Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why I Do What I Do

Confession time: as a woman, as a mother, as a business owner, I feel like I never do good enough.  No matter how much I put in, no matter how hard I try, it's never enough.  I'm sure all you other women/mothers/CEO's (hey, when you own the business you get to pick your title.  Mine's Director of Agritourism.  Sounds important doesn't it?  Tomorrow I'm pulling weeds in the cucumber field.  Today I picked up trash.) understand.   Some days it doesn't matter how hard I try to be everything to everyone it's never good enough (of course I know it's because NO ONE can be everything to everyone, no matter how hard they try to make it look like that on Facebook or Pintrest.  It's physically impossible. But sometimes I forget and think I can be superwoman.  It's those times when I get slapped in the face by reality and it turns into an epic fail).  Some days it's like the stars are all out of alignment and everything I touch turns to s*** (sorry, there's really no other way to put it).  Some days I sit and look at the stresses I have going on, whether it's money or employees or the kids or the weather or The Husband and wonder why in the heck I'm doing this.  Why don't I go get some desk job somewhere where someone else tells me what to do and I never have to make decisions and I get weekends off to take my kids on wonderful vacations or little league practice and I don't have to plan everything around the oh-so-impossible-to-predict rain and I get a set paycheck every single week.  Why do I want to keep beating my head against this wall?

This entire strawberry season has felt like this to me.  It seemed everywhere I turned was an obstacle, everything I tried to do backfired, the help I hired (bless her heart) just didn't get it.  You name it it went wrong this season, the strawberries wouldn't seem to grow and when they did it was erratic, we had our first hailstorm, we had truck and tractor breakdowns, vehicle accidents (my car got backed into a tractor by the new employee while a group was here) the pickers didn't show half the time, I actually fell down in the middle of the field while talking to a group of students and parents from PPK (yes I did.  I was simply trying to explain where they needed to walk to get the least muddy and not to fall when my foot slipped right out from under me and I just slid down on my butt.  So I had to sit there while forty or so people stared at me as my thighs cramped like crazy and my face turned as red as the berries they were supposed to be picking while the force of irony set in).  It was our best and worst season all at the same time.  By the end I was just so ready to be done.  I wanted to erase the whole miserable 6 weeks from my brain.

Then three things that happened in our last few weeks that renewed my sense of purpose in this profession I've created for myself:  1 - I had customers plan their trip home to Kernersville (near Winston Salem) from their vacation just to come by our farm.  (They got lost in Nahunta and I had to tell them that they knew they were doing right when they passed the giant dinosaur.  Thank you Benton & Sons for giving me a reason to say that!)  How many farms did they pass?  10, 20?  They live in the Piedmont (the mecca of strawberry growers) and they came to our farm because they said they were the best strawberries they'd ever eaten.  I might be partial (or even a bad judge since I don't eat strawberries) but I have to agree.  2 - I went to the doctor (because of course I had to get my spring [I get one every season usually right before I have to speak to a group] cold during strawberry season.  Couldn't have waited a couple weeks or come a little early.  That'd be too much to ask) and I asked about making an appointment for The Husband and then told her i'd have to have him call since we farmed and his schedule was erratic and she thanked me for farming.  I've never had anyone thank me for farming.  3 - Just today, I was cleaning out my car getting ready to pack for our first CSA drop offs (I NEED a delivery vehicle, one not filled with random happy meal toys and old mail) when a couple pulled up.  She actually hugged me and thanked me for what we do, for having a farm where kids could come and see what farming is like.

Things like this have renewed my faith in this little career I've picked.  It makes me think that all that stress is worth it in the end.  Even though The Boy and The Girl aren't involved in every activity I might wish they could be and I can't be there to do fun stuff with them all the time, The Boy still tells me he's a farmer and gets mad when he can't go to meetings because 'he's a young farmer too' (plus they have a corn maze in their back yard, I'd have to say if I was a 6 year old boy that'd be considered winning).  If one person goes home with a new wrinkle in their brain, if one kid goes home and remembers the time they came out to the farm and had fun, if one person eats a great dinner from our CSA boxes, then that gives me the meaning and purpose I've been looking for.

My strawberry eatin' fool.

The Bossman
And apparently people are because we've had more groups than ever and more families coming out to have fun with us.  Enough that we're planting another acre next year (finally, after 5 years, it's all starting to pay off!  Thank you!!!).  A lot of times people leave and you don't know what kind of time they had.  The haters are always the first and loudest to give feedback, but you don't always hear from the people who appreciate what you do and enjoyed themselves.  To know that at least someone is gives that sense of satisfaction I needed to get me through the summer.  It makes me excited to do it all over again next year.  It also gets me looking forward to the fall.  It's a new season and who knows what it's going to bring!  What new learning opportunities will present themselves?  Hopefully I won't face-plant while walking through the corn maze.  Fingers crossed!

1 comment:

  1. I am thankful for what you do everyday, and so is my family! Being involved with your farm and getting a CSA every week has taught us so much. It has taught us that fresh IS good and affordable. It has opened our daughter's eyes to new foods (foods she previously would never have considered eating) because she finds it fascinating that she is eating food straight from the farm. It has also opened our eyes and our bellies to more delicious dinners and desserts. We love what you do, and HOPE you never stop!!!