Saturday, December 18, 2010

Grain Store Goodness

The Saturday before Christmas brings with it a unique lunch date that is simply not to be missed....meatballs at Erskine's Grain Store (R.B. Erskine Inc Grain Store to be precise) in Chester, Vermont. Want to know where to find it? Why, Grain Store Road of course! This is the place we get our feed for the chickens and horses and invariably I am the one dispatched to place the order for 150lb of Cracked Corn, 150lb of Layer Pellets and 150lb of Sweet Feed. Naturally the unfailingly lovely gentlemen at Erskine's take pity on me and chivalrously load the car up for me every time.

I realised I was becoming a regular the day that our account papers were sitting out on the desk waiting for me as I walked through the door. They still use a very simple system of paper chits (the filing system above) and it works for them....none of that new fangled computer stuff. Keep it simple! Anyway, back to the meatballs....nestled in among the rows of shovels, mason jars, potting soil and barbed wire are a number of crockpots gently care-taking an array of meat based dishes.

On offer today were Swedish meatballs, meatballs in an Italian-type tomato sauce, chilli made with venison (from Pete Carson, a regular customer, see label on pot below) and bread to mop up the delicious juices. Oh, and a little token "salad" which was basically a crudite platter that rightly got passed over. No need for vegetables in this spread! The owner Mike and his staff made up the meatballs (over 500) the day before from the best meat around, bought from the locally famous Lisai's Market just over the railroad tracks, literally. This day is a thank you to their customers and Erskine's goes all out.

Meatball day is quite the institution around these parts and we have Art Putnam to thank for that. "Put" was a long term employee at Erskine's and is credited with starting the meatball tradition in 1980 (this picture is hung above the coffee station, beside the meatballs so that Put can still take part).

Alongside this meat feast is the addition of some musical accompaniment provided by John Specker (also to be seen at the Peru Fair, among many other local and national events). John plays floor stomping fiddle music that fits perfectly in this setting. He is simply a legend around here.

John sat tucked away among the vegetable seeds and work gloves, but his music filled the place.

John Specker taking a coffee break between songs.

To get a taste of John's supreme talent, have a listen to this....

So there you have it, a taste (literally) of some festive fair from Vermont. Mark your calendars, the Saturday before Christmas every year. Come and hang out for a while, everyone is welcome and the hospitality is second to none. It is Vermont after all...


  1. I love stuff like this! Reminds me so much of where I grew up and where I live now. I love your blog! Keep up the fantastic work!

  2. Hey thanks Deana. It certainly is a wonderfully unique place to live!

  3. Oh, and I see you are a Fox too! Fabulous!

  4. Best last name EVER! Hope to hear from you again soon.


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