Blog :: 10-2013

Wool - Vermonter's Winter Defense

Merino-Sheep-and-lambsI recall a few years ago driving a buyer around who shortly after we got underway, exclaimed "What's going on with this seat?" He was from the south and wasn't familiar with heated seats. After I explained, at the time, what a great option it was, he said " So that's how you Vermonter's survive winter." Heated car seats are one of hundreds of ways that Vermonter's deal with the colder temperatures of winter. One of the best ways to stay warm is to turn to yet another localvore product, wool.

Most people associate dairy and cheese production with the agricultural heritage of Vermont. Yet, the biggest impact on Vermont environmentally and economically was the huge expansion of sheep farming after the Civil War. Eighty percent of Vermont's landscape was cleared to provide grazing and hay for the vast herds of sheep. Woolen Mills were built wherever there was ample water power available. Vermont's wool production provided clothing, blankets and outer wear for a large segment of the country.

Vermont is once again recognized as being a leader in the production of wool and the manufacture of quality wool products. One of the oldest continuous makers of excellent wool products is Johnson Woolen Mills in Johnson, Vermont. Highly recognizable red checkered caps, jackets and even pants are the traditional hunter's garb. Their warmth and durability are the source of legend. Darn Tough socks in Northfield, Vermont are a favorite Vermont product. Available in many styles and weights, the socks fully live up to their name. So fully, that they come with a lifetime warranty that will replace any socks that wear out.

One of the newest front runners of wool clothing is Ibex Outdoor Clothing. They have taken a proven raw product and have designed and manufactured some of the finest performing and stylish wool clothing to date. If you have the opportunity to be in Vermont this coming Friday 10/11 and Saturday 10/12, you owe yourself a treat by attending the Annual Ibex Tent Sale on the Green in Quechee, Vermont. This event has drawn devotees from all over the country for many years. Trying on an Ibex wool jacket on a crisp cool autumn day will make you wish for cold weather.

Posted by Wade I. Treadway

Vermont Country Stores During Foliage

Vermont is quite unique with it's seasons that are all so different and all so remarkable beautiful. Clearly my favorite in terms of inner reflection and stopping to appreciate all that surrounds us is Fall. The other morning I went out early to feed the horses and I had to put on my wool Ibex vest for the first time this season. The morning was crisp and that unmistakable cool clean air had a hint of the changes coming. The trees are ablaze in brilliant colors that can't help but deliver a sense of awe. There is an uncontrollable urge to completely embrace all that surrounds you and make it last forever.

How best to enjoy this Fall season? I always like to go for drives along back roads that I haven't visited in some time. Truly, the fall colors are magnificent where ever you go. I always like to drop into country stores as I travel Vermont. A great many of the rural towns in Vermont still depend tremendously on the General Store. Many throughout the state also contain the local Post Office. You will be sure to encounter a strong aroma of coffee and hopefully home baked goods upon entering. I like to recommend to my customers and clients that are visiting this time of year to plan to be in a village that features a good General Store around lunch time. Sandwiches and drinks will be waiting. It's also a way to interact with local Vermonters and fellow visitors, all of whom depend on the General Store for their quick needs. A good source to locate General Stores in the Vermont Alliance of Independent Country Stores. Their website has many, but not all, General Stores in Vermont listed.

As to what routes to take to view the foliage, it's really up to your individual wants. All of Vermont is very picturesque, and yet the foliage changes at different times of the season in different parts of the state. The best website to check is the Fall Foliage Report. There you will find what areas of the state and what roads are showing the most color. The only thing left to complete the fall picture, is a stop at a local farm stand for cider and donuts. It really doesn't get much better.

Posted by Wade I. Treadway