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Voice of The Mountains
 

AHHH...SPRING!

Eggs in the Snow

The early pops of color are a welcome respite from the wintry grays and browns in view from across our meadow. You may suppose the brightest shades belong to red-breasted robins or sunny yellow daffodils, but our children know better. Come Easter morning, vibrant plastic eggs dot every yard, lending a cheerful touch to crusty, dirty patches of leftover snow.

Our mission each year is to hide the eggs well...but not too well. Older kids scour the obvious hiding places and nudge the youngest ones in the right direction so they don’t return empty-handed with only soggy mittens and in tears.

Without fail, a few eggs remain overlooked: in the crevices of a stone wall, up in the crook of an apple tree, behind a half-frozen coil of the garden hose that somehow never got put away. This leads to mid-summer surprises: a telltale squeal of delight when a forgotten egg is recovered, a sharp crack beneath the lawn mower and subsequent spray of jolly plastic confetti across the lawn.

One egg had remained hidden for years, its color bleached away completely. This inspired us to remember to always stash a few non-perishable treasures in a couple of eggs every year, hiding them especially well to create a marvelous time-capsule experience for a lucky child in years to come. After all, the best things are worth waiting for!

Cabot

Cabot Orton for The Orton Family



 

In the age before computers...

Wish Book

...diverted our attention from the printed word, a giant brass tub sat next to our living room sofa filled with magazines and catalogs. At the bottom of the pile were vintage copies of The Old Farmer's Almanac and The Reader's Digest; in the middle were aging Time and Gourmet magazines. Only the top remained current with eye-catching covers reflecting the changing seasons, including some of our own catalogs from The Vermont Country Store.

By October, one type of catalog took center stage and stayed there through December: the Christmas Wish Book. Roughly the size of telephone directories, these kings of catalogs were synonymous with Christmas as the ultimate guide for choosing gifts.

As kids, we browsed frequently and committed entire sections to memory. Perhaps, like us and many of the folks at The Vermont Country Store, you pined for one or more of these memory-tugging gifts: Barbie Dreamhouse, Millennium Falcon, Hot Wheels, Lincoln Logs, Johnny Toymaker, Lionel Trains, Erector Set, Easy-Bake Oven, Betsy Wetsy, metal roller skates, or a Flying Arrow sled.

Often our wishes remained unfulfilled, as our lists grew to outlandish lengths, but we never felt deprived. Quite the contrary! What we remember longer than any gift is the magic of anticipation and the spirit of giving. As adults, we relish the thrill of keeping a secret once we find the perfect gift for someone we love, for nothing beats the look of surprise and delight when we make that special someone's wish come true.



 

As Halloween draws near...

Eliot, Leo, Julie and Ella Orton

...and our kids start dreaming up magical costume ideas, my mind goes back to the Halloweens I spent crafting my own clever disguises—and a kaleidoscope of memories flood to mind:
- Wearing long underwear beneath our costumes to ward off the cool, often freezing, October temperatures in Vermont
- A carpet of leaves crunching underfoot as we ran from house to house
- Plastic pumpkins overflowing with sweet delights as we repeated those wonderful words, "Trick or Treat," at every doorstep
- The creative costumes our mom made for us: Gardner went as a box of Crayons, Cabot as Darth Vader, and I fooled everyone as a bag of Gold Medal flour
- Our town hall's annual Halloween celebration with apple dunking, a haunted house, and sticky, sweet popcorn balls that stuck to everything

Over the last few years, as my children have grown older and have fallen under Halloween's magic spell, we have started to create our own Halloween traditions:
- Carving silly faces into pumpkins
- Watching Leo take Ella by the hand and sweetly walk her to the next house, explaining all the rules
- Listening for "Thank you!" as Leo and Ella add candy to their own orange plastic pumpkins

Our two little dragons are too cute for words! And as we make new Halloween memories, I take a moment to relish the feeling of being ?a kid again through their eyes.



 

How Big Is Your Leaf Pile?

Leaf Pile

Vermont is famous for its fall colors, with people flocking from all over the world to catch a glimpse of brightly colored maples glowing in the autumn sun.

