Abundance, scarcity, and blueberries

My wife and I took our family to the Chmielewski Blueberry Farm this morning. There were blueberries everywhere, so my wife and I decided we’d only pick the ones that were harder to reach, and we’d look for the biggest ones that were perfectly ripe.

While we were picking, my wife and I talked about how much fun this was since there was an abundance of berries. And we talked about how it would be no fun if you had a scarcity mindset, competing with everyone else and trying to pick every berry possible. Someone a row over from us commented that it was a little competitive because the berries were a somewhat picked over. I don’t know what he meant by picked over: we picked over 14 pounds of blueberries while being selective about what we picked.

As we were leaving the farm, I struck up a conversation with an unpleasant older woman. She was carrying less than a pint of berries and complaining that the berries were so scarce. It’s hard to imagine we had just come from the same farm.

4 thoughts on “Abundance, scarcity, and blueberries

  1. So what do you do with 14 pounds of blueberries? We often end up with surplus blueberries, thanks to “2 for 1” deals from the supermarket.

    I’ve heard it reported that pick-your-own deals are closing in the UK because people abused the system, eating far more than they pay for.

  2. I’d probably eat the 14 pounds of blueberries “as are” …

    I’m growing blueberries in my backyard; they’re doing fine and producing, but the birds and squirrels nab the berries just as they get ripe. So far I’ve gotten two ripe berries and one I thought was ripe when I picked it. I’m OK with the wildlife eating them though. I planted them near a fence and had to block them off from my dogs; they’d trample the bushes in their enthusiasm for warding off intruders (mostly the squirrels). So far I have not tried to put a net over them — I’m hoping before long they’ll produce enough I can get some despite the critters.

    I really like the blackberries they have in the north of the US; they grow like weeds (and are weeds, sometimes) producing lots of really tasty berries. It is easy to get buckets of them almost anywhere there is uncultivated land when they are in season. They only blackberry I’ve found which will grow here in Texas doesn’t taste nearly as good, although it is really proligfic. I’ve heard they are better in pies than fresh, but that isn’t saying much.

  3. This reminds me of an activity I did in a class once, when I asked grad students in OR about how frequent rare/common events occur (in terms of probability). The estimates were all over the map. Most students were shocked when I said that a probable event could occur with probability 1e-6, if you are looking at very rare events. It’s all a matter of perspective.

    Enjoy the blueberries.

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