We have lived in Lorain County in Northeast Ohio for 37 years and this week discovered a hidden treasure that has actually been in existence here for almost 150 years!!!
This hidden treasure is the BERLIN FRUIT BOX COMPANY located on Mechanic St. which is off of State Rt. 61 in Berlin Heights, Ohio and it is just a short 25 minute drive from Hallauer House B & B. It was founded by Samuel Patterson in 1858 and is still owned and operated by his descendants!
Now I know you all will recognize their farm market basket. It’s the one you get at your local market to carry your fruits and vegetables or the one you get to carry your flowers and geraniums home from the garden center. Yeah, that one! This is one of mine that I have kept forever!
The company is the oldest basket making company in Ohio (yes, even older than Longaberger!) and the second oldest basket company in the entire country! It began to supply the farmers with wooden baskets, crates, barrels and ladders but as the years passed, the company expanded into making home baskets. These special baskets are hand made from maple, cherry, and for all of you Ohio State fans, the buckeye tree! These ‘buckeye baskets’ are even gray so put a scarlet red scarf in it and it’s perfect for all Buckeye fans!
The company is open for tours Monday thru Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. year round. We arrived in the early afternoon and were lucky that a tour was just starting. During the 30 minute tour, we learned about the company, how the logs are cut, and then watched as the machine, still operating since the 1920’s, shaved off the veneer from a huge log. Then another machine cut the veneer into the strips used in the basket weaving. We watched the artists at work as they formed and wove the home baskets out of the various wooden strips. Our 9 year old granddaughter was with us and she was enthralled with the process and the workmanship of each basket. Our only wish was that we could have purchased a basket of each style! As it is, we found one to hold some of our brochures.
Now when you come to visit Oberlin, you have one more place to add to your list of things to see and do while you are here! So when you’re planning that sta-cation, plan a trip to Oberlin in Northern Ohio. You’ll be surprised how many wonderful places we have for you to visit! We will soon be adding a new package to our list of packages and specials. We’ll call it the “Ohio Appreciation Package,” and yes, it will include a Berlin Fruit Box Company basket and all products made in Ohio! Stay tuned for details or call and ask about it. You won’t be disappointed!