Thursday, February 20, 2014

Life From the Seat of a Tractor

When I was little, my dad bought a farm.

He's a beer and wine importer and was, at the time, working 100 hours a week growing his company. But he still bought a farm.

The years following were a series of pretty comical stories as he attempted to, with the help of his neighbors, become a part time farmer living off the land. Always his faithful sidekick, I remember tagging along (at 4 AM, no less) when he went to his first farmers market to sell his organic lettuces. It was then that I realized a few things: first, there's way more to growing your own stuff than I realized, and second, my dad is a true salesman. I don't mean the latter in the used car kind of way; on the contrary, he engaged his customers, spoke to them like he understood them, and showed them all how passionate he was about his damn lettuce. He cared so deeply and genuinely wanted his customers to like what he was selling, and he sold every bag of greens effortlessly.

I was inspired. I used some of our hard-earned profits to buy a mini pecan pie from the baker's booth next to us. And then I set out to spend my life trying to become just like him.

Now that he's been farming for twenty years, he has a few words to live by, and I find that those are applicable lessons to all of us farmers, whether you're growing grapes or lettuce.

You cannot unsay a cruel word. This goes for slightly unkind words, too. Keep it real, keep it polite, and keep it as pleasant as you can.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. People talk too much sometimes. Quiet stands out.

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try ordering someone else's dog around. Yep.

Riverbench may never be the trendiest, loudest, or even most popular winery. We won't elbow our way into the spotlight. We'll passionately and persistently share our relentless quest for quality, and tell you about our efforts because we simply love what we do so much. Because at the end of the day to us, that's what counts.