All our potatoes are now out of the ground.
The cooler is filled with those that are washed and sorted; the root house is filled with larger bins of both next year’s seed and those not yet washed and sorted. The potatoes are in.
Since someone will now ask if that means that “things are slowing down”, I will let you know that they are not. I don’t really anticipate that happening on the farm until there is snow on the ground. Some of the pressure is off as a full cooler and an empty field is a desirable state of affairs, but we still have to sell them.
Considering that they came off the worst field in our rotation, the crop looks pretty good. Overall, the yield is very reasonable, with a couple of varieties absolutely surpassed all previous yield records. I remember the last time, six years ago, that we were in this field. The yield was not good and a certain amount of anxious belt tightening occurred after that harvest.
However, I bring this up not to boast (but really, how great is that?), but to highlight a theory that has been put forth by many organic growers and researchers: over time, organic yields will increase to the point where they will surpass conventional chemically supported yields.
We have always been way too far behind to even think about this theory, but now we have reached the point where some of the numbers are getting quite close.
Never mind yields, though. If you can’t sell it then there’s not much to boast about. I always think it is slightly ironic that farmers, some of whom tend to be drawn to the solitary, head-down aspect of the work and lifestyle, must also be into sales.
One thing I think I know about myself is that I have good customer service skills. At one job or another, I have been selling food since I was 14 and I am pretty sure that I’ve picked up a few tricks and tips along the way. Plus, someone I admire in customer service said I was really good at it. We have a UBC farm apprentice student working for us at the Kits market, which has prompted this navel gazing hubris on my part.
Turns out this is nothing to boast about either. Since I started reflecting on the subject, my own customer service skills have more or less collapsed. I am certain that twice in two weeks I have driven away a customer as a direct result of my interaction with them.
Last week at Kits I failed to keep up with the situation and was still engaging in friendly banter with someone who was actually quite frustrated: he didn’t like my attitude. Today, I drove off a nice lady because her son was banging people’s legs with the handle of their massive wagon and I wanted him to stop. She was shocked at my attitude as well.
The ensuing market post mortem and gnashing of the teeth as I try to figure out why I would so badly misjudge situations that I have had countless times before, has entertained no one, although the incidents themselves provided interesting viewing. True confessions of a market vendor will end now with the reminder to self that: pride goes before the fall.
Anna Helmer thinks it might be as simple as going biking in the mountains for a day or two.