leather goods from Vermont cows
Handcrafted with chestnut-tanned hides and repurposed bridlery.
I hoisted my first beef hide out of the butcher’s tractor in the fall of 2015. It was year three of raising livestock for food and I wondered whether creating local leather goods could fortify the connection between people and land. With a reverence for animals and determination with a needle and thread, Rhubarb Leather was born.
I source hides from farmers and butchers around Vermont. They're transformed into vegetable tanned leather by the Meyer family at Pergamena, in New York’s Hudson Valley where they use an environmentally safe chestnut-based tanning solution, and methods that have been passed through their family for 400 years. On my workbench, I design, cut, stitch, and rivet. Old saddlery makes the best straps.
Rhubarb was the first cow who warmed me up while learning to milk on winter mornings at Farm and Wilderness in Plymouth, VT. Sitting on stools with a cow between us, my sweetheart, Michael and I hatched ideas for our homesteading trials. In 2012, we rented a barn, home, and pastures on a former dairy farm in our hometown. We raised sheep and broiler chickens, produced wool blankets and a hearty garden on a farm which soon grew into Philo Ridge Farm. In 2017, we moved to a quiet homestead, trading life with animals for life with perennial fruits, flowers, and adaptable workshop spaces. We live in Charlotte, Vermont with our daughter, Ellery Jeanne, who was born in 2018.
I moonlight with leathercraft, and spend days at Shelburne Farms where I coordinate the Farm-Based Education Network
- Vera Simon-Nobes
In an effort to build a resilient, equitable Vermont, 5% of your online purchases are donated to nonprofit organizations that are working to serve these ends.
Since 2018, proceeds from current sales support the Janet S. Munt Family Room, a parent child center in Burlington, VT providing programs that are accessible to all and flexible enough to meet the needs of our changing community.
Our 2016 was Slow Food Vermont. Our 2017 beneficiary was the Shelburne Farms and King Street Center partnership.
Leather goods are currently available online, by appointment, and at Philo Ridge Farm in Charlotte, Vermont, The Roots Farm Market in Middlesex, Vermont and Mysa in Shelburne, Vermont.