The Story of the Strength of the Hills

Well, it’s apple season, and as usual Vermonters are taking up one of their favorite subjects of debate: which apples are best for eating, for pies, for pressing into cider, and so on. (For pies, I like MacIntosh or Honeycrisp but that’s another story.) And more and more, you hear people talking about apple cider vinegar.

The farmer’s markets around here sell cider vinegar as a salad dressing, but it also has a long history as a tonic. All the old-timers swore by it to fend off illness and keep them feeling vigorous. When I was a kid and had a sore throat, my grandmother would chase me down and give me a spoonful of cider vinegar mixed with honey.

As an adult, I rekindled my interest in the health benefits of apple cider vinegar because of my brother, Gardner Orton, who is a certified holistic health counselor. He encouraged me to drink an apple cider vinegar tonic to help me with my constant colds and low energy in winter.

The problem was, the tonic tasted god-awful, just as bad as I remembered. For a while I did what all good Vermonters do — I gritted my teeth and choked it down anyway. I wasn’t chugging down a bottle of the stuff – only an ounce or so per day, and it did seem to help — but I dreaded it.

sothThen one day I decided that there had to be a way to get the health benefits of apple cider vinegar without the awful taste. For a couple of months I worked with a storekeeper at The Vermont Country Store to come up with our own superior formula for an apple cider vinegar elixir—and Strength of the Hills was born. You can read all about it on the Strength of the Hills page. It’s made of all-natural, high quality ingredients (the good stuff), but the best part is that it actually tastes good!

I love talking with people who are interested in our remedies about Strength of the Hills. I feel like I’m letting them in on something that’s “just our secret.” This has to be how my grandfather, Vrest Orton, felt when he found a new product he was passionate about. Even now, decades after his passing, it makes me feel connected to him. I’m proud to carry on the storekeeper tradition he started in 1946, and I’ll keep searching for practical solutions to everyday problems just like him.


Cabot Orton

For the Orton family
Proprietors of The Vermont Country Store


Strength of the Hills Cider Vinegar Tonic, 34 oz. Bottle

Strength of the Hills Cider Vinegar Tonic, 34 oz. Bottle

An Ounce of Prevention: Vermont Cider Vinegar Tonic With Premium Herbs for Energy and Vitality


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3 Responses to “The Story of the Strength of the Hills”

  1. Susan Lauzier

    I dont see an exporation date on my Strength of the Hills apple cider vinegar. How long is this good for?

    • Storekeeper

      Hi Susan,
      The Strength of the Hills has a 2 year shelf life as long as you refrigerate it after opening.

      Hope you’re enjoying it!


    First of all, i am a n 87 yr old devotee of Vt country store and spread the word
    since its earliest introduction to me. I have grown to really enjoy the taste
    and also the smell serves as my “picker Upper”

    Your new computer composition is smashing for my desires great job…i. am
    a true Newbie who never even learned to type in the 30s and 40s yet i loved your new website (?)


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