Not long after the colors have faded, the leaves drop to the ground, completing the final step of a cycle that continues year after year. For many Vermonters, fall is our favorite time of year. But this favored season doesn't come without a small price. Before the winter snow flies, all of the leaves collecting on our lawns and backyards must be raked up. And, for us youngsters, helping out with this seemingly insurmountable task was not an option—it was expected. Everyone in the family worked together to get the job done.

However, there was a blessing hidden in all the hard work we put in. As we raked and raked, our smiles grew at the sight of the slowly growing mountain of leaves that would soon become the landing pad for our daredevil antics. One by one, my brothers and I would run and jump as high and as far as we could, landing in the pile of soft leaves—which cushioned our fall as we laughed like only kids can. This fitting reward for our hard work always made the daunting task seem like child's play, and, to this day, we continue the tradition with our own families by joining together to rake up the fall leaves. And we all laugh with joy as our kids discover the same delight in piling leaves up and jumping in.



 

Locally Grown. A Way of Life In Vermont

Tomatoes

Have you ever been to a Farmer's Market? With the abundance of small family farms here in Vermont, we are lucky enough to have hundreds of year-round markets to choose from.

One of our favorites is Londonderry's West River Farmer's Market. Farmers and vendors arrive early every Saturday with bushels of fresh-picked organic and locally grown produce, and some of the best meats, baked goods, artisan cheese, and arts and crafts around. Soon the market is buzzing with activity, turning it into one of the best social events of the summer.

Knowing who actually grew our food, where it was grown, and what it was grown with—or more importantly without—is increasingly important to us. And, there's nothing like the taste of a tomato or zucchini that was picked the morning and put on the table for dinner. It's as nourishing for the spirit as it is the body.

Here in Vermont, locally grown is a way of life, and we celebrate our working landscape and small family farms, so much so, that Vermont was recently ranked #1 in the country for local food production and consumption.

Come visit us this summer and experience this remarkable aspect of life in Vermont!

-Eliot Orton, for the Orton Family



 

People Might Be Complicated, But Good Service and Good Products Aren't

Apron

What makes customers do business with a company time and time again? For us, the list is simple and short: good products, good value, and good service. Our grandfather used to say that good merchandise costs more than lesser quality stuff because it's simply worth more. It's this philosophy that drives us to offer products that represent real value and gives us the confidence to stand behind everything we sell. And, if you don't agree with us, you're always welcome to send your merchandise back for exchange or refund—with no questions asked.

Good service is complicated, only because what we're talking about here is not goods or currency, but about people—and people are complicated creatures. Every day we greet our customers with pleasant, caring, and helpful customer service, whether things are going right or wrong, and will happily go the extra mile to fix a mistake or solve a problem.

At The Vermont Country Store, our commitment to service and products is carved in stone with our Guaranteed Forever promise and Customer Bill of Rights, which is why, we believe, satisfied customers have returned to us, time and time again, since 1946.

-Eliot Orton, For The Orton Family



 

Summer Days, Summer Nights

Lyman Orton, Proprietor

Living in a place with four distinct seasons allows me to truly appreciate the unique qualities of each one. The beautiful season of summer is on the horizon, and with its long, hot days come its crisp, rewarding nights. When I think of summer evenings in Vermont, I am reminded of the cool breezes that follow a brightly setting sun, the soothing sounds of crickets and peepers as they awaken for the night, and good meals with cool drinks shared with friends and family.

Whether it is after a pleasurable afternoon of picnicking or a day of working in the hot sun, I find myself delighting in the thoughts of a relaxing evening, watching twinkling stars appear in what was earlier a blistering, pitiless sky. And when dusk does arrive and nightfall begins to set in, I know that I can look forward to the cool, calm feel of a Vermont summer's night. If you find yourself in Vermont this summer, please visit us in Weston, or Rockingham. We look forward to seeing you.

-Lyman Orton, Proprietor



 

Summer 2013 | The Happy Storekeeper of the Green Mountains

The following is an excerpt from The Saturday Evening Post from March 15th, 1952 which featured a story about the humble beginnings of The Vermont Country Store.

