Life for Sarah Frey growing up on the family farm in southern Illinois wasn’t exactly easy.
Even in the early 80’s, the house had no indoor plumbing. The family grew or hunted everything they ate. At age four Sarah was responsible for keeping the fire burning in the wood stove that heated the house. At five she was driving. At eight she negotiating the sale of produce with grocery store managers. At 15, she moved out of her parents’ house into another small house the family owned, fixing it up with earnings from after school jobs. At 16 the bank loaned her $10,000 so she could buy a truck to build her produce business. The banker insisted on giving her two years to pay it back. She paid it back in two months.
At 18, she bought the farm, by herself.
At 19, she closed a deal with Wal-Mart to deliver tons of produce a week. The deal became the subject of a Harvard case study.
In her new book, The Growing Season: How I Saved an American Farm and Built a New Life, Sarah tells how challenges like these, and the love of her very imperfect family, shaped her life. She learned to believe in herself, work tirelessly, and refuse to let obstacles stop her.
We all need some inspiration right now, and Sarah delivers tons of it.
There is a reason that the Bible speaks of seasons and the importance of bearing fruit. Hard times taught Sarah to see the beauty in imperfect fruit. When Sarah found that the small or misshapen fruit was often the most flavorful, instead of plowing it under, she used it to start her fresh juice business.
Sarah said, “I hope the book helps people see through life’s imperfections and hardships. Right now, everything that we’re going through as a country with Covid, just know that there’s a brighter season on the other side of this.”
“You need to have the optimism of the farmer. The growing seasons that are fallow can teach us just as much as the growing seasons that are bountiful.”