Orange Slices, Creme Drops & A Coconut: Christmas Memories

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Old-Fashioned Christmas candies from Upper Tygart Mini Mart were used to create a beautiful display at All That Bloomz in Grayson this week.

For many people, “old fashioned” types of candy will always bring Christmas memories.

“I remember dad got crème drops, orange slices, apples, oranges and one coconut. We would split up chocolate covered peanuts. And occasionally he would get caramel nut clusters, because they were more expensive,” said Marc Orcutt, who owns Upper Tygart Mini Mart with his wife, Denise.

The lone coconut his dad brought home each year was cracked open and provided each kid with a small sip of the juice inside, he explained.

“He always got it from Burchett’s store, at the forks of the road in Emerson, in Lewis County,” he said.

A few decades later, families rely on Orcutt’s store, Upper Tygart Mini Mart, on Rt. 60 a few miles from Olive Hill for the traditional tastes of the holiday season – orange slices coated with crystalized sugar; peanuts double dipped in chocolate; peanut brittle; chocolate covered cherries; crème drops and even orange slices in green, red and blue, as well as sweets known by brand names including Goetze’s.

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The designers at All That Bloomz used classic accents to make classic crème drops even more inviting.

The words “caramel nut clusters” still bring a smile to Orcutt’s face as he talks about the way people from places including Wheelersburg, Ohio as well as Boyd, Bath, Elliott and Lewis counties visited the store and shared their own family Christmas stories last year.

“Caramel nut clusters and orange slices, chocolate covered peanuts and crème drops are the number one things,” Orcutt said, explaining he has received 97 cases of different candies this season, and has only 13 remaining.

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Orange slices in holiday colors were highlighted by the All That Bloomz design.

Smiling, Orcutt said he recently gave his son a caramel nut cluster, who ate it as he drove away from home.

“He called and said it reminded him of Christmas at his grandmother’s house,” he said.

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Peanut brittle, chocolate covered raisins and caramel nut clusters have been enjoyed at by local families during Thanksgiving and Christmas for generations.

Orcutt enjoys hearing Christmas stories from customers, and feels blessed to carry on his own family’s holiday traditions.

“We were super poor. If you got one Matchbox car, you were sailing! … We were poor, but happy,” he recalled, adding Thanksgiving and Christmas meals were anchored by foods from their own farm, such as chicken or ham, and “always a big apple stack cake, with the layers of apple butter, for dessert.”

Big meals, candy and toys weren’t the only aspects of his family’s holidays which continue to this day.

“On Christmas eve, mom and dad would read from the Bible,” he said “We continued to do that as our kids grew up, and we still do.”

Story and Photos by TIM PRESTON


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