Glacier Park Collection

Pursuit’s Glacier Park Collection has a deep history of hosting and feeding guests from both near and far. And it’s clear that serving food is about more than just a meal, it’s about the shared history, goals, work and impact of the local culture.

The shared history

In the early 1900s, three events happened in close succession: in 1910 Glacier National Park was established, in 1911 the Hutterites founded their first Montana colony, and in 1912 construction began on Glacier Park Lodge in the town of East Glacier. Any people found in northwest Montana before that time were likely brought there by the railroad and timber industries, or they were descendants of the Séliš (Salish), Ql̓ispé (Pend d’Oreille or Kalispel) and Ktunaxa (Kootenai) tribes, or the Amskapi Piikani (the Blackfeet Nation of Montana) Peoples. At the start of the 20th century, tourism became a new draw to the area, and a new storyline began weaving through those that came before.

A group of farmers and chefs stand at a table of produce.

The shared goal

Both the Hutterite colony and Pursuit have a vested interest in sustainable farming practices. For the Hutterites, sustainability is a foundational tenant, one that supports their commitment to all material goods being held in common. And for Pursuit, enhancing and supporting the environment, the people and the place of each location is a guiding principle.

An agricultural partnership provides an opportunity to combine that shared commitment to the land, the people and the place. Farming is not just about a single meal, it’s about stewardship and careful practices to ensure healthy, nutritious crops for this season and the next and for every season to come. Just like the Hutterites are invested in farming their land for future generations, Glacier Park Collection is committed to feeding today’s guests and all those who will follow.

Two men stand in a vegetable field.

The shared work of growing and serving food

Nicole Smith, food and beverage director of Glacier Park Collection, says that the relationship between the Hutterite colony and Glacier Park Lodge predates her 20 plus year career. “When I started,” she says, “the Lodge team was already receiving weekly deliveries from the Hutterites. In the old days, they would drive up in a full produce truck and we would shop right there in the parking lot.”

This same arrangement continues today with a few convenient improvements.  Chefs now receive an order form ahead of time, so that the truck can deliver items and quantities accordingly. And with a more pointed communication system, the farmers and the chefs collaborate on future crop planning. “We’re able to make requests for menu items and they accommodate as best they — and the land — can,” says Smith.

The shared impact

“Local food is fresher and more delicious. That goes without saying,” says Smith with a smile. “But the farm-to-table partnership has an impact beyond the plate. The team is proud to talk about the Hutterite crops. There’s a story to tell, and the team and the guests both take that with them after the meal and the season ends.”

A vegetable field

Glacier Park Lodge and St. Mary Village have a close relationship with the Hutterites. Not only are their crops featured on the menus in every dining room, but these locations are a popular vacation destination for members of Hutterite colonies which span across southern Canada and the northern plains and Rocky Mountain region states. Smith expands on the far-reaching benefits of the Hutterite partnership. “When mainstream guests are exposed to Hutterite food and colony members vacationing alongside them, it prompts curiosity and growth. And the same goes for our team, too. Regardless of where people are from, being exposed to new ideas paired with delicious food is an awesome opportunity to ask questions and expand one’s understanding of the world,” she says.

A woman holds a bunch of green, leafy vegetables.

The farm-to-table partnership between Glacier Park Collection and the Hutterites is a mutually beneficial arrangement with a rich history and a promising future.

Smith reflects on that history when she says, “Some of the kids who used to ride along in the delivery truck are now the adults who are leading their efforts. It’s awesome to watch their continued success and their intergenerational commitment to sustainable farming.”

The committed partnership is clearly about more than just food. Smith says, “Pursuit has never been about what’s the minimum we can do, it’s quite the opposite. It’s about how much can we continue to do to keep it going and guarantee an ever-expanding impact for our neighbors, our guests and ourselves.”

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