Allen Brothers a source of pies, produce and community
By Bob Audette
Vermont Country Magazine
WESTMINSTER — At just before 4 a.m. each day, three people arrive at Allen Brothers on Route 5 to get the pie ovens warmed up in preparation for the day’s business.
“We have to cook enough to have them on a shelf for the people that say ‘Oh, Allen Brothers has pies every day. Let’s go get one,’” said Stacey Allen, who co-owns Allen Brothers with her husband, Tim Allen.
In addition to the dozens and dozens of fruit pies they bake everyday, the cooks are also making bread from scratch and making sure there are plenty of cider doughnuts ready for when the farm store’s doors open at 6 a.m.
“A little after 6 a.m., all of our booths are filled with all of the local people that come and have their coffee and doughnuts and breakfast,” said Stacey.
As the morning turns into lunchtime, people filter through, grabbing a sandwich or one of the prepared specials, like stromboli, mac and cheese, fried chicken or pizza.
Others might grab some prepared food, like a shepherd’s pie, from the frozen food section.
Allen Brothers Farmstand was established in the early 1950s by Tim’s father and three uncles. In the early 1980s, Tim took over the business and began to expand it beyond its origins as a farm stand.
“Within a short period of time, Tim realized that in order to be a year-round, profitable business, he needed to expand,” said Stacey. “One of his first ideas was for the bakery and the deli and to put gas pumps in.”
Since then, Allen Brothers has become a regular stop for locals needing a quick bite to eat or to pick up some fresh produce, for travelers to Vermont who make a point of pulling off Interstate 91 at Exit 5 to get some maple syrup or fresh-pressed apple cider, and for folks who just need to grab some coffee or use a restroom.
“If you build it, they will come,” said Stacey. “That’s what happened here.”
She said her staff of 48 stays pretty busy throughout the year taking care of customers.
“It never really slows down, except for maybe one week in January,” she said.
Allen Brothers farms 20 acres in Westminster and offers much of its produce, pumpkins and apples at the farm stand on Route 5. Some of the produce ends up in local markets as well.
In the winter, Allen Brothers grows winter greens — arugula, baby spinach and baby kale, and a mesclun mix — in its greenhouses.
“Tim’s really a farmer at heart,” said Stacey. “Growing plants and produce is really his passion.”
In the garden center, Allen Brothers offers hanging baskets, annuals and perennials, and in the late fall, Christmas trees and holiday wreaths.
“We strive to offer the best quality and make it an experience where you will want to come back again and again,” she said.
Bob Audette has been writing for the Brattleboro Reformer for close to 15 years. When he’s not working or hanging out with his 6-year-old son, he can often be found on one of the many trails leading to the summit of Mount Monadnock, in southern New Hampshire.