It’s a sticking point every time. When I’m writing about the harvest — about what we’re picking that day, how we’re picking it, and ultimately how we spiff it up for market — I inevitably end up at the…. The what? The salad sinks?

That is indeed what I usually call these sinks, yet they’re used for washing so much more than just salads. And what of all the tubs we spread across rows of tables and fill with water for items like head lettuces and leafy bunching greens? That happens in the same room, after all, mere feet from the so-called salad sinks. Not to mention all the other activities that go on simultaneously, like weighing out bags of arugula, bunching greens and root crops, boxing up cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli.

There’s even more to the room than that. Next to the area where we process twice-weekly harvests, we store empty tomato crates and the flattened wax boxes we use to bring our produce to the farm stands.

Beside those, John constructed a large particle board storage container to keep our bags of fertilizer out of reach from marauding raccoons, and adjacent to that container is an upright freezer on top of which sits our ancient, dust-laden “boom box” (we’re incredibly hip) that’s perpetually tuned to KUT.

I need a name for this room, this entire space, and what it should be called is continually beyond my grasp (as so, so many things are).

See, the building itself was originally constructed to look and act like a garage. Crazily enough, however, as it went up with the help of many friends, we all referred to it as “the barn.” I suppose that made it sound a bit more romantic, being that it was situated on a farm, yet there’s not much about it that’s barn-like, really. While the structure does include a separate space for the walk-in cooler on one end and sports two greenhouses on the other,

they were add-ons, things John built himself as we needed them. Prior to those additions, the only farmy thing about the structure was inside the far opening. The floor in that part of the building is dirt, not concrete, and it was meant to be a place to store the tractor.

Here’s where the tractor is actually stored, 99.9% of the time.

Or if it isn’t in that exact spot, it’s somewhere else out in the farm. Never does it rest under the roof of that anonymous building unless Farmer John’s changing its oil or some such thing. Even then, once he’s finished working on it, the tractor enjoys only the briefest respite under cover.

Same story goes for our other vehicles. Despite the fact that this big blue building has two garage doors, neither our car nor our truck ever sets foot inside it.

Still, that’s what we all usually call it. The garage. And I realize it’s just semantics, but imagine if this is how things were set up at your house.

Honey, what’s for dinner tonight?

I’ll let you know after I run out to the garage to wash the vegetables!

See what I mean?

I could plagiarize and call it a salad shed like some other farmers, I suppose. But we use it for more than that — the floor just inside the overhead doors is used as the flat surface for forming soil blocks; we set up folding chairs and tables in front of the shelves of waxed boxes to seed flats and pot on transplants.

Besides, it’s way bigger than a shed anyway, and the vegetable processing work extends to behind the building itself.

We call this contraption, made from plastic saw horses and a long sheet of heavy hardware cloth, “The Rack.” (And while it may not be quite as painful as the Medieval torture device of the same name, after standing there spraying turnips and onions for a few hours, it’s not too far off.)

So I’m stuck. The online thesaurus doesn’t help either. When I type in “garage,” it gives me carport (as incorrect as garage), service station (too oily), gas station (ew!) and depot. Depot isn’t a terrible word, but it’s just so overused. All that comes to mind when I hear the word depot is hardware and office supplies.

Further down the thesaurus list is terminal (too final), base (too military) and headquarters. “Carry those buckets of spinach to Produce Headquarters!” Nah.

As synonyms for “shed,” I get hut (sounds like a Tarzan movie), outhouse (um…no), outbuilding (see: outhouse) and garden shed. Now, garden shed is definitely closer, but it still doesn’t do it for me. And a synonym for shed is shed?

I give up. Maybe you have an idea? If something comes to you this afternoon, please let me know. You can find me washing vegetables out in the _______________.

* * *

For Wednesday’s Jollyville Road farm stand, we’ll have:

Romanesco cauliflower (this will be the end of it!); spinach; lettuce mix; some Euro salad mix; broccoli and bags of broccoli side shoots; Watermelon radishes; green storage cabbage; purple cabbage; Brussels greens; chard; two kales; bags of arugula; golden beets; bulk Asian greens; heads of escarole; bunches of sweet Hakurei turnips; and maybe some other odds and ends.

Thanks!
Jo Dwyer
Angel Valley Organic Farm
Farm stands:
Saturdays 9:00-1:00 in Jonestown on FM 1431 at the blinking yellow light [closed until March]; 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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