Curious Questions from Observing the Everyday


Business Lessons From an Abundant Crop of Homegrown Berries   

It’s berry season, which means if you stop by to visit me at Red Sunflower Farm, you’ll likely be inundated with the smell of strawberry jam simmering on the stove, offered a helping of strawberry shortcake, or served up a fresh salad topped with ruby red fruit.

This time of year, Mother Nature is especially giving, offering up an unrelenting supply of produce for a fresh, delicious, and nutritious feast.

Just last week, my grandson and I spent the early morning tenderly plucking delicate raspberries from the shrubs. We selected the brightest on the bush and left the white and green ones to further ripen, knowing they, too, would soon be ready for picking.

I’ve written extensively about abundance and our sacred earth. It is, after all, our greatest reminder to take in our surroundings and appreciate what is right in front of us.

But nature also reminds us that conditions matter, too. If we headed out on a dewy Saturday morning and plucked every strawberry from the garden, without a concern for whether or not the fruit was ready to eat, we’d be sorely disappointed. Just as nothing is more glorious than a bright red strawberry at its peak, nothing is more alarmingly sour than an underripe fruit, not yet ready to eat. (Though some innovative chefs have solved for that problem by pickling green strawberries, but I digress.)

There’s a lot that can be learned about abundance from summer fruits. Here are just a few points worth noting:

  • The best strawberries you’ll ever taste are the homegrown kind. Red all the way to the core, when you grow-them-yourself, not only will the experience be more rewarding, but the flavor is infinitely better than the white-cored variety you’ll find at the supermarket. Much like in business, sweat equity and hard work makes the payoff that much sweeter.
  • Give strawberries room for runners by properly spacing the plants. Strawberry plants need room to grow in order to thrive. Sometimes in business, our best ideas and initiatives take up a lot of mental space — just as we build in space for a strawberry plant to properly grow, block off time to allow your mind and ideas to expand and come to fruition (see what I did there?).
  • Know your climate. Plant and harvest accordingly. Like most plants, strawberries will be ready at different times of year based on environmental conditions. If you plant your crops at the wrong time of year, you’re unlikely to yield any fruit at all. Do your research and understand that the conditions and timing must be right, for you to have success. Similarly, sometimes you can have the best idea, but if it’s not implemented in the right moment or in the right environment, it won’t take off —and that’s ok! Sometimes instead of abandoning an idea, it’s better to simply try a different timeline or adjust your circumstances and try again.

I’ll leave you with these curious questions:

What in my business is ready for picking and what still needs time to ripen?

If my ideas aren’t proving fruitful, what conditions can be adjusted before I try again?

Do I need more space to further hash out my idea? Or does my initiative simply need to be timed differently?

Which conditions are working and which conditions should be adjusted for my business to fully thrive?