vermont gives

How One Day and One Small State Can Make a Difference

In a state with a population just over 600,000 Vermont Gives Day shows how a small group of people can make a big difference. On June 7th, the state of Vermont launched its first giving day, using social media as a way to get the message out. A simple hashtag #VTGives was found trending on Twitter and leads people to learn about this day of giving.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Jose Luis Alvarez has devoted his life to conserving habitat for the Monarch butterfly
Jose Luis Alvarez has devoted his life to conserving monarch habitat in Mexico.  He’s traveling to Vermont this summer to help us conserve the butterfly’s habitat here in New England.

I’m super excited today because our friend Jose Luis Alvarez is coming to visit Vermont this fall to collaborate with us on a project to help save the Monarch butterfly.  Jose Luis is a silviculturist in Mexico who has devoted his life to restoring the forested winter habitat of the Monarch.  Last month I traveled to Michoacan, Mexico to meet Jose Luis & see his work. I love Monarchs & we’ve been conserving their summer habit here in Vermont for many years so I thought maybe we should collaborate and get some Vermont-Mexico synergy going!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

50-shades-of-cherry
Google image search results for ‘real cherry wood”. Half of these are NOT cherry wood.  Many are illegal rainforest woods, brought to you by organized crime which has taken root in the global timber industry.

Cherry Wood: Will The Real Color Please Stand Up?

We have conversations with customers every day about the color of real cherry wood furniture.  It’s no wonder!  When I just googled “real cherry wood” well over 50 shades of cherry came up.  Quite a variation, isn’t it?

First of all, half of these images are NOT of cherry wood.  When the big American furniture companies started off-shoring their furniture 30-40 years ago they found it cheaper to use rainforest woods than cherry (rather than ship cherry wood from North America to third world factories and then export it back to North America as furniture). So they stained these cheaper woods and gave them various trade names containing “cherry”.  For example Makore, an increasingly rare African wood being illegally logged in Sierra Leone and Gabon has been sold under the trade name Cherry Mahogany, though Makore is not closely related to either cherry or mahogany.  Worse yet,  it is listed as an endangered species due to illegal logging and exploitation by organized crime which has taken root in the global timber industry.

Real cherry wood furniture looks like this
Real cherry wood furniture looks like this when it’s new but ripens to a dark reddish brown after it’s been exposed to light for a few months.

Many times customers come to Vermont Woods Studios looking to buy real cherry wood furniture that matches existing cherry pieces in their homes.  After discussions and emailing pictures back and forth they are shocked to find that their “cherry” furniture from Bassett, Broyhill, Ethan Allen, Thomasville, Drexel, Lane or other big “American” companies is not cherry at all but rubberwood, poplar or some kind of engineered hardwood.

At Vermont Woods Studios, our cherry furniture is indeed made out of real, solid North American Black Cherry wood.  The color starts out as a light pink and slowly ripens to a rich reddish brown over time, as it’s exposed to light.  Nina’s photo of the rocker below shows the range of natural cherry colors after the wood’s been exposed to light.

This rocker shows the range of colors for real cherry wood
This rocker shows the range of colors for real, natural cherry wood. You can see the chair’s darker than the cherry in the photo above. Notice too, that even within the one rocking chair, there are differences in cherry wood color that are created by grain patterns and grain direction.

Are you interested to learn more?  Find tons of information and photos of American made, real cherry wood furniture on our website & send us your questions on Facebook or in the comments section below.

real cherry wood furniture

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

New-Hampshire-Forests
No need to trek through the forest, Christmas tree farms throughout Vermont have you covered!

A Guide to Christmas Tree Farms in Vermont

Being a native New Englander I’ve come to expect a lot out of a Christmas Tree. It can’t be fake, it has to be real. It needs to be a Fraser or Douglas Fir. It has to be naturally even on all sides with no major gaps between branches and it can’t be too tall or short. One of my family’s outings to a Christmas Tree Farm can last hours and usually results in a major family deliberation over which tree to cut down.

Did you know real Christmas trees are great not only for their added ambiance but because they are a renewable and recyclable resource? To help with my idea that real trees trump artificial trees I dug a little into the world of Christmas Trees. According the the National Christmas Tree Association, 85% of artificial trees are manufactured in China and often contain non-biodegradable plastics. Christmas trees from farms are grown as a crop and once they are harvested new seedlings are planted to replace the harvested trees, so the cutting down of a Christmas Tree is actually better environmentally than buying an artificial tree. It also supports local economies!

If you’re like me and need to have the best tree, I’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of a few Christmas tree farms here in Vermont and a provided little information about what each farm offers you!

Christmas Trees of Vermont: (456 Old Connecticut River Road, Springfield, VT 05156) Located just 15 minutes north of the famous Vermont Country Store, this tree farm offers thousands of Fraser Fir trees to choose from. You can cut your own or choose from ones that are pre-cut. There’s a shop on site with complimentary hot cocoa and candy canes, Santa’s cabin, furry friends from the Vermont Humane Society on the weekends and free sleigh rides and tree baling.

