Cheryl James' experience as a scratch baker can be traced all the way back to when she was a child, as she fondly remembers helping her grandmother bake in the kitchen as a little girl.
Cheryl's grandparents also owned the B. A. Pitts General Store in Ludlow for years, with her grandfather running the store seven days a week while her grandmother doing all the baking for the store and family.
"I always remember helping my grandmother bake, I actually helped to make pastries sitting right in my highchair, so baking has always been a big part of my life," Cheryl said in a recent interview.
"My grandmother also grew all kinds of fruits, raspberries and blueberries for her pies and pastries."
Now the proud owner of her own business, the Vermont Apple Pie & Cheesecake Company located in Proctorsville, Cheryl first began the business in 1988 with her children Jennifer, T.J., Jason and Erica, by selling her homemade pies and pastries "under the tent" in Ludlow.
"We finally converted the pantry area at our house into a retail space, to store our freshly-frozen pies, cakes and pastries."
Vermont Apple Pie is "technically" open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. everyday, (and yes, that includes all holidays), however Cheryl admits that they usually alter their hours significantly to accommodate their loyal patrons, especially customers from out of state.
"Basically, if the light on our business sign is on, that means we're open."
Although their classic apple pie may still be the one item that gets the most comments, other delectable all made from scratch include well over a baker's dozen variety and seasonal pies, cheesecakes and various other homemade favorites such as muffins, cookies, brownies, sticky buns and breads.
Vermont Apple Pie now also serves breakfast from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, all created from scratch, which has quickly become a popular favorite of many in the area.
"Our breakfast menu is entirely made from scratch with fresh ingredients shortening crusts daily." Cheryl added. "We only use fresh cut vegetables, real butter in our biscuits and gravy, we serve the old tyme favorite sirloin steak and eggs and homemade breads for our toast and real Vermont Maple Syrup for our French toast, Belgian waffles and pancakes."
Other breakfast menu items includes salsa-jack and western omelets, burrito wraps, waffles and the ever-popular egg-in-a-hole... and if you don't know what that is, then you will have to visit for breakfast and find out!
Vermont Apple Pie also accepts special orders and can provide baked goods for weddings or special family events. "We take great pride in all out homemade products and don't ever cut any corners with our ingredients," Cheryl added. "Right down to serving our fresh, breakfast blend of New England brand coffee."
They also serve a short lunch menu with fresh salads, sandwiches, quiche, soup and BLT clubs.
To learn more about the Vermont Apple Pie and their fine products, visit them at the shop at 265 Depot Street in nearby Proctorsville.