Side Dishes: Vermont company hits the big time
When Whitney Lamy started Whitney’s Castleton Crackers in 2008, she took her hand-cracked creations to the Rutland County Farmers Market and promptly sold out. That early success was a harbinger of good things. Now, a little more than two years later, the southern Vermonter’s cracker kingdom has expanded dramatically.
As of July, Lamy’s snacks have been available at the North Carolina-based Fresh Market chain of specialty grocery stores. “They were looking at crackers and really liked mine,” Lamy says. She’s already got shelf space at Whole Foods’ locations in New England and, around the holidays, the company’s mid-Atlantic stores will carry the crackers, too.
The big guns aren’t Lamy’s only important customers: She sells plenty to local mom-and-pop stores and co-ops, she says, and to “all the little cheese shops in Brooklyn.”
Last winter, as her customer base grew, Lamy decided it was time to invent some new flavors. Her approach? “As an artist, I’m always thinking visually,” she says.
Since she already had the grainy-looking Windham Wheat, the seeded Rutland Rye and the glazed Middlebury Maple, Lamy decided to add something with a little more color. “That’s when I thought of pumpkin,” she says. Throw in some dried cranberries, a bit of thyme and a hint of spice, and you’ve got a Putney Pumpkin cracker.
Lamy’s other new creation, Richmond Rosemary, features crunchy cornmeal flecked with herbs and sea-salt crystals.
For all their flavors, Castleton Crackers have something in common: “They’re all designed to pair wonderfully with Vermont cheeses,” Lamy says.