Taxidermy and Artisan Doughnuts

Glover, Vermont is an odd town, full of contradictions and extreme behavior. Downtown Glover consists of one church, a handful of stores, and a variety of roadside residencies. All of the familiarities of a small town in the Northeast Kingdom are present: geraniums in window boxes, faded American flags, peeling paint, tractor parts, and sagging porches. Just up the road lies the Bread and Puppet theater, which has been the stomping grounds of political performance artists since the 60’s. Their giant barn is decorated with puppets, dyed banners, and silk-screened posters. Naked babies prance about in the garden, their mother’s flower-print dresses collecting thistles and wind.

If these two scenes don’t provide enough contrast, the town’s general store, Currier’s Quality Market, and a neighboring artisanal market, Red Sky Trading, are night and day. Currier’s Quality Market is frozen in time, but it also provides an unadulterated dose of rural Vermont culture. The upper walls host a forest of taxidermied animals: a towering moose, a bear cub, and a dozen deer, their glassy eyes staring past stacks of stale cookies and racks of potato chips. You can find everything you need for life in the Northeast Kingdom: fishing poles, guns, frozen dinners, and Cabot cheese. The Wooden Spoon Deli and Bakery, which is housed within Currier’s, fills the table with pies and white bread rolls in the morning and pumps out sandwiches and fried lunches in the afternoon.

I recently travelled to Glover for a mid-summer festival at the Bread and Puppet outdoor theater, and I stopped at Currier’s to look for a pre-performance snack. I could hardly make my way to the deli counter through all of local, balding, shirtless men. Everything in the store was either sugared or salted, and I couldn’t find any vegetables. I finally found a basket of plums and I rushed to the check-out counter for my escape. The group of men– again bald and shirtless, some toothless– that stood at the counter chatting about their recent hunting victories. They didn’t appear to be buying anything, but they took a few minutes to allow me the space to buy my plum. I noticed a photo tacked to the wall of the Sheriff standing next to a dead moose with a gun and a grin. Upon exiting the store, I noticed a plump family seated on their porch, watching me from the house across the street. I believe I recognized the sheriff seated among them.

I walked across the small town bridge to Red Sky Trading to see if they had any foodstuffs to add to my lunch. The colorful signs advertised “hand-cut doughnuts,” “jams and jellies,” and “artisinal breads and cheeses.” I rushed across the overgrown lawn to a table in the shade which offered heirloom tomatoes and large, lumpy loaves of bread. In the store, which was housed in an open room of an old barn, I found two fridges stocked with fresh salads, salsas, cakes, and even gazpacho soup. The shelves were filled with home-made crackers, corn tortilla chips, jams, and pickled. There were baked goods and doughnuts on the table, and antiques in the backroom, such as Malmec teacups, ancient lace tablecloths, and rocking chairs.
I grabbed some crackers, roasted red pepper dip, and a doughnut, and put my money in the jar as instructed. I was amazed that this room of culinary treasures sat open to the public without any supervision. I couldn’t wait any longer to bite into the doughnut, which was superbly crispy on the outside, misshapen, and sweet with a touch of cinnamon. I looked back at the storefront as I walked back towards the bridge, and chuckled to myself that this little market, with a bountiful green garden spilling in other either side and a chalkboard listing the fresh specials on the wall, could exist just minutes away from Currier’s Quality Market, where the animals on the wall and the edibles for sale are dried and unappetizing. I’m glad that both stores exist, however, to support both cultural extremes in this small and shockingly diverse town. is an odd town, full of contradictions and extreme behavior. Downtown Glover consists of one church, a handful of stores, and a variety of roadside residencies. All of the familiarities of a small town in the Northeast Kingdom are present: geraniums in window boxes, faded American flags, peeling paint, tractor parts, and sagging porches. Just up the road lies the Bread and Puppet theater, which has been the stomping grounds of political performance artists since the 60’s. Their giant barn is decorated with puppets, dyed banners, and silk-screened posters. Naked babies prance about in the garden, their mother’s flower-print dresses collecting thistles and wind.

If these two scenes don’t provide enough contrast, the town’s general store, Currier’s Quality Market, and a neighboring artisanal market, Red Sky Trading, are night and day. Currier’s Quality Market is frozen in time, but it also provides an unadulterated dose of rural Vermont culture. The upper walls host a forest of taxidermied animals: a towering moose, a bear cub, and a dozen deer, their glassy eyes staring past stacks of stale cookies and racks of potato chips. You can find everything you need for life in the Northeast Kingdom: fishing poles, guns, frozen dinners, and Cabot cheese. The Wooden Spoon Deli and Bakery, which is housed within Currier’s, fills the table with pies and white bread rolls in the morning and pumps out sandwiches and fried lunches in the afternoon.

I recently travelled to Glover for a mid-summer festival at the Bread and Puppet outdoor theater, and I stopped at Currier’s to look for a pre-performance snack. I could hardly make my way to the deli counter through all of local, balding, shirtless men. Everything in the store was either sugared or salted, and I couldn’t find any vegetables. I finally found a basket of plums and I rushed to the check-out counter for my escape. The group of men– again bald and shirtless, some toothless– that stood at the counter chatting about their recent hunting victories. They didn’t appear to be buying anything, but they took a few minutes to allow me the space to buy my plum. I noticed a photo tacked to the wall of the Sheriff standing next to a dead moose with a gun and a grin. Upon exiting the store, I noticed a plump family seated on their porch, watching me from the house across the street. I believe I recognized the sheriff seated among them.

I walked across the small town bridge to Red Sky Trading to see if they had any foodstuffs to add to my lunch. The colorful signs advertised “hand-cut doughnuts,” “jams and jellies,” and “artisinal breads and cheeses.” I rushed across the overgrown lawn to a table in the shade which offered heirloom tomatoes and large, lumpy loaves of bread. In the store, which was housed in an open room of an old barn, I found two fridges stocked with fresh salads, salsas, cakes, and even gazpacho soup. The shelves were filled with home-made crackers, corn tortilla chips, jams, and pickled. There were baked goods and doughnuts on the table, and antiques in the backroom, such as Malmec teacups, ancient lace tablecloths, and rocking chairs.

I grabbed some crackers, roasted red pepper dip, and a doughnut, and put my money in the jar as instructed. I was amazed that this room of culinary treasures sat open to the public without any supervision. I couldn’t wait any longer to bite into the doughnut, which was superbly crispy on the outside, misshapen, and sweet with a touch of cinnamon. I looked back at the storefront as I walked back towards the bridge, and chuckled to myself that this little market, with a bountiful green garden spilling in other either side and a chalkboard listing the fresh specials on the wall, could exist just minutes away from Currier’s Quality Market, where the animals on the wall and the edibles for sale are dried and unappetizing. I’m glad that both stores exist, however, to support both cultural extremes in this small and shockingly diverse town.
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