An American Dream: The Birth of Frost Produce

Anyone who is acquainted with my father knows that he loves gardening.

I mean, really loves gardening.  On clear days, he spends from sunrise to sunset (and sometimes longer) outdoors with his plants.  My mom once told me that Dad views gardening as “communing with God.”  I believe him, as my father’s tomatoes are renowned throughout our little section of Pleasant Grove.  A neighbor, perhaps a Bro.  S. Wadley, told my father last summer that people had started calling him “The Tomato King”.

Upon hearing this, my dad, looking up from his work long enough to acknowledge the man and wipe the sweat from his brow, merely shrugged and said, “Oh.  I had no idea people took notice.”  He gave a little laugh, shook his head and added, “I just like tomatoes.”

Young tomatoes in the greenhouse

And there you have it, folks, the reason my father’s garden is so successful:

He loves what he does.

And we, as members of the Lindsay family, would like to share that love with you.

Not that Dad isn’t generous already; he possesses a formidable philanthropic streak, but there is a window of opportunity here (which I, his daughter, have shamelessly seized), and I’m curious to see what happens when I merge my dream of becoming self-sufficient with my father’s dream of getting to grow stuff.

And so, I twisted Dad’s arm until I convinced him that he should let me turn his gardening venture into a business.

The idea first came to mind last year when he came back from delivering some tomato plants that he had grown from seed, telling me that he turned down payment for them.  The idea persisted when Dad started bringing home the same news with several of the tomato plants he delivered.

The wheels in my head started turning, and I couldn’t help but consider the possibilities; Dad spends all winter making his own compost, which he then mixes with top ingredients for the vegetables he grows (most from seed), although we aren’t “officially certified USDA organic”, we are more natural than the grocery store, all of our tomatoes are cold treated to be resilient during unexpected cooler spells, we have an abundance of crop each year, not to mention the fact that Dad is in love with his garden already…

But Frost Produce does not have expansive ambitions.  Such a vision taints the charm of a “Mom-and-Pop”-like operation.  We view it more like a quaint farmer’s market in the middle of the neighborhood.  And my father has been quite adamant: he wants to keep loving doing what he loves, and so all the “business stuff” is my department, which is fine, since I’m the one who roped him into giving this idea a shot.

Consequently, I thought it only reasonable that a business should have a blog.  I mean, it’s almost mandatory these days, and there are all sorts of delicious possibilities that open up when the internet is thrown into the mix.  If only I knew how to work Facebook.

The purpose of starting this blog now (I don’t believe Frost Produce will be official until near Christmas, at the very earliest) is to familiarize myself with the process of monetizing a hobby.  It’s not as though Dad and I are going to rent a building on Main Street or take out advertisements on a billboard by the 15.  (So, it’s probably a good thing I don’t know how to work Facebook; overexposure is not in the business plan.)

I don’t expect  much will change outwardly, but gradually, perhaps as soon as this fall, members of the community will be able to purchase shelled (and roasted, if desired) walnuts from my grandmother’s walnut orchard, and when the winter comes and Dad starts his tomato plants, a portion of what he grows will be specially ordered, babied and cooed over, fussed about and spoiled and loved (and cold treated) as only a truly green thumb could do.

And I, business manager, PR queen, and writer extraordinaire, will attempt to turn provident living into a reality, not just a dream.

Tomatoes, anyone?


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