Street Talk: Gifts for folks we don't like so much

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Joe St. Hilaire, Georgia

I live in Georgia, so our distillery’s in Georgia, Vermont, north of here. We do black currant, we do brandies, Hell’s Gate Distillery, and we have black currant as well.

RH: What got you into the hooch-making business?

JSH: Well, I had Vermont currant and my sister had grapes on her farm. She didn’t know what to do with her grapes, so we made it a farm value-added product so I talked her in, we said, well, hell, we’ll make a brandy. So we started a distillery. Me and my sister, we joined up and went into business together.

RH: You know, Joe, it’s the gift-giving season ... what would be a good gift to give to somebody you don’t really like all that much?

JSH: Well, alcohol’s always good for people. Brandies are excellent, but we have Vermont currant as well, so if they’re non-alcoholic people we have simple syrups, jams, meat rubs and tea. We can ship all our Vermont currant products. Our distillery’s open every Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. in Georgia. We’re more than happy to see you! Come out and see us.

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Alyssa Stewart, Cuttingsville

The gift for somebody you don’t really like that much would definitely be our Vermont maple popcorn. It sweetens everybody up, so who could possibly be mad about that?

Kathleen Aldrich, Burlington

A good gift I tend to think is something personal, something that the person is interested in. So even if it’s a simple interest like cooking, getting somebody a new spatula would make a difference in their ability to cook.

RH: A spatula!

KA: Yes! Something along the lines of what people like to do.

RH: I’ll keep that in mind. A spatula. “Here’s your spatula. Merry Christmas.”

KA: Yep. Absolutely. It could be something a little bit funner, but for a chef — I know a lot of chefs who’d love a new spatula.

Terry Davis, Newfane

RH: Southern, eh? Whereabouts in the South?

TD: Northeast Arkansas, 55 miles from Memphis in a little town called Marked Tree, Arkansas.

RH: Wow, that is Southern. What’s unique and special about Arkansas that we should know about up here in Vermont?

TD: That everybody’s kind and generous.

RH: So you just don’t have a real good feeling about this person, but you’ve got to give a gift of some kind. What do you go for?

TD: How about a hug? Everybody needs a hug! A little bit of love.

RH: A nice Arkansas hug. With a little extra squeeze.

TD: That’s right! Maybe it’ll change the way I look at them.

Linda Moore, Leicester

We live on a small farm with our own goats and make our own goat’s milk soap — wonderful gifts for stocking stuffers and those that have skin problems. We make our own lotion out of goat’s milk and creams and lip balms, and you name it, we have it. I would recommend — we have molded soaps, so if the people like flowers or deer or bucks, if you need something for that man on your list, we have pine cones, Christmas items — we have gift baskets. Whatever you need.

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Mary Brown, Castleton

I would give them a slice of pie, warm them up a little bit — warm up their heart. Apple, of course. America’s favorite.

RH: A la mode? Or with a slice of melted cheese?

MB: Melted cheese! Apple pie with cheese is like a hug without a squeeze.

RH: I’ll remember that.

Sheryl Porrier, Poultney

I think usually pictures or cards, or baked goods are a great gift.

RH: Cards now, handmade cards? Your cards? Somebody else’s cards?

SP: Yes. Any cards. I think mailing a card is a great gift.

RH: Tell me, real quick, what are you going to write on that card?

SP: Enjoy the holidays, happy holidays, looking forward to a great season ahead, a great year ahead.

RH: And stay warm.

SP: Yeah — dress warm, stay warm!

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