Friday, August 19, 2011

Growing Excitement

This week Natalie and I attended the DGA (Direct Gardening Association) summer conference in Chicago. Arriving at our hotel was nothing short of amusing, especially to the locals. Not only did we try to go through the revolving doors in the wrong direction, but we also managed to become briefly stuck in the elevator (having to use the room key card to get the elevator to go up was new to both of us). Although slightly out of our element, we definitely had a great experience (and more than a few laughs). The objective of the conference was to give business owners (and their employees in some cases, like ours) new ideas and information to enable them to manage smarter while also learning ways to engage new customers. It was also a great opportunity to network with other businesses. We will be sharing what we learned with Joe and Mary Ellen when they return, and hopefully begin putting a few of those great ideas to work for FFP soon! 

Even in Chicago they tell you to GO to Peshtigo.

Managing a business and having to make decisions while the bosses are away is a huge responsibility, just ask Natalie! She has been managing the office for the past two weeks... that adds up to a lot of phone calls, a lot of order processing, a lot of work, period! For me, and no doubt the rest of us here at FFP, there is a sense of admiration. Admiration for Joe and Mary Ellen, who have kept this business going strong for 28 years. It's not always easy, but it is definitely rewarding. Especially on a day like today. A customer called with absolutely wonderful things to say about our mushroom spawn. He was sincerely impressed with the amount of oyster mushrooms that are currently fruiting at his home in Minnesota. As a first time grower of oysters, there was real excitement in his voice. Yes, mushrooms can be exciting! As with flowers, vegetable gardens, Chia Pets, and even businesses... watching something grow bigger and stronger and knowing you had at least a small part in it brings about a rewarding sense of accomplishment.


These Almond Agaricus mushrooms, Agaricus subrufescens, just popped up
under one of the farm's pepper plants. Talk about excitment...I had never seen one before!

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