I’m a true Southerner and proud of it! I am the product of two huge families that have deep roots in Kentucky who learned to live off the land. Both of my parents were raised on their family farms and grew up with lots of siblings – a combined total of 16! Both families knew how to work together as a team to run the family farms, knew how to use all resources to their fullest potential and how to not spend money needlessly.
Both of my grandfathers had a deep passion for gardening and had huge plots to feed their big families. Both of my grandmothers were excellent cooks and knew how to make the best of what came from the garden when the produce was harvested and knew not only how to cook the fresh produce while in season, but also how to can or freeze the produce for those long, cold winters that hit Kentucky.
There has never been a time in my life when I have not had a summer full of fresh produce straight from the garden. Between my grandparents’ gardens and our own, something was always coming out of the garden between April and October. When I was young, I did not appreciate having to work in the garden as much as we were expected. Many a summer day were spent snapping buckets of green beans in preparation for canning, shucking bushels of corn that would be cut from the cob and frozen, or picking and cleaning strawberries and tomatoes to freeze or can.
All those years of being a part of the gardening process and then the cooking process to turn our produce into some amazing meals has really helped form who I am today. I absolutely love to work in my flower beds, and I still work the garden at my parent’s house. I also enjoy cooking and using fresh produce as the opportunity arises to make some great tasting, nutritious meals for my family.
I have been in marketing since graduating college in 1991 and I see a lot of parallels with cooking and marketing, both related to gardening. Successful gardening takes laying a strong foundation, planting the seeds or small seedlings and nurturing them until the time is right to harvest the produce. The fresh produce is a unique and brief opportunity; you have such a short time period each year where you can have the freshest items to use in cooking. Rarely will you have fresh produce that goes from garden to table in under 24 hours.
Successful marketing is all about having a strong foundation within your company and knowing the timing of opportunities. Being aware of your surroundings by knowing your competition, understanding your sales cycles, and keeping track of your client preferences are all good components of a strong foundation. This fertile ground produces these same small windows of opportunity and requires immediate action. As these opportunities arise, take advantage of them quickly so you can maximize potential for results by striking fast.