The Russell Farm: (1248 VT Route 116 Starksboro, VT  05487) Located just under 40 minutes south of Burlington, VT, the Russell Farm boasts a feel-good family environment. You can cut your own Balsam Fir and catch a ride on a horse drawn sleigh (with a fee) and buy handmade wreaths and garland. You can warm up by a cabin fire and nibble on homemade cookies. You’re sure to feel part of the family!

The Bishop Farm: (Park Farm Road, Springfield, VT 05156) Also located a short 15 minute drive from the Vermont Country Store, the Bishop Farm grows both Balsam and Fraser Fir trees. You can choose your own tree, which the staff will happily cut down for you, or choose from a variety of pre-cut trees. On the weekends you can hop on a tractor ride and they offer free baling, hot chocolate and Christmas candy. They sell tree stands and handmade wreaths, as well. If you’re unable to make the trip, they offer delivery options, just choose the type and size of the tree and it’ll usually ship within 2 days.

Paxton Greens: (97 Stewart Lane, Cuttingsville, VT 05738) Located just 20 minutes north of Okemo and 40 minutes south of Killington, Paxton Greens offers primarily Fraser and Balsam Fir trees. You can cut your own tree, or have a staff member cut it for you as well as choose from from a selection of pre-cut trees. Their Christmas shop sells handmade wreaths, tree stands and has a wood stove you can warm up by. They offer hot mulled cider and the shop has great gift ideas.

Walker Farm’s Elysian Hills: (223 Knapp Road, Dummerston, VT 05301) New to the farm this year, you can cut your own trees on the weekends at the Walker Farm. Staff at the farm will help guide you the cut-your-own section and provide you with a price guide. Their farm store sells wreaths, center pieces and holiday greenery. If you’re in need of warming up after cutting down your tree, stop into the store where they offer free hot cider, hot chocolate and pretzels! You’ll also find fresh Certified Organic veggies, honey, maple syrup and more on sale in the shop!

All the farms supply hand saws-please don’t bring a chainsaw! And they all offer baling and/or netting of your tree. Good luck and may the best tree win!

If you’ve been to a great Christmas Tree farm in Vermont that I didn’t list, please let me know in the comments section!

Sources:
National Christmas Tree Association

Find & Go Seek

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Vermont Craftsman
A Vermont Craftsman at work on a furniture piece

In the world of Vermont’s Made to Order Furniture there are many advantages:  your furniture is handcrafted especially for you, you can customize it to fit exactly into your space, you can feel good about the fact that your furniture is made from trees that are harvested sustainably with respect for the forest environment, you’re helping to keep American craftsmanship alive & thriving, providing jobs and much more.  But there is one downside to having furniture built just for you:

It Takes Time

Time to Craft

Depending on who is making your furniture (we work with a dozen or so independent furniture makers), and what they’ve already got in their queue, time to complete building the furniture can vary.

The best way to find out the estimated lead times for our furniture is to check the Lead Time tab on the product’s page. You can read more general information about our lead times on our Shipping & Delivery page.

made-to-order-furniture

Time to Ship and Safely Deliver

After the furniture is built, it takes another 1-5 weeks to ship it, depending on where the customer lives.  Fine furniture cannot be FedEx’d (unless maybe it’s an end table or something that’s been designed for quick-ship).  Believe it or not, some of today’s FAST furniture delivery companies have average damage rates of up to 40%!

We’ve learned over the past 10 years of delivering furniture to homes in all 50 states that rushing an order to it’s destination is a gamble.  It might get there safely… then again it might not.  And since our customers are already waiting several weeks for their authentic, made to order furniture, we don’t want to have to call them and say, “sorry your furniture was damaged in transit and we have to re-craft it.  And re-ship it”.

Fortunately our customers understand this and are generally very patient and willing to wait for something that will one day become a family heirloom.

Keeping You Informed

Rebecca, Sean, Michelle and Loryn use a series of emails and phone calls to keep clients in the loop during the crafting and shipping process.  Right after your order, you’ll receive an email acknowledgement asking you to review the order details for accuracy & giving you an estimate of when it will be delivered.  Then when your order is half way through the process, we’ll email you again with an update.  Another communication will arrive when the craftsman has completed your order and we’ve scheduled it for pick-up with our furniture shipping specialist.  Finally when your order is in your area, we’ll connect you directly with our shipper to schedule a convenient time for delivery.  All along the way, you’ll have someone here, that you know by name, to talk to if you have any questions or concerns.  Then after delivery, we’ll email you again to make sure the delivery went well and you’re happy with your new furniture.

Quality, Made to Order Furniture that Lasts a Lifetime

In this world of instant gratification, where most furniture buyers walk into Bob’s Discount Furniture, Ikea or Ashley Furniture and walk out an hour later with something that’s substandard and unsustainably produced overseas by huge multi-national conglomerates, we find ourselves immensely grateful to our customers for their patience in waiting for the real thing.  When buying furniture that’s built to last a lifetime, we hope you’ll feel it’s worth the wait.

Read our previous article on made to order furniture & lead time.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.