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Issue 68 June - Editor's Letter

Issue 68 June - Editor's Letter

So much about this business is indescribable. Our inability to find the exact language, that sentence that coalesces an emotion into its verbal expression—this is why we have metaphors. But we try, time and time again, to build a bridge between the indescribable and the perceptible.

This leads to an even bigger discussion we have on our team. How do we make a story unique to the company or person we are writing about? How do we find that indescribable focal point and synthesize it with language? Our goal is not to produce or manufacture connection, but to find the source of a narrative thread and tug on it. Pull it into existence and then weave that thread—that company, the individual’s journey, a time and place—through the center of the page and then out toward the reader.

I believe this is done best when the most human elements in us, as writers and as subjects of such a story, are allowed to come to the surface and find a home on the page. At times, metaphors bridge that connection—pun intended. But, I also liken the personal and intimate parts in each of us to that rare gem in which we can almost decode the story of a life as a whole.

Confused? I get it. Here is an example. You cannot truly know me or understand me without knowing that I am a swimmer. I cannot remember taking a lesson, even though it happened, and I cannot remember my first plunge into the water, even though I probably choked with a fury. But to know that I once competed at a young age, stretched my existence into the water, changed the way the body moves, is to know where I feel most comfortable, where I feel safe, both floating and flying, and what fuels me. This is why I stay close to water.

I believe that who we are when we wake up in the morning, when we wrap our arms around our loved ones, when we carry on a family ritual, when we run that extra mile at sunrise, or sand down the edges of a chair we have built from scratch…matters to the stories we tell here. I often get anywhere between a mild and strong resistance from companies or people when I ask about their personal lives or stories—those elements which they feel are on the periphery of produce. When I ask them what they like to do when they step away from their desks or when they play with their children, there is that unmistakable pause—and I see the divide at work. I understand this, that imperfect work-life balance attempt to separate church and state. In my mind, the truly wonderful way to honor what we do at work is to honor the magnitude of our personal lives as a testament to the drive and passion we bring to our every day and vice versa.

So, like a metaphor or image we slide into a sentence or a story to reveal a sentiment that basic language cannot communicate on its own, our personal stories—the ones that we think are so separate from professional relevance—are actually the ones that might reveal the most about our produce stories. They are what makes each of you—us—special, unique, and individual. They are the moments that give products and logos and values a face and a voice.

One thing I have learned about this industry is that there is a layering effect we must respect. That a foundation must be laid, that trust happens, at times, in small increments. So, please let these stories we share with you show you our care and attentiveness; our sensitivity to your truths. I have witnessed vulnerability become strength in these recent years, and resilience become an art form. Our industry is born to adapt, and those stories are my favorite to write.

And if I am hearing you, our treasured readers, correctly—they are the ones that you love to read.

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