I grew up on a farm, what a wonderful time that was! Compared to other children, I had a huge natural playground, but I also learnt all sorts of things about food, like where it comes from, how it grows and what you have to do to look after it. Farming is and will always be a delicate balance between various interests: finance, quality and quantity, the environment, family life and the need to get ahead to build up a sustainable business. It is in any case hard work, creating a beautiful and authentic product.
When I went to college, I made friends with people who hadn't grown up in the countryside. First and foremost, it gave me a broad outlook, but also insights into how people regarded food and farmers. What struck me was that almost everyone, whether in the countryside or in the city, has a very definite, personal opinion about food and its production. Food is emotion! I very quickly became aware of that. The most surprising conclusion was that there isn't much difference between what a farmer produces and what a consumer is looking for. Food needs to be authentic, reliable and of good quality. How did the two lose sight of each other?
When I look back on those days, the discussions, the emotions and stories around food, I realise that they were the foundation for this letter. Knowing how much energy a farmer invests in growing and harvesting beautiful products and paying attention to what a consumer really wants, there can only be one conclusion: it's time to change direction, time for action! So I've set myself a clear objective: let's approach the way we make our food differently, more intelligently, sustainably and so that the consumer recognises the farmer and his products in what he or she buys. Our food needs to become valuable again and that means that we are going to give it a face, whether the farmer lives round the corner or if he grows bananas for you on the other side of the world.
Such an aim demands imagination, perseverance, patience, and, above all, teamwork. So first of all, I looked for people and companies who can work together on our common goal, matching the consumer's demand with the passion of the farmer. We have worked hard together on our first products; products where we tell you precisely what we do, how we do it and why we do it. No romanticism, just good food.
So surprise yourself today and invite me to your breakfast or lunch, or something else. I look forward to meeting you and embarking on this journey together.