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A Business Lesson From a Garlic Farmer: Living According to Your Own Principles

Last weekend I visited a friend’s farm. The retired couple purchased the farm about ten years ago. They wanted a quiet life with a hobby to keep them occupied. They refer to managing their farm as just a hobby, but the farm is 100 acres of breathtaking beauty. They grow trees, so perhaps they don’t have too much work, but I think even cutting grass on the farm would be really hard work. The couple recently started growing garlic at a corner of their farm. (Yes, I’m going to talk about their garlic. But just wait, you’ll see how it’s related.) I don’t know why they started growing garlic, but whatever they do, they do it with their own principles and beliefs.
 
Their garlic is completely organic. They don’t use fertilizer from anywhere, but rely on a mixture of leaves, grass, and soil decomposed naturally over several hundred years for their crop. Other organic farms still use chicken manure, but this couple does not, because they think there is no way of knowing what a chicken ate and how it lived. As someone who takes the issue of animal mistreatment seriously, I can understand their reasoning.
 
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Because their garlic is grown using pure soil, sunlight, and underground water, it is quite popular. I didn’t know about their garlic last year, so I couldn’t buy any on time, but I am waiting to get some this year. But, I did get a chance to try their garlic. Someone who’d bought some had pickled it. I’m not a foodie, but I felt great after I had some. Perhaps it was because I was aware of how they were grown? I was happy to know that I was eating healthy and that I was helping the environment.
 
When I asked them how they sell their garlic and who their customers were, they told me they just sell directly to people that they know. They’ve received offers to buy their garlic from supermarkets, but they said they declined and prefer to sell it directly. Their price is 6 times the price of the garlic seeds—it’s quite simple. They were very decisive about their price. Set in this way, the price of their garlic may be a lot more expensive or a lot cheaper compared to the market price because there may be price fluctuations in garlic after they purchase the seeds. But they don’t really care and just sell to people who agree to their price. I personally have absolutely no intention to quibble over their garlic price, so I think there will be many people willing to purchase it regardless of the market price.
 
This couple’s story got me thinking. First of all, I felt that they were leading an admirable life. Everything begins with trust. If you live according to your beliefs and principles instead of paying too much attention to the small immediate gains, your life will bring long-lasting trust from people. This is how I wanted to live my life and run my translation business as well. Perhaps that is not the best way to make money and sometimes you will suffer a bit of loss as my friends do from the perspective of the market, but you always live happily doing what you love in the way you think is right and you’ll never go bankrupt. I will make sure to buy some garlic from them this fall.

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