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©John R. Turner

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Out and About with Word and Image of Vermont

The Farmers Diner
For a reason that doesn’t matter I got a credit at the Farmers Diner in Barre. So on Friday morning, April 23, 2004, we went over to our neighboring town for a late breakfast. From the placemat we learned that the the Farmers Diner “has always wanted to be a diner and has been a diner.” The placemat told the truth. The interior looks much like the diners I knew as a boy, and, when we walked in, the song on the sound track was “Stand By Your Man.” But though it is a diner in all essential respects, there are some differences that tell us the past and the present can be blended agreeably, without the kind of tensions that often attend nostalgia. For one thing, our waiter wore a Farmers Diner tee shirt with a statement from Wendell Berry printed on the back: “Eating is an agricultural act.” For another, the placemat also informed us that the diner buys most of its food from local farmers, like Duffy Gardner, who grows organic vegetables on the New Moon Farm.
I had eggs, homefries, toast, and a thick slice of ham, which deducted $4.95 from my credit. It was an entirely reasonable price. The food was good, the coffee was a step above what one usually gets in establishments that cater to the general public, the service was easy-going and pleasant. It was the sort of experience that used to be normal but that I’ve discovered from travelling round the country is not so normal anymore. So if you’re ever in Barre and want a non-formal meal, try the Farmers Diner. You’ll get your money’s worth.