Multi-Generational Businesses-The Tuttle Market Gardens PDF Print E-mail
Covenantal Families

 

CASTING A VISION FOR MULTIGENERATIONAL FAMILY BUSINESS

 

America’s Oldest Family Farm by Jon

 

For the last 350 years, the Tuttle family has owned and operated Tuttle Market Gardens. This legacy began in 1632, when John Tuttle and his family set sail from England to New England. On the way, while dropping off supplies for families in Maine, a hurricane destroyed their ship and supplies. Undaunted by this turn of events, John Tuttle, his wife, and four-year-old daughter continued their trek on foot to settle in Dover, New Hampshire, still the present location of the family business. What began as 20 acres expanded to the present 200 acre Tuttle Market Gardens, presently operated by the 11th generation. Unfortunately, this multigenerational farm is now for sale because there are “no descendants willing to step in.

 

As our family watched the following two videos, we all immediately asked ourselves how this could happen after 11 generations of faithfulness. Here we are trying to continue my own family’s farming legacy, looking for God’s blessing to a 1,000 generations, while this family, after only 11 generations, is calling it quits. Certainly the economy, governmental regulations, taxes, and competition from chain stores have all taken their toll on the viability of this farm. And, yes, I know from personal experience that farm work is hard work and never ending. Yet on the one hand, undaunted by my 63 years, I am frothing at the bit to get back to farming for my children’s children while Will Tuttle, on the other hand, age 63, feels it unfair to ask his son to carry the torch. In fact he goes on to say thatit would be totally unfair for me to say that yes this will continue; one of my kids will run it.

 

He admits to working 70 hours a week. I work closer to 80 now, and I am looking forward to working harder on our farm. The key to this disparity lies in the fact that the present Tuttles do not possess a vision for their legacy, while Candy and I do. This is quite apparent in Will Tuttle’s remarks that we have to live our lives for ourselves and not for a legacy we really did not ask for. He also unashamedly confesses that he is not sentimental and therefore allows his New England values of common sense to guide him, not history. So he says that he can either work hard for so many bushels of corn per acre or sell that acre for $35,000 and sit on his front porch drinking ice tea.

 

So here is the difference. I do possess a vision for my legacy. I don’t believe that we should live our lives for ourselves but for our posterity. I am thankful for my heritage. I am sentimental and always use history to guide my decisions. And I am going to work hard for my cattle and crops even though I could make more money selling the land. Actually, I am not selling but am looking to purchase more land. To this end, I lead my family in prayer each night over the plat map of the area, beseeching God to bless us with thousands of acres for my children’s children. And I do expect this fourth generation of my children to work hard together to continue the Summers Family Farm legacy, to honor my vision, and to pass that vision on to their children.

 

In view of the Tuttle Farm’s precarious situation, we need to realize that it is not enough to instill a love for the land and for the legacy, we must also diligently impress upon our children their responsibility to impart to their children their responsibility to carry on the legacy. This is the significance of family covenants. Just as God repeatedly impressed upon His children to remember and celebrate their marvelous heritage, we must do the same.

 

Psalm 105:8-11 “He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac. Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion of your inheritance.’”

 

Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him.”

 

http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/07/30/oldest.family.farm.tuttle/index.html

 

In the following interview, Will’s sister admits that she ran away from the family farm because she was tired of all the hard work. However, like the prodigal, she realized that she had an inheritance that no else had, and so she returned to help her father expand the vision even more. Sadly, however, she failed to impart this to her children, as they are unwilling to continue. Each of the siblings failed to prepare the hearts of their children to be faithful to their fathers.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P4KeQCO8PI

 

Even though God commanded His children to remember and celebrate their miraculous deliverance, they quickly forgot their legacy.

 

Psalm 106:13,21,22 “They quickly forgot His works…They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt, wonders in the land of Ham, and awesome things by the Red Sea.”

 

Psalm 78:11-13 “They forgot His deeds and His miracles that He had shown them. He wrought wonders before their fathers in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through, and He made the waters stand up like a heap.”

 

Therefore, let us faithfully prepare our children’s hearts to faithfully prepare their children’s hearts to prepare their children’s hearts, and all subsequent generations, that they must be faithful to their family heritage in order to keep their rich inheritance.

 

Psalm 78:1-8 “Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, and not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God.”