Will Allen: farming Genius



Last week, on a particularly bad day, I told Peter that skipping one Tuesday market at Lincoln Square would be like getting an entire week off. The haggling and tight quarters get to me. I left a voice mail for Peter: "Hey, I just wanted to say that I fucking hate this market right now and also do you think the cups to sample cider are on the truck somewhere or did you take them off?"

He said he'd do what he could to get me a day off. Then he asked if I thought the other guys could get everything set up and manage on their own for a day. I thought about it for a few seconds and then do you know what I said? "I don't know . . . maybe not."

Try to imagine the dire consequences here.

We arrange the apples from tart to sweet. What if ONE OF THE APPLES WERE OUT OF SEQUENCE? Some of the apples look quite similar. What if someone thought they were purchasing a Golden Delicious and they instead PURCHASED A GOLDEN SUPREME? The other guys are newer and aren't going to be as familiar with what we grow as I am. What if a customer asked if we grew a certain kind of apple AND THEY DIDN'T KNOW THE ANSWER?

What if someone came up and asked "What's a good apple to eat?" and I wasn't there to respond "IT DEPENDS ON WHAT KIND OF APPLES YOU LIKE TO EAT"?

So like a fucking idiot, I told Peter that I thought I'd better at least go set up the market and put things in motion for the day.

I drove the truck over at 5, helped unload and set up, and got back home by 7. I made myself an espresso and opened up Gapers Block.

The top item made me smile. I texted Peter: "holy shit! did you see that Will at Growing Power won a MacArthur Genius Grant? 500,000 dollars!!"

Growing Power sells at the Green City Market with us and I've met Will. Hearing that Will got this money made me really happy. Even happier than having a day off on which I had to wake up at 4:30 to work.

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