Vermont Companies Swap Their Products for Employee Gift Baskets | True 802 | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Vermont Companies Swap Their Products for Employee Gift Baskets

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Published December 21, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.


Sarah Oughton with Twincraft Skincare's Vermont employee gift basket - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Sarah Oughton with Twincraft Skincare's Vermont employee gift basket

Forget the dreaded office gift exchange. Many Vermont companies have taken the swap to a macro level — and no one gets stuck with a self-help book.  

This week, the 100 employees of Fairfax-based maple and honey company Runamok will receive holiday bags brimming with Vermont-made products: Cabot Creamery cheddar, Darn Tough socks, cans of Citizen Cider and personal care items from Twincraft Skincare. In exchange, Runamok swapped bottles of its maple syrup, which those companies will then put in their employee gift baskets.

Runamok began these swaps about five years ago when Websterville-based Vermont Creamery suggested it.

"We found it's a thing around here," Runamok's co-owner Laura Sorkin said. "You really can't go wrong with Vermont products," she continued. "Who else can say they got their folks the world's best beer, the world's best cheddar and the world's best socks — all from their state?"

"It's just a nice kind of Vermonty thing to do," agreed Michele Asch, vice president of Winooski-based Twincraft Skincare, whose 300 employees will receive a box including Runamok syrup, Vermont Smoke & Cure meats and Darn Tough socks. "It's really about picking up the phone and asking. Vermont is a tight community, and business owners tend to know each other."

Eliza Leeper, Vermont Creamery's mission and customer manager, said the company's gift product swap was introduced about a decade ago by its president, Adeline Druart, who was inspired by a similar tradition in her native France.

This year, Vermont Creamery's 120 employees and its goat farmer partners will receive an assortment including panettone sweet bread from Red Hen Baking in Middlesex, jars of Blake Hill Preserves made in Windsor and sweets from Red Kite Candy in Bradford. 

"As an employee, I love these magical holiday boxes," Leeper said. "They're full of indulgent treats you wouldn't buy for yourself, and I love that we're supporting other local businesses."

The original print version of this article was headlined "Green Mountain Gifts"