We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I’ll have another farm story for you next week, but for now let’s just get right to the point. For Wednesday’s farm stand we’ll be bringing:

“Cheddar” cauliflower, fall tomatoes (fewer than last week, yet still quite a lot!), the first of this succession’s broccoli, spinach, green and purple kohlrabi, fennel, bunches of chard, Dinosaur kale, Brussels greens, bags of arugula, bulk purple and golden beets, radishes, bunches of sweet white turnips, red & yellow bell peppers, cilantro, some lettuce mix and green butterhead lettuces (we’re in a bit of a “lettuce lull” right now, but more coming soon!), and anything else we 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)

Farmer John isn’t exactly a hoarder…but man, he’s close. I tend to want to throw out anything that gets in my way — or just looks at me funny — so my perspective is rather skewed, yet when someone insists there’s no reason to get rid of a “perfectly good” shirt like this,

he might be on the verge of having a teensy case of separation issues.

Out in the farm, you simply must be able to say goodbye. For folks who aren’t used to it, the sight of dead vegetables tossed aside and strewn between the rows is a tough one to overlook. We’ve had new employees in the past who, on their first or second day at the farm, wanted to go back and scoop up all the worm-ridden, aphid-infested rejects to lug home and salvage somehow. We convince them there’s plenty of produce tucked away in containers in our walk-in cooler ready for the taking by everyone who works here — imperfect “uglies” not nice enough for market, yet not nearly so disgusting as the stuff out in the rows.

Worse still is when visitors come. John and I have turned to find people gathering half-rotted tomatoes, fruit that had been discarded a day or two prior. It’s hard to understand, I suppose, how we could possibly throw so many tomatoes to the ground that would be “perfectly good” once the scalded/wormy/insect-sucked portions were cut off.

Time is the reason. Unlike carrying in a dozen perfect and not so perfect tomatoes from a backyard plot, we deal in cartfuls. Time is of the essence and we never seem to have enough of it. Certainly not enough to carve off the bad spots, so we’re forever pitching tomatoes, eggplants, squashes…you name it.

Time is also a big consideration when the first major cold front of the fall is bearing down on the farm. November is the most prolific autumn month for us — cool weather crops are abundant, while we’re still enjoying great harvests from plants that prefer warmer temps. So when faced with the prospect of weather cold enough to kill those heat-loving crops and possibly damage the others, we must decide which ones have to be sacrificed.

Early last week, we were once again forced to choose. After some discussion and a good deal of hand wringing, it was agreed the eggplants had to go.

What a shame. This had been the best late-season eggplant crop, probably ever. And because the fall peppers were right beside them, and because the tall t-posts we use to support the plants make it so difficult to cover, our red and yellow bells were scheduled to be placed on the chopping block too.

John completed what would be the last fall harvest of “summer” squash that afternoon,

and come the following morning, they were goners.

We had planned to sacrifice what was left of the fall tomato crop, as well. In keeping with this commitment, we asked everyone to stay late the afternoon before the freeze in order to harvest every pick-able tomato they could find. The great folks who work here are nothing if not thorough, and by early evening they’d filled 15 crates — double-stacked — with red, pink and slightly pink tomatoes.

[Mr. Rooster is seen here, guarding them with his life.]

That proved to be too much for Farmer Hoarder…er, John. Even after this harvest, our small crop of fall tomato plants remained fairly loaded with green fruit. He couldn’t stand the thought of leaving them exposed to the elements. That night, after almost three straight hours spent covering nearly the entire farm (most of it in pitch dark), he draped the tomato rows. He did the same with the peppers after recognizing he couldn’t bear to part with those either.

Once he’d protected all he could protect, he came inside and collapsed on his chair, exhausted. He wasn’t much perkier the next night when he had to do it all over again after daytime breezes blew most of the covers off. He set his alarm for 3 a.m. so he could go back out and start irrigation running under the tomatoes and peppers as an extra buffer against the cold, only to discover it was still 49 degrees. Clouds held fast overhead and we didn’t freeze.

He hadn’t needed to cover anything that night. He could have relaxed all evening instead. This is what Farmer John does, though. He may have a little trouble sacrificing some of the crops, but he hasn’t a second thought about sacrificing himself.

Maybe I should surprise him with a new shirt or two, to replace the “perfectly good” ones he sometimes wears now. And if he wants to keep the ones riddled with holes, I won’t argue.

I’m thinking he deserves it.

* * *

We have oodles for your Thanksgiving holiday! For the Wednesday stand this week, we’ll be bringing:

Lots of fall tomatoes (I know that doesn’t scream “Thanksgiving” but they’ll be great on those leftover turkey sandwiches)! Plus: Red butterhead lettuce, Red leaf lettuce, butternut squash, kabocha squash (great in savory or sweet dishes), spaghetti & acorn squash, cauliflower, green onions, sweet white turnips, bulk purple and golden beets, bunches of chard, Dinosaur kale, some curly kale, Brussels greens, bags of arugula, yellow bell peppers, Cubanelle peppers, kohlrabi, pink radishes and watermelon radishes, fennel, salad mixes, cilantro, and some of this and that.

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)

Raccoons are a nuisance. Opossums aren’t exactly little angels either — they’ll kill a chicken if given the opportunity — but we rarely blame them for messes caused by nighttime mayhem. When we wake up in the morning to find the trash can raided or a forgotten bird feeder mutilated, we’re 99.9% sure a raccoon was the culprit.

