What I Learned from a Produce Stand

Brian picSummer is the time for fresh fruits and vegetables. Officemate Anne Stahl brought in a gift of heirloom tomatoes from her garden. It doesn’t get any easier than that. A number of those tomatoes went directly into sandwiches, mostly along with some avocado and a slice of candy onion (much sweeter than Vidalia). I had never heard of a candy onion until one day at the roadside produce stand on Lafayette Road in Hopkinsville, still well within a heavily traveled part of town. In fact, it’s across from the mom and pop pharmacy I use, and also along the way to work on days when driving a two-lane road sounds fun.

What I’m trying to say is that the produce stand is right there. Just pull over into the gravel and step up to a colorful display of summer’s favorites, one of them being peaches. The place is open six days a week, meaning that there is no need to get up early on market days downtown, or at the mall parking lot. Somehow the oomph on market days seldom happens.produce

Peaches were my mother-in-law’s favorite fruit, and she was a peach herself. This summer, we’ve had peaches out on the counter a lot more often, as well as squash in the pot, and okra for my wife (not me on the okra thank you, but I do like it in soups and chowders). Peaches sliced on cereal are incredible, as well as in a bowl with bits of pie crust baked and stored for the occasion. Pour on some half and half, and the worst problems can disappear for at least fifteen minutes.

What I’m getting at though is that appetite alone remains in the mind unless action is taken, and action isn’t taken if access isn’t easy enough. That sounds lazy. However, isn’t the average person lazy about something? I suggest that we all have a few things that we like, but not well enough to make much of an effort for until accessibility gets so ridiculously simple that any self-respecting person would say, “It’s right here. I can at least stop for five minutes and do this.”

peachesThis experience got me to thinking about education. Not everybody hunts down education and takes advantage of it no matter what. Even with all the recruiting and ads for education, prospective students can think, “That would be good,” but not go after it. But what if education landed right in a person’s path, and ignoring it became embarrassingly ridiculous. Ideally, it should be embarrassingly ridiculous not to read, learn, and think. Practically speaking, such are more of an acquired taste.

That is why we bait people—to entice them by making access easy. Then with a good experience or two, inertia decreases, or at least that’s the idea. Desire has to form. Bait has to do its job and stir a reaction to try a thing. Momentum can then build and escalate. We weren’t born doing much of anything except being held, feeding, and sleeping. Everything after that came from adults putting things in our way, or along our way, to stimulate all those things that are good and proper for maturing into reasonable and satisfactory human beings—who eat their fruits and vegetables among other things.takeabite

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