Monday, March 12, 2012

Return on Investment

It is always with a great deal of enthusiasm and anticipation that we place the seed orders in late December or early January. It is exciting to look forward to the abundant crops and the verdant beauty that is summer on the farm.

However, it was with great shock and amazement…and not a small measure of disappointment that we opened the mailbox to see that BIG seed order the first time.
Years and years ago, when the seed order first went over 100 dollars, I was expecting a huge box. I figured I would have to go the Post Office to pick it up, or that UPS would have to deliver it. Imagine my surprise when the entire order fit in a little box inside our mailbox. We have a BIG mailbox (an important thing in rural America…saves lots of trips to the Post Office) but, still…

The days of hundred dollar seed orders are long-gone. The most recent single order received was relatively small by current standards, but that 500 dollar order STILL fit in the mailbox…in an even smaller box. Other seed orders have been placed and the total for the year exceeds that 100 dollar order tenfold…or fifteen fold…or…. This number doesn’t take into consideration the seeds we already have in our “inventory” or the perennial plantings that are part of the farmscape. The total may go far higher, depending on the late season crops chosen for the fall of the year.

WHAT? Wait! That’s a whole lot of money to spend on seeds and plants! Isn’t it?


You see, the money we spend on seeds and plants is an investment, pure and simple. Those seeds and plants, after being nurtured and harvested, yield our income for the year. (as well as providing most of the meals we eat) While we cannot possibly figure our labor into the equation, the return on the investment is significant. We will harvest tens of thousands of dollars of produce from that seemingly small investment from that little box in the mailbox. No, I am NOT exaggerating.

While that return on investment sounds unbelievable, you must also consider the time and effort that goes into each crop. The knowledge and ability to do the work are also a consideration. There are some who would say we would actually make more money flipping burgers somewhere. That might be right…although more than a little discouraging. I am sure that we cannot give true value to our efforts without pricing ourselves out of the market entirely. But, some value must be given to quality of life and the opportunity to eat excellent food at every meal. …as well as doing what you love, in a beautiful setting, and getting along with your co-worker.

So, every time I sow a seed, or we plant a seedling, it is with the knowledge that we will indeed enjoy a return on this investment, be it in a good meal or a sale at the Market.

Borrowing a line from Kenny Chesney’s “FREEDOM”…

It might not “be Wall Street…but this is much finer!”

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