Saturday Evening Post Cover Art

SOME bright morning the mailman may hand you an unusual and surprising kind of mail-order catalogue. You may well mistake it for a New England Almanac of 1888. Its archaic title reads LIST OF PRUDENT GIFTS AND FAMILY PROVENDER, and it comes from the VILLAGE OF WESTON in THE REPUBLIC OF VERMONT.

Printed on faded newsprint and embellished with 1890 woodcuts, this old-fashioned pamphlet advertises everything from Vermont Indian pudding and Bearspaw popcorn to a convertible rubber-tired buggy. And salted in between the salable items you'll find bits of poetry, an editorial on Getting Up Early in the Morning, or a fervent plea for cleaner mountain brooks.

It also contains, not in the lines of type, but between them, the unwritten story of Vrest Orton and The Vermont Country Store, a modern version of the old fairy tale of dreams come true and the fulfillment of one man's quest for the Bluebird of security, independence, and happiness.

A winter scene outside The Vermont Country Store in Weston, VT

The village of Weston stands on a mountaintop in Southern Vermont not far from Manchester. Entering its single street, lined with neat white New England houses, is to go back 150 years. It is like walking into a living Currier and Ives print.

Just before you reach the tree-shaded circle of the village green, you come to The Vermont Country Store. It must be seen to be fully appreciated; it also must be smelled and touched. Painted buttermilk red, it is a two-and-one-half story building with white wooden columns rising to the roof.

The front porch is cluttered with objects calculated to arouse anyone's curiosity. An 1877 tombstone stands in one corner; there are barrels of various sizes, and baskets, and an old coffee grinder; and on the wall are signs and posters, some going back to the Civil War time and some of yesterday's auction. Here is a woman's brown dress, circa 1880, on a wire frame; a wall spice box; a pair of snowshoes; and, placed across two barrels, is a three-holer from a Vermont privy. In front of the double steps are heavy, log horse-hitching rails, two posts supporting huge lanterns, and, of course, the ubiquitous sign: VERMONT MAPLE SUGAR.

Vrest hands out samples of Vermont Cheddar to patrons

Inside you can reach into the cracker barrel and munch crackers that have been made in the same New England way since 1828. Or you may sample Vermont cheese, eat motto hearts, or chew licorice root. Over all drifts a potpourri of enticing odors: balsam soap, tobacco smoke, freshly ground coffee, and dried codfish that hang from the hand-hewn rafters. Perhaps you will just want to sit around the vast iron stove, play checkers, and talk about what you used to do when young. If business isn't too rushing, Proprietor Vrest Orton, in his familiar red shirt, may take you on for a game. If so, watch out. He knows his checkers, like any true Vermonter. All of this is both a memory and a reality from the past.

It is fitting that this country store should have sprung from the original Vermont Country Store owned by Vrest Orton's father many years before in Calais, another village in the mountains. But between the two lay a thirty-five-year pilgrimage, during which Vrest was seeking a way of life that would be satisfactory. (download the full story)


 

Spring 2013 | Cookie Button Love From Across The Pond

One of the greatest joys of being a storekeeper is receiving letters from customers thanking The Vermont Country Store for rekindling childhood memories with a time-honored product, forgotten candy, or cherished fragrance. These connections warm my heart, as they are at the core of what we endeavor to accomplish each day in our stores, our catalog, and online.

Cookie Buttons

Recently, an email sent from a young gentleman named Jack reminded me how something as small as one of our Orton Bros. Cookie Buttons has the power to create sweet, life-long memories and connect with the kid in all of us. At just 9 years old, Jack, who lives in England, has visited Vermont every year since he was 5 months old. Here is an excerpt from his note, sharing highlights from a recent visit:

"I was there in the New Year and visited The Vermont Country Store again. It is my favourite shop in the world because it is amazing. This year I bought some Zesty Lemon Cookie Buttons, and they are the best cookies ever. They are divine. I rationed myself to 5 a night and now they are gone, so I am going to have to wait a long time to taste them again. I miss them already."

