Is the produce industry still a relationship industry?
The answer depends. Many experienced produce veterans have decried how communicating has changed, noting that technology has commoditized the industry. No longer, some have noted, do people talk with each other. The all-important phone contact and occasional in-person visit are rare.
Commodities are just that—commodities.
It surely makes for faster—but impersonal—trading. A cherry or apple is no longer something to be discussed as a thing of beauty; rather, it’s a thing, like a doorknob. The awe of a piece of fruit, held in your hand, for all to see how perfect and how tasty it is, is not a big deal. Or so many say.
I beg to differ.
When I walk into a supermarket and behold the panoply of color, size, texture, and selection, it’s almost overwhelming. Fresh produce is really about touch, taste, and sound (think the crunch of an apple or the snap of a carrot).
From apples to zucchini and everything in between, we are privileged to work with Mother Nature. Indeed, produce is God-inspired.
Yes, produce is hard work, frustrating at times, but no other industry offers such wonderful opportunities to bring nature to the consumer. Only the produce industry.
A pleasure to be a part of, yes, but even more, it is an honor.
This is why produce is, and will forever be, a relationship industry—because it’s simply impossible to think of something so perfect and honorable as a thing.