**We’re reopening the Jollyville Road farm stand this coming Wednesday, March 7th! Below is the first blog of the season, and a list of what we’ll be bringing to the stand. We hope to see you!**

Farmer John and I love the Westminster Dog Show. It’s a guilty pleasure, one that we’re fully aware isn’t very socially responsible. And actually, we’re big fans of mutts. Had we ever decided to adopt a puppy — kind of an absurd thought, since John and I have always been “cat people” — there’s no doubt in my mind we would have picked one up at the Animal Shelter rather than from a dog breeder. Not that we feel any disdain toward folks who prefer their pets purely bred. Certainly not. Case in point: Farmer John and I love the Westminster Dog Show.

(I realize I might get some grief from people who feel these show dogs aren’t loved or well cared-for. I’m hoping they’re wrong. As a basis for my belief, I’m relying on my favorite Christopher Guest movie, a parody of the Westminster Dog Show aptly entitled Best in Show. If you haven’t seen it, you should.)

Despite the fact ours would be a home for only mixed breeds, we derive great joy from watching the top tier of the various purebreds compete for best in their division, and ultimately Best in Show. It’s fun to get a behind-the-scenes peek as the groomers primp and preen these canines, to catch glimpses of the judges lifting tails for closer looks while the handlers gently clasp doggie treats between their own teeth before tossing the coveted morsels to their obedient Standard Poodles or Smooth Fox Terriers.

Yet there was a problem this year. Not because of the winner. Even though he wasn’t the pooch I was rooting for, Malachy the Pekingese was delightful…if there was indeed really a dog underneath all that shiny, perfectly coifed hair.

No, the problem was that the Westminster Dog Show was already taking place again. Had it really been a year since the Scottish Deerhound took home the 2011 Best of Show trophy? It felt like only yesterday. So much so, the idea of an entire year having passed since we’d last watched the award show threatened to ruin the entire experience for me.

The only way I was able to continue viewing was by making comments like, “This Westminster Dog Show is as glamorous as the one they broadcast two months ago!” Or “Isn’t it amazing that they can pull this extravaganza together every few weeks?”

John, being a really good sport, went right along with it. If there were a Mr. Congeniality ribbon awarded in this competition, he’d have won it paws down.

Dana understands my plight too. Not necessarily about the Westminster Dog Show (she doesn’t watch TV), but definitely about the lightning fast passage of time. With the farm stands reopening after our winter hiatus, time has been tapping us all on the shoulders; in Dana’s case, however, it was more like a slap in the face.

It didn’t matter that our February calendar was scribbled through and through with lists of what we’ve been planting for the spring.

Nor did it necessarily hit her after we filled not only one, but two 200-foot hoop houses with tomato and pepper starts.

Painstakingly planting thousands of onions didn’t startle her psyche, neither did the back-breaking chore of burying four 400-foot beds and three 200-foot beds with seed potatoes.

Nothing caused her brain to sproing toward spring until late last week. We’d spent almost all of Thursday planting salad mixes, arugula, peppers, beets and the last of the potatoes. With only 30 minutes remaining, John asked Dana and Zac to spray out enough 3-1/2” pots to fill 15 trays. Mary was going to need them to plant the first succession of summer squash the following day.

Zac knew what the pots were for, but Dana did not. As they were standing at the grate squirting pot after soil-encrusted pot, Zac asked Dana what her favorite variety of squash is. A simple question. Probably intended merely as a conversation starter.

“These are for squash?!!” Dana howled. “How can it already be time for SQUASH?!”

That was the clincher. The item to finally bring home the fact that yes, we’re headed full force into the spring and summer seasons. It was a brain-rattling revelation for her, just as this year’s Westminster Dog Show was for me.

It makes me wonder how Malachy is handling it.

Surely this wasn’t his first try at winning Best in Show. He knows what it is to wait one year between attempts. Which I suppose is actually seven dog years, right? Still, were I ever to meet Malachy and get a chance at a little one-on-one with him, I’d advise he relish every single second of his championship. The next Westminster Dog Show is right around the corner.

* * *
And here we go! Like every year (dog or human) our initial list of offerings is a little brief — but it’s all scrumptious, and the selection will increase as time rushes along. We’re so looking forward to seeing everybody at the farm stand again! For this Wednesday’s stand we’ll have:

Wonderfully sweet carrots; brussels sprouts; green onions; bunches of chard; Dinosaur kale; bunches of purple beets and golden beets; Asian greens; head lettuces (don’t know which varieties quite yet); lettuces mix; Euro salad mix; arugula; and whatever else we might find ready for harvest.

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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