My brothers and I are honored that our cookie buttons rate as Jack's top snack, and we look forward to his next visit and hope we can meet in the store, share a cookie button (or 2 or 3), and make another happy memory.

-ELIOT ORTON FOR THE ORTON FAMILY

The Orton Family,
Proprietors of The Vermont Country Store



 

Winter 2012 | With a Handshake and a Smile

With election season upon us, and all the tomfoolery that comes with it, I can't help but reflect on how differently we do politics here in Vermont.

The way we get things done in Vermont-whether it's the business of governing our state or working to get a road paved-relies on building relationships that are based in trust and on the strength of our word. Just like my grandfather wrote in his essay (below) back in 1948.

Vrest Letter

For a Vermonter, a handshake and a smile go a long way. It's a sacred bond and commitment to do what's right, and it's how we continue to approach our business today.

HOW TO GET THINGS DONE IN VERMONT

by Vrest Orton

A year or so after I had moved to Weston in 1935 to help start the Weston revival, there wasn't a single hard surface road in the village. So one day when I had to go to Montpelier to see someone at the Vt. Historical Society, one of the selectmen here at Weston asked if I would see the Commisioner of Highways about getting a hard-surface road into the town. When I got to Montpelier, I stepped up to the front desk at the Hotel Pavilion to register for that night. Then I said to the clerk, "Can you tell me where the office for the Commissioner of Highways is?" The clerk said "What do you want to see him for?" "I want to see him about getting a hard-surface road into my town, Weston." I said, a little put out by his interfering air. "You don't want to see him." he said. "You want to see the Governor," the clerk informed me. I was nonplusssed for a moment. Then I added "And where is the Governor's office?" "You don't want to go to his office." said the clerk. "He's sitting right over there in the lobby." I was nonplussed because in New York and other big states you just don't walk up to the governor and ask for something. But in Vermont you do. We had a very nice conversation and the next year we got a hard-surface road to Weston.

Eliot Orton for the Orton Family,
Proprietor of The Vermont Country Store



 

Fall 2012 | Common Crackers

Customers often ask us, "What's the longest-running product you sell?" Our answer: The Vermont Common Cracker.

The earliest photos of our Weston store feature our grandfather Vrest Orton and a few village locals gathered around an oak barrel of these same crackers. First produced in 1828 by the Cross brothers of Montpelier, Common Crackers were once a staple on every farm and rural homestead, used in cooking and baking, to thicken chowders and stews, or most simply, eaten as a farm supper in a bowl of milk with a hunk of cheddar cheese.

Common Crackers

In 1948 Vermont Life magazine proclaimed: "In a changing and unstable world, these crackers are still made according to the original recipe and in the same shape. It is perhaps these little touches of memory, reinforced by the fact that one can still satisfy one's taste with precisely the same cracker that tickled the taste buds in one's youth, that account for the popularity of this sound Vermont product."

In 1979 Vrest, along with our father Lyman, saved the Common Cracker from extinction when they bought the original equipment from the defunct Cross Cracker business and started baking once again. Gourmands and cooks everywhere were delighted, including Julia Child, who declared the crackers essential to every kitchen for proper breading and stuffing.

Today we still produce Common Crackers using the original iron cracker machine, now well over 100 years old and running stronger than ever. Try a few sometime-plain with a steaming bowl of soup, or split open, buttered and broiled to a delectable crispness. We like to think these little crackers represent continuity in an era of uncertainty.

As the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

-Cabot Orton for the Orton Family,
Proprietor of The Vermont Country Store



 

Summer 2012 | Inspiration

Our grandfather and founder Vrest Orton had a vision that would change his life. During the Second World War, Vrest worked in Washington, writing copy for a series of GI field manuals. In his office hung a Chase & Sanborn coffee advertisement featuring a group of old-timers seated around a pot-bellied stove, a storekeeper in the background, and a sleeping dog underfoot.

Voice of the Mountains

This image inspired Vrest to re-create the iconic rural country store of 19th-century America. With the printing press in his garage he produced a humble catalog, introducing Vermont handicrafts and home essentials to folks across the nation who favored the convenience of shopping by mail. "The Voice of the Mountains" extolled the virtues of quality merchandise while espousing New England values of frugality, self-reliance, and common sense.

