“To provide quality food products from small producers in Northern Vermont to consumers at independent grocers throughout southern Manhattan and Brooklyn. To support sustainable agriculture and the consumption of healthy food. To protect this water laden orb we call earth as best as possible.”
History and Philosophy
Shortly after moving to Brooklyn in 2004 to live with my girlfriend, a seven year resident of The City, in order to teach 5th and 6th grade science and math, I started selling my family’s organic maple syrup at a few specialty food shops in the neighborhood. After two years and some convincing we moved together to Burlington, Vermont. I hoped to be able to continue the distribution. With aspirations of a modestly solvent venture the number of stores was expanded and additional products were sought.
Growing up on a small, subsistence dairy farm of approximately twenty-five milking cows and a growing sugarbush initially producing less than 300 gallons of maple syrup annually taught me a lot about frugality, conservation, and stewardship. Not to mention the value of simple hard work. It is with these fundamental principles in mind that Pumpkin Village Foods (PVF) has grown slowly. There are no aspirations of a large company with many employees. These ideals will continue to be integrated into the design and scope of this distribution in many ways.
Our current “American lifestyle” is not sustainable. I hope this growing acknowledgment comes in time to allow behavioral changes in consumption and community relationships. The global marketplace does not encourage these necessary changes. While driving a distance of just over 300 miles may not quite fit the strict bill of local, it is much better than getting honey from Russia, preserves from England, nougat from France, etc. All of my products and many of the ingredients were produced within 55 miles of Burlington. (Mostly on a direct line between Pumpkin Village and New York City!)
Initially, I dreaded the fuel consumption that accompanied frequent trips from Northern Vermont in contrast to the hobby of shuttling maple syrup out of our third floor railroad apartment as demand required. The issue of stewardship had breached our simple farm and the immediate local community. After almost a year of passively maintaining the syrup relationships, the spring of 2007 allowed the opportunity for a change. A seasonal lull and some concentrated effort allowed a push for the expansion of PVF with the caveat that within three years the delivery would be made with a diesel vehicle running primarily on biodiesel. This would allow me to make and use biodiesel from waste vegetable oil. So far, the progress towards this goal is matching my initial aspirations. Our living room dining table is filled with small batches of biodiesel and I anxiously await more temperate weather in order to expand the production capabilities.
Okay, so this previous vision in italics may be a dream that needs extending. I’m working hard to develop this business to the point where there is time enough to invest into this goal. I’ve made great contacts with experience and skill in production of biodiesel and acquired some experience myself. Sadly, the Dodge Sprinter I purchased for a pretty penny with aspirations of a long life turned out to be a poor investment. Read more about this at the Dodge Sprinter post…. In any case, I still feel a little guilty about the drive, the sales per trip is growing steadily, which helps my conscience and the biodiesel dream is still alive!
You can read more musings on the values of a local economy, organic products and sustainability in the progress section of this site as my ethics evolve and are manifested. Your consumption choices regarding food and beyond are a political act that drive manufacturing and agriculture. Please choose wisely!