Ever known a pathological liar, someone who seems incapable of telling a story or answering a simple question without embellishment or even downright dishonesty? I’ve crossed paths with a couple throughout my lifetime, and as angry as they made me, I finally realized it’s actually kind of sad, really, for the habitual liars themselves. Once it becomes obvious that someone is more likely to fib than tell the truth, people stop listening to them.

Fortunately, I’ve had the pleasure of being close to a whole lot more truth-tellers than liars. Farmer John is one of the most aboveboard people I’ve known, second only to my dear departed mother. And the only reason John doesn’t rank quite as high as Mom on the honesty scale is because of his propensity to make me, through hearsay, perjure myself.

For example,

he told me to put radishes on the produce list of my newsletter for last Wednesday’s farm stand. Since we hadn’t harvested them yet, I searched out this radish photo from the spring to illustrate the abundance we’d surely be bringing to our NW Austin stand. The day after I posted my blog, John sent Zac out to the field to pull as many pink radishes as were ready. He returned not 10 minutes later with this.

One tub, only partially full, enough to make nine measly bunches.

Now, we all make mistakes. And usually, once radishes start sizing-up, we’re overrun with them — so it’s totally understandable for John to have assumed Zac would come across a slew. Thing is, though, just the week prior, John insisted I list Napa cabbage for the Wednesday stand and despite my protestations that they appeared mighty aphid-ridden the last time I’d seen them, he promised he’d be able to gather enough to make it worthwhile. The blog went out right on time, with Napa cabbages featured prominently on the list.

I do believe you can guess the ending to this sad tale: none of the Napas had survived the aphid onslaught. Rather than harvesting them, John spent a good portion of the morning loading gooey, ruined cabbages into the wheelbarrow and dumping the mess on the opposite side of the farm fence.

Truthfully — and that’s the goal, isn’t it, to be truthful? — John was just as disappointed as I over both of these events. He wasn’t trying to be deceitful on purpose. In the spirit of full disclosure, I confess to my share of unintentional falsification, as well. Thing is, though, I tend to lean in the other direction.

Because I’m kind of leery about misleading customers (and I’m often a lousy judge of how much we’ll have), when left to my own devices I sometimes downplay the initial appearance of something on the list. Like the first time we had enough beets to harvest for market earlier this season, I wrote something like “maybe we’ll have a decent amount, maybe we’ll only have a few.”

We wound up with 93 bunches. More beets than we’ve ever harvested for one market in the history of our little farm.

I’ll use the excuse that I’m not one of the beet pickers. I have nothing to do at all with beet harvest or preparation, as a matter of fact, so this one was an honest — and that’s the goal, isn’t it, to be honest? — miscalculation.

The fall broccoli, however, is a different story. I harvest the broccoli and despite that fact, the first time we had it, I put it way at the bottom of the list and said we’d have “some.” After spending an entire afternoon lugging basket upon basket of broccoli to the salad sinks,

I boxed up nearly 100 pounds. Not a record harvest for the farm, but it was right up there.

I have my suspicions about how closely people listen to Farmer John’s and my predictions for upcoming markets. We’re questioned often as to what we’ll have next, but luckily most folks appear to take that with a grain of salt. Or I hope they do. Because a week ago Saturday we told everyone at the Jonestown stand that although we had broccoli for that market, our next succession wouldn’t be ready by the following Saturday. Because of that, a lot of people loaded up on broccoli, enough to last them a while.

Then, a mere two days later, I spotted this:

Admittedly, it was a nice surprise, yet it made me rethink how I’ve blamed Farmer John for leading me down this fraudulent path. Just like the fall tomatoes we all but swore wouldn’t make it to fruition but then actually did,

the crops are the ones turning us into liars. And that’s the honest truth.

* * *

Here’s what I feel pretty sure we’ll have for Wednesday’s farm stand (notice how I’m covering my bases, just in case!):

Oodles of broccoli, head lettuces (Butterheads, Romaine, Red leaf and Crisp head), lettuce mix, Euro salad mix, Asian mustards mix, bulk purple and golden beets, bunches of chard, Dinosaur kale, curly kale, bunches of broccoli raab, Brussels greens, bags of arugula, escarole, Cubanelle peppers, yellow bell peppers, Nubia and Beatrice eggplant, kohlrabi, pink and purple radishes (I think it’ll really happen this week!), some summer squash, a very few fall tomatoes (the second “flush” of green tomatoes have only just begun to ripen), and a little of this and that.

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)