The hard part of learning

Most people think the hard part of learning is the work. That’s not always true. Sometimes the hard part is confronting the fact that what you already “knew” is wrong.

I relearned this lesson this week. I’ve been frustrated that our figs don’t seem to be coming into season in accordance with the schedule I have in my head. I’ve considered weather; I’ve considered known ripening times for the same varietals in the San Joaquin Valley; I’ve relied on my memory of past fig harvests… but this year’s reality just didn’t seem to match.

When things don’t add up, it’s time to look for new information. I went looking and realized that there was a source that I hadn’t examined. The invoices from past year’s fig sales. Sure enough, these invoices proved that my memory was faulty. While we probably have had plenty of July figs to eat amongst the family, the invoices prove that for the last four years, commercial sales have never started before August. Never. So much for my estimate.

This has been an embarrassing lesson for me since it is one that I have had to learn publicly. We were supposed to provide figs for a few events, and I have had to tell friends and customers that I goofed, and we simply will not have the figs available.

The good news is that I now have a much better tool for forecasting our fig availability. I’m a better farmer for having learned this lesson. The work wasn’t hard. But that didn’t make it easy.

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