Country Lore: A Family Basket Business

This reader makes and sells baskets with his family.
By Jack Vale
February/March 2005
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I grew up during the Great Depression, when work was hard to find. My father adapted by starting our family business — making and selling baskets. I have passed it on to my children just as my father passed it on to me.

These baskets are rustic because they are made of vines instead of reeds. We use coat-hanger wire to frame the baskets. The only other raw materials are the free vines. When we pull the vines down from trees, we help the trees to thrive. Even private property owners let us harvest the vines that harm their trees.

We took this business to a new level when we began bending and welding together heavier-gauge wire and iron rods to create frames for artistic creations such as wheelbarrows, wishing wells, gazebos and various wild animals. The main materials for these creations are still vines of varying thickness.

We have sold these creations wholesale to florists and greenhouse owners. We also have sold them at retail prices to individuals at arts and crafts shows, and by simple word of mouth. The “family business” has helped us to supplement our other income and be self-sufficient during tough economic times.

Jack Vale
Zolfo Springs
, Florida 

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