noun, plural syn·er·gies.
the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.
Another dictionary describes Synergy as ‘ the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.”
There are so many places that Synergy is important. Family life, coworkers, day to day interactions with strangers, they all require synergy. When synergy exists, results are beneficial to everyone because you are using individual strengths and weaknesses to benefit a collective group. It is important to know our strengths and our weaknesses and equally important to know and appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of our environment and our fellow persons involved.
Farmers understand synergy better than most. They strive to find the strengths and weaknesses of their entire operation from soil quality, to seed quality to adaptations for weather that are beyond their control, to harvest and shipping to consumers. The process involves long hours of planning, hoping and often back breaking work. Planting companion plants to reduce pest, hand picking produce to benefit the plant, cover crops to restore the soil are all part of the synergy of farming.
The farmers for St Croix Valley Produce also use synergy to team with the horses that help in many aspects of the farm. From breaking ground to hauling hay, it is the teamwork that makes it possible. Synergy happens when one person’s strength fills the gap for another’s weakness and vice versa. A better experience and outcome happen when synergy is present. Lacking Synergy can cause any business to fail. "Our picked today, on your table tomorrow" is an amazing representation of Synergy and so much more than a participation in the “Farm to Table” movement.
Thomas Keller, arguably one of the best chefs in the world today, told MyRecipes.com that he thinks Farm to Table is Absurd. This is part of what he said to writer Natalie Compton:
“There's no true definition of local. Some people say it's a 25-mile radius. As far as a horse and carriage can go in a day. I have no idea. Local to me is an irrelevant term. What’s more important is quality.
Think about this, you say a couple hundred miles. So, within that couple hundred miles is a farmer who grows carrots. He doesn't really care about the carrots, he doesn't really care about the dirt, and he doesn't care about you. He just grows carrots because he can sell them to you, because you can only buy his carrots, because you're a local boy. There's a guy 210 miles away who's like so, so, so in love with his ground and carrots. He grows the best carrots. But he can't sell them to you. And you know what, he can't sell them to anybody else because there's not a town that's close to him. What happens to that farmer? He gets lost in the process. This idea of local is absurd. We all sit around drinking coffee talking about this idea of local and there's not a coffee plantation anywhere near us. We eat sugar. We have pepper, vinegar. We consume so much food that is not local. Where did this idea of local come from?”
At St Croix Valley Produce, we are local to the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin, and our farmers care about the land, the resources, the work and the product that our farms produce. Because Synergy is at the core of what our farmers believe, not only to create superior vegetables, but to ensure the land is healthy and will be passed on to future generations and that you have the freshest best produce on your table. If only people would work in that harmony with each other, the world might be a little bit better of a place.
In the meantime, maybe Thomas Keller should open a restaurant near us, so he can utilize a true synergistic approach and show what true Farm to Table can mean. Because we grow carrots (and other things) We love the land that produces the carrot, and we love the carrots themselves. Maybe Thomas Keller can talk about “Synergistic Farm to Table” in his next interview?
Don’t forget to eat local!
The Radicle and 2021
We have wrapped up the first month of 2021 and are busy at St Croix Valley Produce preparing for the growing season. As snow covers the fields and greenhouses, meetings are being held, seed is being ordered and relationships with all sorts of customers are being strengthened to ensure that we meet the needs and desires of our valued customers. As those preparations are underway, it had me thinking about radicles. 2020 was radical, which is an entirely different word, but 2021 will give us the roots we need to sustain our New Normal, hence the RADICLE.
In Plant science, botany, and in agriculture in general, we all remember our elementary school science class and propagating a bean or sunflower seed with a damp paper towel and plastic baggie. The miracle of life played out in a school building window. As we advanced in school, we may have learned the different names for parts of the plant, and about photosynthesis. My favorite part of any plant is the Radicle.
Features of Radicle
When we plant seeds, the first part to emerge in the miracle of growth is the radicle. It is the lower part of the axis and becomes the primary, rudimentary root. It literally is the lifeline and anchor to the plant. As we plan our 2021 season, I hope you will join us on the journey. Become radicle with your food choices. Know from where that food comes from, and in a world of uncertainty, be the radicle that gathers loved ones around the table, nourishing each other. And be sure and follow along with us has we update you from seed, to radicle, to plant to harvest.
As we gather ice for the icehouses that will cool our produce all season long, we know we are preparing for an amazing season. Our farmers care about their land and the food that it produces, each segment of a growing season has a lot of stories, and we will share them here. You might meet a few of our customers who have found great value in locally grown, too. Those customers are making a difference in food deserts, in restaurants and in grocery stores and right to their tables.
From wholesale produce, to cooperatives to CSAs, St Croix Valley Produce has you covered.
Photo credit Genius website 6th grade biology