At this joyous time of the year, we often find ourselves scurrying around to find that perfect gift for friends and family. Well, for the chef, baker, home entertainer or just plain food lovers on our shopping list, we heartily recommend two different, but both wonderful resources, that provide fabulous items for the kitchen and dining room.
Founded almost 80 years ago in Dorset, where their factory and retail store still are, J.K. Adams designs its own high quality, hand-crafted wood products for cooking and entertaining. Led by second-generation owner Malcolm Cooper, a Dorset resident, Adams is an important part of the local economy and community. With nearly 50 employees, Adams supports close to 20 local charities and donates products to over 200 organizations.
A large national wholesaler to well-respected brands such as Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel and Sur La Table, Adams supplies more than 3,000 stores nationally and internationally. Fortunately, Adams is not dependent on off-shore containers or affected by supply chain issues, as its raw materials come mostly from New England hardwoods including maple, oak and ash. Sensitive to environmental concerns and sustainability, Adams is mindful of forestry management and ethical logging practices. Indeed, the company’s logo, known as the broad arrow, was used in colonial times to mark the best wood that was then used to build government ships.
On the retail level, Adams carries top-of-the line, local merchandise including Stonewall Kitchens, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Castleton Crackers, Granny Blossom from West Pawlet, preserves from Brattleboro’s Sidehill Farm, Heady Topper mustard from Butterfly Bakery in Barre, soup mixes from Halladay’s Harvest Barn of Bellows Falls, a large array of cheeses from Shelburne Farm, charming cups and shopping bags highlighting Vermont scenes from Woodstock’s Cricket Cottage, beautifully blown glassware from Simon Pearce and artisan tableware from Laura Zindel of Guilford.
Among the most popular items are the Turnabout Board and the Pour Spout board. The former is an extra thick, reversible carving board with an ample juice groove, that sells for about $90. The latter adds a pour spout and a pooling well to collect the juices. Depending on size, this board sells for $62 to $92. A key feature offered by Adams is that many of their products can be personalized with names or initials on cutting boards and utensils.
Adams is continuously working on new products. At least twice a year, a design team led by creative director Sean Osborne comes up with new and better products. Maybe this spirit, enthusiasm and dedication is responsible for making J.K. Adams so successful, for so many years.
Adams is also the winter home for the locally sourced Dorset Farmers Market. While at the market or at any time when visiting the store, take a few minutes to ascend the platform high above the factory floor to witness the skill, patience and devotion that goes into producing the fine woodwork of J.K. Adams. Adams, on Route 30, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Another local treasure is Vermont Kitchen Supply, a Manchester mainstay for the past 20 years. Owned and operated from day one by the amiable and engaging Kerry Comollo Mackinnon, this shopping delight of 3,000 square feet has it all when it comes to the kitchen and entertaining. From her family background in the restaurant business and then as a buyer for the Vermont Country Store, Kerry has a passion that becomes evident as soon as you walk into such a diverse and beautiful display of items.
The quantity and quality of products at Vermont Kitchen Supply would be hard to beat in Boston or New York: Italian-made Ballarini frying pans, handmade stoneware from Pizzazz Pottery in Fair Haven, fashionable fondue sets and cheese accessories for your raclette and charcuterie, small area rugs from Manchester’s own Chandler Four Corners, soapstone cookware from Brazil, hand-turned wooden bowls from Granville, restaurant-style pans from Tramontina (a favorite of Myra’s) and French copper pots and pans to hang from your pot rack, which Vermont Kitchen Supply also carries.
This list could go on forever, but you get the idea. And yes, Kerry also carries Cuisinart, SMEG, an Italian manufacturer of colorful and stylish home appliances, April Cornell and highly regarded Chemex products, as well as gorgeous pie pans from France’s Emile Henry. There are even baking sets for children. You can find just about anything and everything that has to do with kitchen and entertaining at Vermont Kitchen Supply.
One of our favorites is the Molinillo or wood stirrer used in Mexico and Latin America to make hot chocolate. It can be bought separately or as part of a collection which also includes chocolate discs and a clay jug for mixing with hot milk, making a unique and special gift.
Also noteworthy is the full line of items to prepare and serve Japanese food. These items include ceramic ware, Ken Hom woks, elegant chopsticks and sake sets, as well as professional grade rice cookers from Zojirushi.
The knowledgeable staff at Vermont Kitchen Supply is pleasant and always accommodating. Kerry credits her team and the community for getting the store through the challenging past two years. Vermont Kitchen Supply is truly one of a kind for a great shopping experience. Bridal registry is also available. The store, at 4788 Main St., is open Monday though Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.