The entrance to the Luce Farm in Stockbridge. (Courtesy photo)

Farms already exploring legal cannabidiol products

While not an herbal medicine cure-all, cannabidiol (CBD)-infused hemp honey is said to have the same healing ingredients found in marijuana, though without the mind-altering, munchy-craving effects. Many people nowadays use CBD-infused hemp honey to treat anxiety, nausea, arthritis and a variety of other chronic ailments, claiming amazing results and health benefits. “I firmly believe in plant medicine,” said Joe Pimentel, co-owner of Luce Farm in Stockbridge, who said he takes hemp honey for occasional pain relief and “can feel the effects within minutes.”
“I don’t use it daily. I use it if I’m sore,” he said. About two years ago, Pimentel and his wife, Rebecca, started growing hemp for extracting CBD oil on their 206-acre farm as a sustainable farming model.

Sarah Angelillo, of Northfield, works out recently on an elliptical machine at the new Planet Fitness facility in the Berlin Mall.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo

Planet Fitness adds new anchor to the Berlin Mall

BERLIN — New Hampshire-based Planet Fitness — home of the “Judgement Free Zone” — celebrated the grand opening of a new location at the Berlin Mall. On Jan. 22, the company hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 282 Berlin Mall Road fitness center, with a $2,000 check donation to the Washington County Youth Service Bureau and Boys & Girls Club. The mall location will occupy 15,000 square feet of newly renovated space, located at the mall’s main entrance. The space was formerly occupied by Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts before it relocated to West Lebanon, New Hampshire, several years ago.


‘Play Big’ by female coach a good call

“Play Big: Lessons in Being Limitless from the First Woman to Coach in the NFL” by Dr. Jen Welter with Stephanie Krikorian, 2017, Seal Press, $26, 266 pages. That was the lousiest call, ever. Obviously, the ref wasn’t paying attention. He was looking the other way, he dropped the flag by accident, he must be wearing a blindfold. The ref was wrong, but in the new book “Play Big” by Dr. Jen Welter (with Stephanie Krikorian), the game is right.

Employers must help workers with emotional issues

The Associated Press
NEW YORK — An employee is severely depressed and unable to complete a task. Or has mood swings and outbursts, unnerving colleagues and disrupting the workplace. These are some of the hardest situations small business owners and managers can face. John Crossman has had employees at his commercial real estate company whose personal problems made it hard for them get work done. He’s sympathetic, because he’s struggled with depression and sought counseling in the past.

What should you do with your tax refund?

You may not get much of a thrill from filing your taxes, but the process becomes much more enjoyable if you’re expecting a refund. So, if one is headed your way, what should you do with the money? The answer depends somewhat on the size of the refund. For the 2017 tax year, the average refund was about $2,760 — not a fortune, but big enough to make an impact in your life. Suppose, for example, that you invested this amount in a tax-deferred vehicle such as a traditional IRA, and then did not add another penny to it for 30 years.

Workers harvest wine grapes at the Shelburne Vineyard in Shelburne. Photos courtesy of the Shelburne Winery

Fledgling wine grape industry looks to protect Vermont vines

From late fall to early spring is the season of wrath for Vermont’s small but lucrative wine grape industry. Due to the state’s colder climate, the growing season lasts around 150 days. It begins around the middle of May, and by Oct. 1, most grapes are off the vine being processed. “You need to get grapes off the vine because the frost is almost like a light switch,” said Terence Bradshaw, assistant professor and tree, fruit and viticulture specialist for the University of Vermont’s Fruit Program.

Ryan Christiansen, president and head distiller of Caledonia Spirits in Hardwick, pulls Tom Cat Gin out of an American oak barrel. 
Photos courtesy of Caledonia Spirits

Venture fund FreshTracks supports Vermont entrepreneurs

Thanks to a substantial investment by FreshTracks Capital, a Shelburne-based venture capital fund, Caledonia Spirits of Hardwick, a distillery which sells Barr Hill Gin, Tom Cat Gin and Barr Hill Vodka, has the money needed to carry out its national marketing plan. SunCommon, a solar energy company based in Waterbury, used its FreshTracks investment money to expand from providing solar systems to private home owners, to offering residential, commercial and community systems, according to company Chief Financial Officer Chach Curtis. “There’s nothing more rewarding to me than when we can invest in an entrepreneurial company that makes a great Vermont product and to be able to help that company grow in a way that also positively impacts Vermont’s economy,” said Cairn Cross, one of the founders of FreshTracks Capital. FreshTracks is a seed and early-stage venture capital firm focused on financing businesses in Vermont and surrounding regions. The firm was founded in 2000 by Cross and Charlie Kireker.


‘Ogilvy’ helps you spend ad dollars well

 It’s a brand-new year. So where will your ad dollars go? The tried-and-true has worked for you; is that where you’ll stay? Will you experiment, based on the advice of an ad rep or two? Or will you do your own research, read “Ogilvy on Advertising in the Digital Age,” by Miles Young, and see what clicks into place?

One of the Airbus EC135 helicopters used by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team to move emergency patients to other hospitals. Dartmouth-Hitchcock will work with UVM Medical Center to offer a similar service to a broader area.

Hospitals get ‘air ambulance’ accord off the ground

BURLINGTON — Dr. Ryan Clouser tells the story of a recent heart attack victim who needed advance medical treatment that couldn’t be provided by the local hospital. So an ambulance was dispatched to take the patient to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington. The patient survived, but Clouser said because the trip took several hours, it jeopardized the patient’s chances for recovery. “That is why helicopter transport is really helpful,” said Clouser, a medical officer for the UVM Transport System. Cases like the one cited by Clouser are the reason Vermont’s largest hospital teamed up with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to provide air transport for critically ill patients in Vermont and northern New York.

Katie Churchill, of Proctor, owner of Juice Amour, prepares a smoothie at her new shop in Rutland in early December. Beside here is employee Samantha Mestyan, working on preparing a salad.

Owner amazed at response to new Rutland juice bar

RUTLAND — With all the interest in natural and organic diets, it is no wonder Juice Amour on Center Street in Rutland has suddenly become so popular. “It has been an amazing response,” said co-owner Katie Churchill, whose shop opened on Dec. 2. “People have been supportive and excited and enthusiastic. People are learning about natural products.”
She believes that is why things have gone so well for the juice bar.