Years later our father, Lyman Orton, had a vision of his own in the guise of a familiar dream. He found himself transported back to college at Middlebury, standing beneath the entrance to Mead Chapel. In the stone above was engraved, "The Strength of The Hills Is In the People." Lyman woke up, jotted the phrase down on paper, and later added it to the catalog masthead.

Twenty-five years later Lyman happened to walk by Mead Chapel and stopped in astonishment. There stood the entrance, precisely as in his dream, and above it a proverb chiseled in stone: "The Strength of The Hills Is His Also." Inspiration may spring from unlikely origins; ideas germinate marvelously, yet wither fruitlessly without hard work. Always simple, never easy!

Sixty-six years and countless catalogs later, we take this to heart. The Voice of the Mountains lives on: the strength of our business is without question in its people. Consider us inspired.

Cabot Orton for the Orton Family,
Proprietors of The Vermont Country Store



 

Winter 2011 | Leo Orton's First Snowstorm

Leo Orton

Do you remember your first snowstorm? Last January 3rd, 2010, we were in Burlington, Vermont, when a storm dumped over 33 inches of snow, which was an all-time record for one storm. The previous record in Burlington was a Christmas snowstorm in 1969, just after our brother Cabot was born, which left close to 30 inches over a three-day period. So in their first year of life Leo, at 11 months, and his uncle Cabot, at 1 month, both experienced record-breaking snow. Perhaps it is just a coincidence that Leo is almost as mischievous as his uncle.

Eliot Orton for the Orton Family,
Proprietor of The Vermont Country Store



 

Winter 2011 | Old-Fashioned, Traditional Remedies Can Still Cure What Ails You

Did you know your home is full of common foods that can serve as powerful remedies to various health complaints? Folk medicine may seem quaint, but generations ago people were forced to make do with easily available and time-tested solutions to address problems that nowadays might send us running to a doctor's office. Remedies like Cola syrup were used for an upset stomach or vomiting, and combined with baking soda to provide electrolyte replenishment after sickness. Elderberry tea was used to soothe coughs and bronchial conditions and was thought to help ward off oncoming viruses, like the flu. No one suggests a persistent sore throat or high fever doesn't merit professional attention; however, there are simple concoctions in your kitchen cabinet that are potent agents for healing. For instance, fresh ginger root tea is extremely effective for nausea. Cayenne pepper and lemon juice can work wonders for sinus congestion. Clove oil relieves painful mouth ulcers and canker sores. Slippery elm can soothe a dry cough. Cider vinegar with maple syrup is a wonderful pick-me-up drink for quick energy. Not everything can be fixed with classic remedies, but some of them work well and are worth a try. If not, there's always the doctor. Our catalogue, website, and stores are jam-packed with products to help you stay happy and healthy during the winter months. We take pride in finding long-lost solutions to your "old-fashioned" problems and look far and wide for things that are simple, natural, and really work. Do you or any members of your family use traditional remedies that work to solve a health problem? If so, please share them with me, Gardner Orton, by writing, calling, or emailing. You may just be able to help someone else, and give new life to a good old idea.

Gardner Orton,
Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle Counselor



 

Winter 2011 | Winter Breakfast

There are far too many mornings when I am pressed for time and need to eat a quick breakfast. It must be healthy and filling. Brown rice, Empire apples, and hard-boiled eggs have been my power combination for a long time. But these are hardly comfort foods and weekend mornings merit the traditional splendor of a New England Winter Breakfast. Pancakes top the list. The best mix is a blend of buckwheat, buttermilk, and whole grain wheat. It goes without saying that real butter and genuine Vermont Maple Syrup are imperative to enjoy pancakes properly. Bacon, like fresh-ground coffee, is almost more appealing for how it smells when being prepared than for how it tastes, the key word being "almost." The all-natural, Cob-Smoked Maple variety from New Hampshire is possibly the finest bacon in the land. In place of plain old English muffins I enjoy authentic English Crumpets. These are lighter and sweeter in flavor than their generic supermarket counterparts. Topped with Swedish Lingonberry Jam they are an absolute delicacy and put toast to shame. As for coffee, I like it strong and have recently come to love Prodomo from the venerable Munich roaster Dallmayr. A special process eliminates the bitterness and acidity of heavy Italian or French roasts. I use an old steel percolator, which yields the most potent brew, yet this German roast remains beautifully mellow. Needless to say I go small on lunch!

