Farming: The Ultimate Education
When a city girl and a farm boy get together, magic happens. But they don't tell you the rest of the story.
When I, Katherine, first met Bradley he was selling vegetables at the farmer's market in Wimberley, Texas and I was his first customer of the day. It was exactly 109 degrees. Neither one of us knew how our worlds would change after that day.
Bradley is a 6th generation farmer and has been taught his craft from life experience, trial and error, and tried-&-true family traditions. He had 36 years of study in an expansive outdoor classroom. I, on the other hand, a 5th generation college student, had lived 18 years of my life in a very structured disciplined and air conditioned traditional classroom setting. Two academic degrees and ten years of jet setting later I thought I knew what a rigorous education looked liked.
I was so wrong.
Farming is the whole package. It's entrepreneurship/manufacturing with a shop floor managed by mother nature (and no one can have a little chat in the conference room with her about how her performance might be affecting production.)
I wish people knew how hard it is. When you buy something from us, it was planted by hand, weeded by hand, harvest by hand, washed by hand, packed by hand, and displayed at the market by hand. Farming is seven days a week and starts before dawn and goes till after dusk. It’s constant problem-solving in a constantly changing environment.
I often tell people... if you summed up our profession in a college track it would need to be a multidisciplinary degree including soil science, horticulture, entomology, biology, animal health, pasture management, water conservation, wildlife management, food handling, post-harvest logistics, and meteorology with electives in carpentry, construction, welding, electrical engineering, plumbing, mechanics (diesel preferred), emergency preparedness, and first aid.
Then add a second major in sales, marketing, public relations, social media management, statistics, accounting, business strategy, and finance, with more minors in product placement, public speaking, media relations, photography, and merchandising.
And it’s also pretty handy if you can write grants and drive a stick shift.
I've been learning and studying most of my life, and since I joined Bradley in full time farming, my lessons and aha moments are hitting record highs. It's the hardest, the most rewarding, and the most important thing I have ever done.