We just returned from a colloquium produced by the Vermont Fresh Network where retailers, farmers, and distributors shared some of their soul. I was nearly brought to tears by one farmer who from the bottom of his heart crooned, “I love what I do. Success is not measured in sales.”
Besides the sharp increases in the price of rice and corn, and that it takes about $12,000 an acre to replant an apple orchard, we learned another interesting fact today. Two university food facilities in Vermont observed that 90% of the chow that resident students place on their cafeteria trays is thrown away. These two facilities got rid of tray service and noticed a remarkable decrease in food waste, plus savings on not washing millions of trays a year.
It is interesting to note that two panel members did business in New Hampshire but used enough Vermont farm products to qualify them for the dais. Good relationships were made and avenues for communication were paved. It feels like the future of Vermont bodes well for those living off the land. But changing the high, low, “push, pull” existence of current Vermont growers (work like hell during summer then while away winter doldrums,) and the addition of Ski Vermont Burgers may be fodder for future farmers and colloquiums.