Friday, November 6, 2015


Have you ever heard someone say that their peppers were way hotter than normal this year because we were in a drought, or the beets were way more beetier because the gophers took a bite out of them.

I can't prove it analytically, but...

Empirically (which means by observation) I have observed this to be true.

Did you know that seafaring people used to pick their trees for the masts of their boats from the trees along the sea coast or at least along the edge of the forest. The trees that had seen the most distress caused by heavy winds were the strongest, because the stood out from the crowd and weren't sheltered by their neighbors.

In the same way adverse conditions or distress brings out some of the valuable flavors or features in the vegetables. We are very quick to discard these not quite perfect vegetables. Often the farmer keeps these at home because he knows his customers will preference only cosmetically perfect fruit or roots. I think we will find someday that "studies will show" these overlooked vegetables actually have the best nutrient profile or are higher in cancer fighting substances.

In the same way if people have to figure out a path through adversity. They also become stronger and more savory. They have more wisdom to offer to the rest of us. For example:

  1. The student in college who hangs in there and works hard, but maybe only gets B's when they'd really like to be getting A's. Because they went to a small rural school that didn't have "college prep" courses. I'd rather hire this person than the person who got easy A's, because they the student who had to work hard will know how to persevere in adversity.
  2. The person who has had to work through an illness like cancer also has great tenacity.
  3. I don't think the rest of us know how hard this is, but the family who has gotten off of welfare and has achieved success financially is to be admired. Many new imigrients have done this. I think of the Hmong farm families who typically don't even utilize government programs even though they could. They know that the government "safety net" becomes a source of entanglement and dependency.
  4. Many farm families work a job off the farm so their children can grow up on the farm. There has always been adversity due to weather, pests, and markets in agriculture. Even so farm folks are some of the strongest families in our society.

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