I used to hate switching from Daylight Savings to “real” time. An earlier sunrise probably made a lot of folks happy, but I’ve never been a morning person. Whether it was dark or light at 7 a.m. really didn’t concern me. I wasn’t wild about that hour (and to this day truly dislike anything that comes before it) no matter the luminosity situation. The loss of evening light was the real problem. Having to turn on headlamps during my drive home from work depressed me something awful.

Now that my commute to and from work consists of a 30-second walk between the house and the farm gate, however, a comparatively premature dusk doesn’t make me nearly so blue. In our profession, when it gets dark earlier we’re forced to stop working earlier. As an added plus, even if the sun is setting during our commute home, we can make it without the help of auxiliary lighting.

Still, the time change sure changes things abruptly, doesn’t it? From one day to the next, winter is suddenly looming (though after a summer like this past one, it’s difficult to complain). By the time the change in time happens, we’ve always either experienced our valley’s first freeze, or we know one is imminent.

This year, two freezes came and went before we reset the clocks.

Farmer John covers what he can when we know the cold is soon to be upon us. He saved all of the warm weather crops the first time around, when our temperature dipped to 29. The second freeze, though, that was the killer. With only so much time in a day and only so many hoops and so many rolls of row cover — and knowing we’d likely hit the low 20’s — the summer-type vegetables were mostly sacrificed.

We said so long to the eggplant:

bid adieu to the peppers;

and waved a resigned farewell to the latest attempt at fall tomatoes.

As much as we hated to see them go, it was time.

As it was, John worked until 10 p.m., stopping only long enough to come inside and eat a quick dinner. That night, a headlamp was indeed necessary…though it wasn’t the same type that guided a certain unhappy office worker home all those years ago. The headlamp Farmer John used was literal.

[John likes having the lamp for nighttime work — he’s just not so crazy about having his picture taken with it on.]

The time changes, and so does the appearance of our market tables. Where we once piled squash, peppers, eggplant and cucumbers, we’re now stacking broccoli, cabbages, beets and radishes. Containers full of salad mixes and spinach and coolers stuffed with greens and head lettuces replace crates of tomatoes.

Lately, in the evenings prior to each farm stand, I’ve rummaged through my box of plastic chalk boards searching out the ones we haven’t used since last fall or early this spring. Conversely, I returned the unneeded markers to that box where they’ll remain in temporary retirement until next summer.

With the time change comes this semi-annual ritual, a kind of changing of the guards. Signs of the times, you might say.

Literally.

* * *

Oh my, we have a marvelous selection for you this week! On Wednesday we’ll be bringing:

LOTS of broccoli; loads of spinach; beautiful lettuce mix; Euro salad mix; Butterhead lettuces; Purple and Golden beets; “bunching” green onions; pink and purple radishes; Napa cabbage; heads of Tendersweet cabbage and Farao cabbage; Brussels greens; bunches of chard; bags of arugula; bunches of kohlrabi; cilantro; and maybe more!

Thanks!
Jo Dwyer
Angel Valley Organic Farm
Farm 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, 11713 Jollyville Road (1-1/2 blocks north of the intersection of Jollyville and Duval)

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