You're Actually in the Business of Growing Tomatoes
No matter what your business is, I have to tell you – you’re really growing tomatoes.
Let me explain. I was recently in Vermont for the weekend; Columbus Day weekend to be exact. If you’re not into gardening in New England, you may not know, but mid-way through October is pretty late for tomatoes. In fact, if you actually have any plants left that haven’t been hit by a frost, you’re still out of luck, because those that have made it that long aren’t really in great shape.
So, imagine my surprise when we stopped into a farm stand in Norwich, Vermont to buy some apples, and not only did they have fresh local produce, but it was nothing short of spectacular. Everything they had was locally grown, and just about perfect.
The produce included some of the most magnificent tomatoes I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen a lot of tomatoes. I’ve been growing tomatoes since I was a child. My Dad let me dig up the yard behind the garage for my first garden. And that’s not an easy task. You first have to dig out squares of lawn, break them apart with the edge of the shovel, shake out as much dirt as you can, and toss the grass aside. And do this over and over until you have your new garden plot ready.
But back to these beautiful tomatoes I saw in Vermont. They were huge; the size of softballs, and without blemish. Not only have I never grown tomatoes like these, but certainly not in October. So, I had to ask. How did they do it?
The answer? A LOT of work. A LOT of preparation. A LOT of care, and a LOT of attention to detail….every detail. First, they keep the soil warm. In the spring, they do this so that they can plant early and be the first farm stand in the area to have fresh local tomatoes. They heat the soil in the fall to keep the season going through October. They don’t let any rain fall on these tomatoes. Oh no. They are watered from beneath. They control the amount of sunshine and protect them from every pest that could challenge their tomato dominancy. They even prune back any leaf that may not be directly feeding nutrients into the fruit. (Tomatoes are, technically, a fruit.) No lazy suckers in their garden.
And at the end of all this, they pick them when they’re perfect, display them under calculated “farm stand esthetics”, and sell them for top dollar.
So, I ask you, if you want to have the best product or service out there, if you want to beat your competition every time, not only do you have to know how to grow your business, you need to be willing to put in the work.
How good are your tomatoes?