Tomorrow is a big day; we will be watching as our 45th president is sworn into office. Across our country, and world, feelings are all over the place-some people are ecstatic, some downright scared to death, and others adopting the wait and see approach. As we sort through our feelings, we have decided to take a different approach. That approach is going to be about this North Country community that we are lucky to call home.
In the last couple of months, we have had the frequent opportunity to visit Long Lake, a hamlet with 700 permanent residents. It didn’t take long for us to develop some relationships, get to know some names, and learn some back stories and history. When we walk into a place up there, it is not unusual to hear, “the Compeaus are here!” as they shuffle over to hear what we have been up to since our last visit. These visits always remind us why we love living in this North Country region.
Here at Jake’s, we have created a family atmosphere for our employees. We really do respect and care for one another, and it is part of our mission that this philosophy trickles down to you, our guest. We encourage our staff to be friendly, engaging and genuinely interested in you and we hope you can feel that when you visit. Please introduce yourself when you come-talk to us, engage. We truly want to create a wonderful feeling of community. We want you to feel like Jake’s is “your” place and want to greet you by name when you come through our doors. We were reminded in Long Lake how good that feels.
The North Country is a unique place. Here, it is not usually about keeping up with the Joneses, or getting ahead, or acquiring bigger and better. Historically, it has been about the people-genuine caring about those we work and play with. It has been about community.
So, as we sit in anticipation of the Inauguration, this is what our approach to this new era is going to be: we are going to focus more on the people who compose our little area; we are going to smile more, engage in conversations with the people we come in contact with each day; we are going to ask about their family, and really care to hear the answer; we are going to shop local, and when we do we are going to have a conversation with the shop owners; we are going to write positive notes to teachers, doctors, bus drivers, and anyone else who goes above or beyond and touches our hearts in some way; we are going to support local organizations because it feels good and it makes a difference; we are going to do more random acts of kindness; we are going to lend a helping hand. We are going to work to make this little slice of heaven great again.
Won’t you join us? Great things happen in the North Country!
A quick internet search leads me to believe that the Farm To Table (Farm To Fork) movement began in 2000 in Berkeley California and Boulder Colorado, no surprise. The idea of locally sourcing products certainly made sense and the message restaurants were able to share worked well as a marketing tool to compete in crowded markets.
The movement caught on and literally thousands of restaurants, breweries and vineyards began boasting of locally sourcing items to assure freshness, quality and community impact. Unfortunately, with good intention came widespread fraud; claims of locally sourced products that were not, relationships with local producers that did not exist and altering of menu descriptions that deceived customers became common.
Of course we buy local as much as we possibly can. In fact as we wrap up our year end reporting I note that we purchased 110 different menu items from 21 different growers based in St. Lawrence or Franklin County at a cost of $91,022.00 in 2016. This is not intended to get us a pat on the back and I don’t need to share the value of a local commitment; I write this as a thank you to so many hard working producers.
It is currently 16 degrees and the wind is blowing at a steady 20 miles per hour, gusting to 40 mph occasionally. And I know that Daniel Martin, Dan and Meaghan Kent, Pat Kilcoyne, Cindy Rotman, Lee Matthews, Mark Martinchek and many others are probably wrapped in worn out layers of various “barn clothes” doing what they do best - caring for beautiful animals, duct taping greenhouses and farm tools together that should be replaced and scratching their heads trying to figure out how to make pennies get them through the long North Country winter once again.
A very sincere thanks to all of you from Jake’s. Because of your commitment we get to serve our guests food that we know is raised with care - food that tastes and looks amazing. We also get to feel good about doing what we can to help you stretch those pennies a bit futher.
Farm To Table is more than a marketing gimmick, it is a good thing.
In 1994, a little ball of yellow fur entered our world and stole our hearts. For eleven years, he was a constant companion showering our young family with unconditional love, energetic greetings and a pure, playful spirit. So, in his honor, we named our restaurant Jake's. May our restaurant offer you all Jake embodied: a friendly, welcoming place where you can come and be as you are.
Welcome to Jake's!