– SUMMARY –
Farm is open 7 days a week 9:00 to 6:00 rain or shine • Pick raspberries now • Pick flowers now • Pick strawberry stragglers now (if you can find any) • Fresh donuts Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11:00 to 5:00 • Goodies at the stand = scapes, cukes, blueberries, cherries, honey, syrup, pottery, flowers, slushees • COVID protocols include (1) Keep SAFE social distance, (2) wear your MASK in closer quarters, (3) monitor your CHILDREN, (4) Do not bring BAGS or containers for u-picking – we’ll provide til further notice • Drive slowwwly on the farm • Thank you for supporting small farms and being kind/rational beings
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FAITHFUL FARMKETEERS: It is not your fault if the Farmers Almanac – venerable compendium of meteorological mumbo jumbo, astronomical hocus pocus, and home gardening gobbledyguck – no longer seems to advance your personal agricultural enterprise. We feel it too. So we are compiling a new guidebook, a nouveau farmopedia, a psychological toolkit for the analytical fruit grower in tumultuous times.
Chapter One – and this Fresh Crop Alert – will cover cognitive biases. What are they? Cognitive biases are ways in which human judgements often diverge from rational thinking. Indeed, ways we are predictably irrational and act against our own interests! First described by behavioral economists in the 1970s, cognitive biases have been explained in terms of heuristics, rules which are easy for the brain to process, but which introduce systematic errors of thinking. There are dozens of such dubious mental shortcuts that impact our lives from shopping to dating to governing to… yes… even farming. Here we offer a free sample of cognitive biases, paired with items from your normal weekly picking news. Perhaps this modest public service will raise awareness of ways that we could understand each other better, and form a more rational, compassionate union.
The Semmelweis Reflex. A classic. The tendency to reject new evidence that contradicts an existing paradigm. Are you guilty of this? Yes! If you’re not sure, consider its bedfellow, the Confirmation Bias – the tendency to seek out or interpret information in a way that confirms your preconceptions. Guilty! Pay your 1¢ fine at the farm stand. Raspberry picking continues apace this week, with abundant berries as of Thursday morning. There are several berry patches on the farm, ask at the stand for directions and containers.
The Last Illusion. A deep and poetic cognitive bias, perhaps the queen of them all. The Last Illusion is the belief that somebody must know what is going on. Think about the stock market or the global response to climate change. Sure, things seem kind of willy-nilly and topsy-turvy, but SOMEONE is steering the bus, right? Some magical powerful puppeteer? Meanwhile, the strawberries have left the building, though Farmer Steve said diligent pickers might “find a few to mop up.” Treasure hunt!
The Outgroup Homogeneity Bias. This is very subtle until you think about it. It is the tendency for individuals to see members of their own group as being relatively more varied than members of another group. Thus it is closely related to stereotyping, but with a shade of meaning worth pondering. Meanwhile, you can now cut your own flower bouquets in the field by the farm stand or buy bouquets that we’ve created at the stand. Current flowers include zinnia, snapdragon, celosia, ageratum, gomphrena, scabiosa/pincushion flower, cornflower/bachelor buttons, dianthus/carnations, strawflower, aster, marigold, verbena, and statice.
The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight. That’s when people perceive their knowledge of their peers to surpass their peers’ knowledge of them. Like, “I see right through that narcissist! But I’m all buttoned up and nobody can see my secrets.” You can try this one on for size. You might find that it fits like a glove! Anyway, donuts are rolling off the Mark 2 Donut Robot three days a week this year. You can get them Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:00 to 5:00. Nick the Donut Kid is churning out fresh fried rings of fructotic splendor – optionally sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. “A sprinkle of SIN, SUGAR,” is all you need to say. You can also get lemon slushees every day.
The Outcome Bias. This is the tendency to judge a decision by its eventual outcome, instead of based on the quality of the decision at the time it was made. This one is soooo fun to do! You knew it all along, right? It wasn’t luck! You MEANT to do that. How did you get so awesome! Meanwhile, Greg’s fresh garlic scapes are back. Get a baggie for sauteeing and drizzling with balsamic. These are real early season delicacies.
The Self-Serving Bias. A real beauty. Perceiving oneself responsible for desirable outcomes but not responsible for undesirable outcomes. Fun! Let’s all do that at the same time! Meanwhile, you have to see these beautiful berry bowls and other treats by local potter Shirley Brown. Best way to store and serve strawbs, rapsbs, blubes, and cherrs.
The Planning Fallacy. If you are not guilty of this one, you might not be human. You might not even be a computer. It is the tendency to underestimate how long something will take. Turns out this is a really easy one to be good at, perfect for beginners, so we’ll leave you with that. Now is kind of the quiet time on the farm. You can pick berries and flowers, but it will be a few weeks til we send a peach report and a call to pick the first vegetables. Stay tuned.
Amidst all the global struggle and strife, we got the loveliest email from a Farmketeer. Misbah wrote, “Whatever you’re on when you write these emails is exactly what I want to be on for the rest of my life.” Iced raspberry herbal tea is the stuff. Thank you very kindly, Misbah. You are ‘Creeknik of the Weeknik.
Another piece of good news in the world. The farm is still protected by a conservation easement – indeed it is “conserved forever” to be open space by law. You can see two glimpses of the veggie fields and orchards in this short movie by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, our hometown conservation nonprofit. We support them and invite you to support them if you can. They have saved over 25,000 acres of forests, gorges, wetlands, lakeshores, and farmlands across the FLX. They make their 35 nature preserves free and open to everyone.
Love to y’all. Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.