Cabot Orton,
Proprietor of The Vermont Country Store



 

Summer 2011 | Summer Picnics with Mildred

Our grandmother Mildred was a genuine picnic enthusiast. For summer drives along unpaved roads, she would often plan to stop by a field for lunch. Out came the plaid blanket and wicker basket. For lunch: chicken sandwiches with lettuce and butter on home-baked wheat bread, a slab of Vermont cheddar cheese, common crackers, pickled fiddleheads, oatmeal cookies, and a thermos of Wilcox's milk. We still have Mildred's picnic basket and thermos, keepsakes of a happy time when our father and uncle were boys, still in use by the time we brothers were old enough to picnic and our grandparents made a two-hour drive to Rutland seem as exotic and perilous as a safari to Rangoon. The highlight was always wholesome food in the tall grass of a Vermont hay meadow, somewhere along Route 100, on a July afternoon. This was simple and good and, thinking back, few things brought more contentment than being together under clear summer skies, with a grateful family, and being well fed.

Cabot Orton,
Proprietor of The Vermont Country Store



 

Summer 2011 | Summer Farmers' Markets

One of our favorite things each summer is visiting local farmers' markets here in Southern Vermont. With our abundance of small family farms comes a multitude of markets to choose from. They feature the very best, organic, locally-grown produce, and are an ideal place to greet old neighbors and new people. We especially like meeting the farmers who grow our food. It's a rare thing these days to connect with what we eat, beyond grabbing it off the grocery store shelf. Knowing who actually grew our food, where it was grown, and what it was grown with, or more appropriately without, is increasingly important to us. What most folks, including many Vermonters, don't know is that Vermont leads the United States in the number of farmers' markets per capita. More than any other state, Vermont has the largest percentage of its farms certified organic, the greatest proportion of its total farm acreage certified organic, and the highest ratio of its local dollars spent on local foods. Local food is a way of life here. Do you happen to live near a farmers' market? They're a great way to support your local economy, and a rare opportunity to meet the people who grow what you eat. Come visit us this summer and enjoy this remarkable aspect of life in Vermont!

Cabot Orton,
Proprietor of The Vermont Country Store



 

Summer 2011 | The Traditionalists

Last year, I decided that the brand-new fancy diesel pickup truck parked in my driveway would be of better use to someone who needed it for more than weekend dump runs and tooting around town. So, I sold it and found a more suitable mate, a classic 1975 Ford F250 Ranger whom I quickly named "Sancho." It was just like the truck our Dad had when we were kids, and memories of riding in it with my brothers came flooding in. Immediately my son Leo, who is now 2, was in love with Sancho. He never seemed to take to that new truck, but somehow a 35-year-old truck well preserved with bright factory orange paint, a big bench seat, the smell of age worn deep into the carpet, and big heavy slamming doors became Leo's obsession. Some days I had to hide it behind the barn so Julie could leave the house with Leo. He couldn't have cared less for the latest and greatest; rather, we were both drawn to the character and connection we felt in something that had become forgotten. And now it has become clear to me that I am exactly like many of you. I appreciate things from a simpler time, things that do the job they were intended to do, things that make me feel more connected to them, and things that are practical and hard to find. My grandfather passed this trait onto his sons, my father passed it onto his, and now I have planted the seed in my son Leo, who I hope one day will also become a purveyor of things more important than the latest and greatest.

