A flood of feelings

Summertime, and the living is all over the map in Vermont.

Whew. We’ve all seen the news coverage, and some of you have lived through it first hand. It is heartbreaking, and terrifying. Many of us in this area are suffering from PTSD from the last time we experienced these high and raging waters, when Hurricane Irene flooded Brattleboro and surrounding towns. Our hearts go out to those experiencing it now, and for some, again.

Our little town and area were spared the worst of the recent floods, but many areas just north and south of us are in the long hard process of recovery and reassessment.

We are feeling so very fortunate to be safe and sound, our chocolate kitchen narrowly missed flooding thanks to the quick thinking of our building manager who got a sump pump up and going in the drainage ditch outside our door just in time. While our business was thankfully spared, many shops and people who buy and sell our wares, and farms who supply us and other kitchens with ingredients were not. We are doing what we can to support our fellow Vermonters, and pivoting our approach by opening our gem of a Factory Shop more due to the nationwide heatwaves that are making it tricky to ship our melty product.

The silver lining for us is getting back to concentrating on our local community. COVID saw us close our little shop and put our energies into nationwide online sales, a very successful pivot that we were thrilled about as we saw our chocolates go out into the wider world. Now we’ve re-opened our brick and mortar Factory Shop Wednesdays-Fridays from 10am-4pm with our whole line of chocolates available plus tastes, mugs, hats, occasional chocolate mousse and pastry pre-orders, and other wares, welcoming our incredibly supportive community of chocolate lovers.

We love seeing people in person, we have missed it so, and it has been so exhilarating! We are so very grateful for everyone who visits our shop, chocolate lovers are passionate and unstoppable and we so appreciate all of the enthusiasm for our singular approach to making chocolates in our little tucked-away gem of a shop. Stop in and we will go the extra mile to make sure you have a magical experience with tastes and all the woodsy, artistic, imaginative bonbons and confections on our menu.

Can’t make it to our shop? Specialty food, wine and cheese shops in the Northeast also carry a selection of our products, including our local Coop which has the best selection of our chocolates outside of our Factory Shop. Many are small, thoughtful, privately owned stores or cooperatives that carry carefully selected items, havens for foodies, home chefs and flavor adventurers. We are thrilled to have our chocolates on their shelves, casting our net wider in the world of chocolate lovers, and are working to get our products into more shops. We continue to ship nationwide using ice packs, 1-3 day priority shipping and recyclable packing materials.

We stopped vending at our beloved local Farmers Market when COVID hit, and the climbing summertime temperatures and humidity have made it impossible to sell our chocolates out-of-doors without losing the quality we work so hard to produce, as well as straight-up some of our inventory. We now go to our Farmers Market as shoppers, reveling in all of the produce and top-notch locally crafted goods we can use both in our chocolates and on our home table. Many local farms and orchards were first hit by an early frost in May, and now flooding in their fields and losing crops, so supporting them by buying what they have available directly at farmers markets is so very important. The bounty and quality is absolutely amazing, with lots of local specialties, and reminds me of French markets.

Our town of Brattleboro is buzzing and Southeastern Vermont is beautiful and open and a wonderful haven for tourism.

Here are some ways to help those who were directly affected by the flood, and those like us who are collaterally affected by what the climate is dishing out:

•donate to NOFA Vermont and Vermont Main Street Flood Recovery Fund

•purchase gift certificates online from shops who are recovering and planning on re-opening

•give to a kickstarter or other fundraiser for one of your favorite businesses or organizations who is recovering

•help clean, shovel out muck, tear down water damaged walls and whatever else is needed at homes and shops in affected communities

•shop locally and small at Vermont and New England shops that are open, they are likely seeing a decrease in sales due to secondary flooding issues

•make travel plans to our area and others in Vermont that were not directly affected by the flood but are feeling the secondary effects of losing shops and customers

•when temperatures fall below 95ºF order chocolates and other Vermont comestibles online to ship as gifts and treats

Thank you, thank you, for your support. We love what we do, and couldn’t do it without you. Gratitude.

Still from the video We are Tavernier Chocolates by Haptic Pictures