I love the announcements page in the Sunday paper. Each week, I flip through that section to find the photos of the newly engaged, the newly wed, the old grade school pictures accompanying “Oh Lordy look who’s forty!” birthday greetings. My favorites, though, are the 50-year anniversary pictures, especially when they include a photo of the happy couple on their wedding day all those years ago. It’s fascinating to study each person’s features – how they looked then, compared to now – not with a focus so much on how that person has aged, but instead to search out his or her young face hidden beneath the years.

Farmer John and I were married in 1977. If we’re lucky enough to still be around, maybe our 50th anniversary photos will one day grace the announcement pages (if indeed there are announcement pages by then; if indeed there are newspapers by then). Already, I know we fit the same patterns as most long-time married couples, particularly when it comes to communication. When you’ve lived with one person for so many years, you pretty much know what each other is thinking. Or what they’re trying to say, well before they’re able to say it.

And the “saying it” part seems to get more and more difficult as the years fly by, doesn’t it? (Only people of a certain age are going to fully understand this part!) The older you get, the more often words make a quick escape on their way from the brain to the mouth, leaving you standing mute, desperately trying to remember what in the world you were talking about in the first place.

If you’re fortunate enough to be talking to the same person you’ve been with for 30-odd years, the message usually still gets across somehow. John and I have a tendency to point in a general direction and blurt out “oobie-oobie.” As in, “Could you hand me the…oobie-oobie?”

Almost always, the other person immediately obliges.

We have the hardest time with vegetables. You’d think since vegetables are our livelihood, that wouldn’t be the case. But wow, considering how many different vegetables we grow, that’s a whole lot of words to keep stored away and then selected from the brain files at a moment’s notice. Especially when we’re working with one vegetable, and talking about another.

Like when Farmer John harvested squash while the rest of us planted garlic in the rows beside him. There was a fairly constant conversation going on from row-to-row, and John was on a roll discussing plans to ultimately get all the garlic in the ground – except every time he meant to say “garlic” he said “squash,” and every time I tried to correct him. It went something like this:

JOHN: “We’ll get the bigger squash planted in the first rows…”

JO: “You mean garlic!”

JOHN: “…and the smaller squash will finish out the last two rows over there.”

JO: “It’s GARLIC!”

Obviously, John knows the difference…and I wasn’t the only one who understood what he meant. Everyone did.

A few nights later, however, it might not have been so easy for anyone else. John had just come inside from the field, and I’d just walked into the kitchen after taking a shower. When he saw me, he put his hands together – thumb-to-thumb, index-finger-to-index-finger – to form a large “O.” I shouted, “Broccoli!”

We’d both noticed it independently that very day, yet neither of us thought to tell the other one that our first row of broccoli was beginning to head up. It was only later when John finally remembered to mention it, and it took only a gesture. No oobie-oobie required.

I’m thinking we’ll always see each other’s faces hidden beneath the years, no matter which vegetable we’re trying to talk about.

* * *

Here’s what we’re bringing to the farm stand this Wednesday (hopefully I’ll remember what everything is called):

Beautiful butterhead lettuce, Red leaf lettuce and Romaine; spinach; pink & purple radishes; all-lettuce salad mix; bunches of Dinosaur kale and Curly kale; three varieties of summer squashes – Zephyr, yellow squash and zucchini; bags of arugula; bunches of mixed Asian mustard greens; bunches of chard; bunches of Brussels greens; the first of the sweet white turnips (maybe not a slew this week, but more coming soon!); heirloom eggplant, Italian eggplant and white Japanese eggplant; red, yellow and white bell peppers, cubanelle peppers, jalapenos, Corno di Toro peppers; and more…

***We’ll be hosting our annual Open Farm this coming Saturday, November 6th from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. We’ll have produce for sale (while it lasts!) and everyone is welcome to roam the farm on their own, or follow along on a casual tour led by Farmer John. We just ask that you leave your dogs at home…and no smoking at the farm, please. To get here:

Take 183 north to the Lakeline Mall Drive exit. Take that exit and stay on the access road straight through the light at Lakeline Mall Drive. Go to the next light at Lakeline Blvd. and turn left. Take Lakeline Blvd. past several lights until you get to FM 1431 (there’s a Wells Fargo bank on the right). Turn left onto 1431 and drive about 3 1/2 miles to Lonesome Creek Trail. Turn left onto Lonesome Creek Trail and follow the yellow signs to the farm.

We’d love to see you!

Jo Dwyer
Angel Valley Organic FarmFarm stands:
Saturdays 9:00-1:00 in Jonestown on FM 1431 at the blinking yellow light; and
Wednesdays 10:00-2:00 in NW Austin at the Asian American Center on Jollyville Road (1-1/2 blocks north of the intersection of Jollyville and Duval)