Red, shining tomatoes sprinkled with morning dew; soulful bovine eyes looking up from perfectly green pastures as you walk by; the weather-worn, smiling face of an elderly gentleman, his hands covered with soil. These are not exactly the images that come to mind on a day when meteorologists warned, “Messy, wintry mix to end the month of February”.
Nevertheless, these are some of the images that inspire the Vermont Fresh Network mission: “Connecting farmers, food producers and chefs to support Vermont agriculture and bring fresh, flavorful, high-quality food to all Vermonters and our guests.”
Notice the choice of words. Mission statements are not written haphazardly. The Vermont fresh Network mission specifically refers to “our guests”. Not our clients, not consumers; guests, our guests.
This simple choice of word embodies an entire philosophy, for if Vermont visitors are perceived as guests, rather than merely consumers, this implies a service-based attitude rather than a focus on personal gain.
You may have noticed the Vermont Fresh Network logo in the doors of food markets or on the menu at your favorite restaurant. The farm and rolling hills set on a plate and displayed as a perfect table setting, ready to welcome the traveling guest in the midst of a journey, seem like the most appropriate representation of the partnerships and labor of love that bring sustenance from hand to hand, and from land to soul.
Here are some of the words The Vermont Fresh Network uses to describe its purpose and vision:
“The Vermont Fresh Network encourages farmers, food producers and chefs to work directly with each other to build partnerships. Building these regional connections contributes to stronger local communities and their economies.”
“The quality and beauty of Vermont’s landscape depends upon working farms and working farmers… Our beautiful open fields and scenic landscape also attract tourists and improve our own quality of life.”
We want our guests to feel appreciated, loved, cared for, respected, pampered, honored and valued. When they leave and say thank you with a spark in their eyes and when they return because there is nowhere else they would rather be, then we have done our job.
Then, the rewards include far more than the money visitors bring to this area; they usually include new friendships and with this the inspiration to dedicate each day to the hard labor of harvesting the land and tending to the community.
Click HERE to find out more about the Vermont Fresh Network