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Taxidermy and Artisan Doughnuts 

Published July 20, 2011 at 11:58 a.m.

Glover is a town full of contradictions. Downtown Glover has one church, a handful of stores, a few roadside houses, and the familiarities of small-town life in the Northeast Kingdom: geraniums in window boxes, faded American flags, peeling paint, tractor parts and sagging porches.

Just up the road, though, lies the Bread and Puppet theater, the stomping grounds of political performance artists since the '60s. The troupe's 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.

Just like these two contrasting scenes, the town’s two general stores, Currier’s Quality Market and 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. Taxidermied animals-- including a towering moose, a bear cub and a dozen deer-- decorate the walls, their glassy eyes staring past stacks of stale cookies and racks of potato chips. Here, too, you can find everything you need for life in the Northeast Kingdom: fishing poles, guns, frozen dinners, Cabot cheese. The Wooden Spoon Deli and Bakery, which is housed inside Currier’s, fills a table with pies and white bread rolls each morning and pumps out sandwiches and fried lunches in the afternoon.

I recently traveled to Glover to see a Bread and Puppet circus, and I stopped at Currier’s for a snack. I could hardly make my way to the deli counter through all the local balding, shirtless men. Everything in the store was either sugared or salted, and I couldn’t find any vegetables. I finally found a plum and rushed to the check-out counter for my escape. More bald, shirtless men stood at the counter chatting about their recent hunting victories. They didn’t appear to be buying anything, but they lingered around the register while I bought my plum. While checking out, I noticed a photo tacked to the wall of their sheriff with a gun and a grin, standing next to a dead moose.

I then walked across a small bridge to Red Sky Trading to see if I could find anything else for lunch. The colorful signs advertised “hand-cut doughnuts,” “jams and jellies” and “artisanal breads and cheeses.” An outdoor table offered heirloom tomatoes and large, lumpy loaves of bread. Inside the store, which was housed in an old barn, I found two fridges stocked with fresh salads, salsas, cakes and even gazpacho. Homemade crackers, corn tortilla chips, jams and pickles filled the shelves. Baked goods and doughnuts sat on the table, and there were antiques in the backroom, such as Malmec teacups, ancient lace tablecloths and rocking chairs.

After I grabbed some crackers, roasted red pepper dip and a doughnut, I put my money in the honor jar. I was amazed that this room of culinary treasures sat open to the public without any supervision. The doughnut was superbly crispy on the outside, misshapen and sweet, with a touch of cinnamon. I chuckled to myself that this little market, with its bountiful green garden spilling in on either side, could exist just minutes away from Currier’s Quality Market, where both the animals on the wall and the edibles for sale are dried and unappetizing. Both stores have their niche in this town of contrasts.

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Frances Cannon


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