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Board Profiles - Meet The President

March 29, 2017

An important part of the Vermont Fresh Network’s success is the hard work of our Board of Directors. Our Board does everything from fine tuning a mission statement to moving tables at the Annual Forum Dinner (August 6, 2017) - and we’re grateful that they are so generous with their time! All of our Board members care deeply about Vermont food and agriculture, many are themselves professionals in the food system. One of those is our Board President Jed Davis, President of The Farmhouse Group. We asked Jed some questions for the first of our new Board Profiles series. Here’s what he had to say:

When did you make the decision to work professionally in the food world?

Oh geez.....I was in Junior High and wanted some spending cash! Pretty much as simple as that. I started washing dishes and bussing tables at the Brandon Inn. The work was challenging and fast paced. I loved every minute of it and was hooked from the beginning.

What do you think has been the single most important change in the VT food system in the last 10 years?  

Hard to put into words, but I would say the "ongoing conversation" that occurs between growers and purchasers continues to improve and become more refined. Farmers have a better sense of what works for them - in terms of product choices and sales outlets. Tied to this, larger consumers such as restaurants and institutions have become better at incorporating Vermont foods into their programs. We know what works for us as well. Speaking as a restaurant owner, consistency of the local food purchasing system has improved immensely - in terms of food quality but also in terms of other important components such as packaging and delivery.

When you travel, how do you choose your places to eat? What's the best meal you've had outside of Vermont?

I go on personal recommendations from people that I trust (if I can). Sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor are pretty much worthless in my opinion. I also ask restaurant employees where they like to eat. If I'm overseas, I dig very deep online and try to find out where the locals eat.

And some of the best meals you’ve found?

This hipster place on the beach in Positano (Italy) - Da Adolfo- comes to mind. You can only get there by boat, really great food. Had a fantastic dinner at NoMad in NYC a year ago. It's very rare for me that an expensive restaurant lives up to the hype and price, but NoMad did in my opinion. Pizza at the legendary Da Michele in Naples was pretty much heaven. My wife (girlfriend at the time) and I had an incredible meal in Punta Allen. No idea what the place was called. Octopus ceviche, a really spicy lobster in broth dish, grilled fish and such.

What 5 Vermont products are always in your home fridge / cupboard?

Lots and lots of produce in season. We eat pretty much only veggies and fish in our house. I eat differently at the restaurants. Maple Syrup for my kids. Always Citizen Cider. We don't eat much dairy, but certainly local cheeses like Lake's Edge on occasion. When my wife is not looking, I will rip through a Red Hen baguette with some olive oil and Vermont cheeses. 

What’s on your mind right now about VFN and where we’re going?

VFN has an opportunity to increase its impact and add to its legacy. So much of the original mission has been achieved and continues to be achieved due to the hard work of staff and membership. I am interested in learning what else VFN can do for Vermont's food economy. We have the opportunity to support Vermont's thriving food economy with our food purchasing decisions. Vermont's a small state, and keeping our money in the state is a big deal. Farmers are the stewards of our working landscape. If we want the Green Mountain State to look great, have a thriving economy, (and taste great!) we better support those who are producing our food.

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