is unique, innovative, precision-designed, well-machined, expertly performing and breathtakingly  beautiful.


Tom Golding learned woodworking when in 1965, at age 17, he entered the Navy civil service and apprenticed as a boat builder for three years at the Naval shipyard in San Francisco.

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