Most of my trip to Vermilion Ohio was dedicated to chatting and giggling with my girlfriends. Besides a bit of shopping, we did go on two excursions that were a bit different for us. We visited a vineyard and a company that has been making baskets for 101 years.
The vineyard was Paper Moon Vineyards in Vermilion. They had 9 wines that we could sample at 50 cents per sample. We each chose one we thought we might enjoy and shared the tastings. We all bought bottles of wine to take home. I am not a connoisseur so it was very helpful to have a vintner recommend a red and white that I might enjoy. He was spot on with wines that weren't too dry for me. I came home with Niagara (white) and Harvest Blend (red).
The basket company is the Berlin Fruit Box Company, maker of fruit boxes and Samuel Patterson Baskets. The company has remained in one family on the same land in Berlin Heights, Ohio for 101 years. They began making farm baskets for the nearby orchards and later added baskets for home use made from hard maple and black cherry. There are a few pieces made from Ohio Buckeye wood too.
Even though we arrived at the end of the work day, the owner, a great- great- great-grandson of the founder gave us a tour. He ran a lathe that is over 100 years old to show us how veneer is cut. He demonstrated use of a jig to assemble (weave) a farm basket. I bought a basket called a candy basket in cherry. I would have loved a larger basket, but I know that I can always find a spot to have a small basket on display and in use. A larger one may get housed in a closet from time. That might do for inexpensive baskets from a craft store, but not an artisan one!