Eliot Orton,
Proprietor of The Vermont Country Store



 

Spring 2011 | A Letter from Our Family

Spring is by far our favorite time of year. It's a time of renewal and rebirth, and the perfect time to clean out from a long winter spent piling things on. From heavy clothing and bedding to heavy meals and desserts, winter can leave us feeling bogged down and in need of a fresh start. Spring is Nature's intended time of cleansing. It's also the time when most of us do our spring cleaning. We dust, vacuum, sweep, and mop, but how many of us actually take the time to clean and scrub out our insides as well? Spring is not just the perfect time to clean and organize our lives, it's also the ideal time for internal cleansing, ridding our bodies of the gunk collected over a winter filled with excess, holidays, stress, and junk foods, which accumulate in our systems and slow us down.We've already been working hard this year to find and bring to you some of the most practical, hard-to-find solutions to your spring-cleaning projects. Whether it's a product to make your chores easier, some new bedding to add a fresh look to your bedroom, or some herbal remedies to aid in your spring cleansing, we stand by our mission of bringing you the most practical, time-tested solutions for all of life's little chores.

Eliot, Lyman, Cabot, & Gardner Orton,
Proprietos of The Vermont Country Store

Previous Entries

In the age before computers...

...diverted our attention from the printed word, a giant brass tub sat next to our living room sofa filled with magazines and catalogs.

As Halloween draws near...

...and our kids start dreaming up magical costume ideas, my mind goes back to the Halloweens I spent crafting my own clever disguises—and a kaleidoscope of memories flood to mind.

How Big Is Your Leaf Pile?

Vermont is famous for its fall colors, with people flocking from all over the world to catch a glimpse of brightly colored maples glowing in the autumn sun.

Locally Grown. A Way of Life In Vermont

Have you ever been to a Farmer's Market? With the abundance of small family farms here in Vermont, we are lucky enough to have hundreds of year-round markets to choose from.

People Might Be Complicated, But Good Service and Good Products Aren't

What makes customers do business with a company time and time again?

Summer Days, Summer Nights

Living in a place with four distinct seasons allows me to truly appreciate the unique qualities of each one.

Summer 2013 | The Happy Storekeeper of the Green Mountains

Some bright morning the mailman may hand you and unusual and surprising kind of mail-order catalog.

Spring 2013 | Cookie Button Love From Across The Pond

One of the greatest joys of being a storekeeper is receiving letters from customers thanking The Vermont Country Store for rekindling childhood memories with a time-honored product, forgotten candy, or cherished fragrance.

Winter 2012 | With a Handshake and a Smile

With election season upon us, and all the tomfoolery that comes with it, I can't help but reflect on how differently we do politics here in Vermont.

Fall 2012 | Common Crackers

Customers often ask us, "What's the longest-running product you sell?" Our answer: The Vermont Common Cracker.

Summer 2012 | Inspiration

Our grandfather and founder Vrest Orton had a vision that would change his life. During the Second World War, Vrest worked in Washington, writing copy for a series of GI field manuals.

Winter 2011 | Leo Orton's First Snowstorm

Do you remember your first snowstorm? Last January 3rd, 2010, we were in Burlington, Vermont, when a storm dumped over 33 inches of snow, which was an all-time record for one storm.

Winter 2011 | Old-Fashioned, Traditional Remedies Can Still Cure What Ails You

Did you know your home is full of common foods that can serve as powerful remedies to various health complaints? Folk medicine may seem quaint, but generations ago people were forced to make do with easily available and time-tested solutions to address problems that nowadays might send us running to a doctor's office.

Winter 2011 | Winter Breakfast

There are far too many mornings when I am pressed for time and need to eat a quick breakfast.

Summer 2011 | Summer Picnics with Mildred

Our grandmother Mildred was a genuine picnic enthusiast. For summer drives along unpaved roads, she would often plan to stop by a field for lunch.

Summer 2011 | Summer Farmers' Markets

One of our favorite things each summer is visiting local farmers' markets here in Southern Vermont.

Summer 2011 | The Traditionalists

Last year, I decided that the brand-new fancy diesel pickup truck parked in my driveway would be of better use to someone who needed it for more than weekend dump runs and tooting around town.

Spring 2011 | A Letter from Our Family

Spring is by far our favorite time of year. It's a time of renewal and rebirth, and the perfect time to clean out from a long winter spent piling things on.