As a food writer and business owner I’m constantly challenged by what the next new idea is. It used to be that we were on the leading edge of things. We were one of the first 50 businesses in Maine to receive the Leadership in Hospitality award from the Department of Environmental Protection. Our “It’s All About the Food Cruises,” where 90% of our food came from within 100 miles of us, were the first of their kind in our area. Even composting and recycling on the boat — which trust me, took some effort to figure out — are places where we led the way.
But now that everyone and every business is “green” — or at least they say they are — where do we go from here to be a leader? Likewise, everyone is talking about how local they are. Now that we buy entire sides of local beef and pork, raise nearly half of our veggies in the garden and buy almost all the rest from a CSA, what’s next? Raising our own animals? On 0.6 acres of land? That’s “zero point six” acres, not 6 acres. Not likely. Perhaps we should have hens on the boat like they used to do on the ships that sailed around the world; from the beginning of the voyage those early sailors carried many of the animals that would become their sustenance.
Then my mind wanders to what prompted us to go green, local and sustainable to begin with. At the core, it was about providing a clean environment and healthy food for our family. In the end, the business received the benefit as well, but initially, all I wanted was to avoid hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, and chemicals in our food.
We began with the goal of healthy food for our family and in the process created a healthy food experience for our guests and for our schooner business. Do we relish being a leader? Definitely. And will we keep looking for the next new good things for our family…AND for our schooner? Absolutely. And, in the meantime, we can also bask in the enjoyment of what we’ve created. To love walking in the gardens early in the morning with a cup of coffee and deciding what is to be harvested for the next trip. To know that the bulk of what we are serving and eating is full of that which is good for us. And to enjoy the literal and figurative fruits of our creations.
I can be satisfied with that. Absolutely.