The beauty of the Green Mountains belies the volume of activity that takes place in Central Vermont. The region's small but thriving communities are sheltered in the valleys and often overlooked. Hiking trails, golf courses and fishing streams are obscured by forests. The bustle of factories built on the resources of the countryside are hidden from the casual observer. However, these factories are among the great fascinations of Central Vermont. These makers of Vermont products welcome visitors. They are proud of their people and the commitment to quality that has given Vermont products a well-deserved national reputation.
Many local companies have visitor centers and gladly provide guided tours of their manufacturing operations. Others are so small that the owner must make time to provide a personal tour of the facilities and describe the process. But visitors are welcome virtually everywhere Vermont products are made.
|Cabot Cooperative Creamery makes cheddar cheese and other dairy products of exceptional quality. Vermont milk is transformed into cheese, yogurt, butter, sour cream and dips by 250 workers in a multi-million dollar manufacturing plant located in a village of just 750 people. The creamery was owned by area dairy farmers for decades. The plant began making cheese products as a way to maintain the viability of local farms. The cooperative was able to make profits on finished products and return them to dairy farmers to offset losses on raw milk. This kept many farmers going who might not have otherwise survived the low milk prices.|
|Cabot Creamery and two other local food producers share a retail outlet on Route 100, just north of Exit 10, off Interstate-89. There the dipped delights of the Green Mountain Chocolate Company and the many flavors produced by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters can be enjoyed. Green Mountain Chocolates hand-dips diet-busters no one can resist. The coffee roasters produce a wide variety of gourmet coffee flavors - from traditional "French Roast" to "Swiss Chocolate Almond." Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is a rapidly expanding firm that has outgrown its manufacturing plant in Waterbury and is currently unable to accommodate tours of its facility.|
|If Cabot cheeses are Vermont's best known product, Ben & Jerry's ice cream must rate a close second. The name is recognized in households throughout the United States and several foreign countries. Also located near Waterbury, Ben & Jerry's manufacturing facility on Route 100 has become the most visited attraction in Vermont.|
|North of Ben & Jerry's, Paul Brown owns and operates the Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury Center. Here visitors can watch as a huge press squeezes juice from apples. Trays are loaded by hand, and then filled with partially ground apples. The resulting cider is not only bottled, but also used in a wide variety of baked goods that are made on the premises. These include apple pies and apple donuts as well as apple butter and apple-maple chutney.|
Vermont's largest native-product industry is the production of pure maple syrup. Wherever there are maple trees, there are people who work part-time in Central Vermont's "sugar" industry.
|Barre is home to the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company, a manufacturer specializing in European-style cheeses, including goats' milk cheese, Mascarpone and many others.|
|Vermont Smoke and Cure, located on Route 14 south of Barre, produces cob-smoked hams, turkeys, and bacon. The small, family-run business also produces its own private brand of smoked summer sausage.|
|Barre is known as the "Granite Center of the World" because of its quarries and manufacturing plants. However, there are also exquisite examples of granite architecture and monuments in the city's downtown area. Visitors are welcome at the quarry and the craftsmen center as well as downtown.|
|Trow & Holden Inc. manufacturer the finest stone carving and masonry tools including precision pneumatic hammers, carbide-tipped chisels, hand tools, specialty hammers, stone splitting wedges and shims. All their tools and hammers are all made with the finest material available and with a special attention to form and detail that will ensure the performance you require. All our tools are handmade in small production runs and tempered by us, enabling us to maintain our high standards of quality.|
|Many artisans in wood, pottery, weaving, jewelry and quilting also reside in Central Vermont. Their creations can be seen in their own workshops or in any of the retail stores that specialize in Vermont specialty products including foods, crafts and other native products.|
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