Because of these critters, Farmer John brings our hanging wild bird feeder inside when he goes out at dusk to secure the henhouse, and we’ve begun keeping a heavy cement brick atop the trash can.

It probably makes the raccoons angry. I’m assuming so, anyway, since it seems like irritable is a raccoon’s normal emotional state. We’ve spent many an evening listening to two or three of them wrestle and fight outside our open windows, all snorts and growls and screeches.

In mid-summer, when our melons are ripening, we’re forced to secure the crop with five lines of electric fencing because of raccoons. If only they chose to be polite about their nocturnal visits to the melon patch, we might be more willing to share. But no. They claw and chomp and toss things around without exhibiting any common decency whatsoever. They don’t even bother finishing the first melon before moving on to ruin the next, and the next, and the next. So we zap ‘em.

Hard squashes are occasionally targeted by raccoons, as well, yet not usually attacked so viciously. This fall, the hard squash crop wasn’t much bothered at all — which made it all the more surprising when we discovered raccoons (and we’re certain they were raccoons) had trampled sections of our 200-foot bed of Euro mix.

The animals weren’t interested in eating it (which is beyond the comprehension of all us Euro salad lovers here at the farm); they simply wanted to fight each other in it. At least that’s how it appeared and weirdly so, considering in that section of the farm, the Euro mix row is the only one kept under cover.

This means the raccoons jumped over one row of cover crop and the row of Asian greens to commence their scuffle. And a scuffle it was, for sure, one that progressed in intervals directly down that shade cloth-covered row, smashing whole sections of beautiful, healthy baby salad mix

to filthy, flattened smithereens.

Whether these portions of our Euro row will recover is yet to be seen. Our house is too far from this part of the farm for us to have heard the commotion as it was happening, else we might have been able to stop it. Because if there’s one thing raccoons are not, it’s subtle. When they’re cross or annoyed, they express their outrage — loudly — to anyone within earshot.

They’d fit in well on social media sites. A couple years ago, I caved in to peer pressure and joined Facebook (or as Farmer John calls it, The MyFace). I set up a business page for the farm, and also a personal page for me. While I do post often from the farm page, other than putting up vacation pictures and occasionally commenting or hitting the “like” button on other people’s posts, my personal page is pretty quiet.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy reading what others have to say. In fact, I scan The MyFace regularly. It can be pretty darned entertaining, really. It can be pretty darned frustrating, too, and was especially so during the past several months leading up to the election. It’s amazing how vitriolic people can become. Would they have said such hateful things to other people face-to-face, or can they only do it MyFace-to-MyFace?

Well, now that the votes are in, perhaps most folks will calm down a bit. While obviously not everyone is happy with how the election turned out, wouldn’t it be grand if the nasty MyFace comments would cease for good? Of course people should continue to engage in civilized discussion. Everyone has their own opinion. And despite the fact that posts are seen only by those who’ve been “friended,” there’s no denying that a certain number of most people’s MyFace “friends” are casual acquaintances, at best, some of whom undoubtedly feel differently about the issues than themselves.

So when I read one of my acquaintance’s post-election post (sorry…couldn’t help myself) claiming that anyone who didn’t vote for her candidate did so out of “stupidity,” I was afraid it was only the beginning of more online fighting.

Happily, that seems not to be the case. There’s still time, of course, but thus far it appears The MyFace is once again a fairly peaceful place to visit, one where folks are free to express their feelings yet do so without resorting to provocation and name-calling. I hope it can stay that way.

There are enough real raccoons in the world. We don’t need to start behaving like them too.

* * *

Know what’s peaceful? Vegetables! And we’ll have lots of them for you at Wednesday’s stand. Here’s what we’re planning to bring:

White cauliflower, head lettuces (Butterheads, Romaine, Red leaf and Crisp head), lettuce mix, spinach, bulk purple and golden beets, Tendersweet and Farao cabbages, bunches of chard, Dinosaur kale, curly kale, Brussels greens, bags of arugula, escarole, yellow bell peppers, green bell peppers, Nubia and Beatrice eggplant, kohlrabi, pink and purple radishes, zucchini, Zephyr squash, some tomatoes (we never have a slew in the fall, but we will have quite a few more than last week!), and some of this and that.

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)

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.

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)

When some friends visited from out-of-town, the first thing they noticed upon stepping inside our house was that we’d rearranged the living room furniture.

“It’s because of the chairs,” I told them.

“We needed good chairs since we’re old and we farm for a living.”

See, we tend to hurt ourselves — our backs, in particular. John was in the habit of wrenching his back every winter, so I gave him the chair on the left as a Christmas present a couple years ago (how very romantic). These are Ekornes chairs, snazzy ergonomically correct recliners that, amazingly, really do help when one of us throws our back out of alignment.

[Note to anyone associated with the Ekornes organization: If you feel some sort compensation is warranted for this unsolicited endorsement, my mailing address is listed on our farm’s website.]

In our defense, Farmer John and I aren’t the only ones here who suffer aches and pains. Young Mary required a series of chiropractic treatments for her back earlier this year, and Dana used to regularly visit an acupuncturist because of a prior knee injury that didn’t get along well with the contortive nature of farm work.

Pricey chairs. Physical therapy. Alternative medical treatments. We utilize them all. As Dana so wisely phrased it: Injury is the mother of invention.

We try to pay attention to posture while we work, we really do. We spend an inordinate amount of time lately harvesting salad mixes, and figured out long ago that the squat-and-crawl method isn’t too terrible on one’s back.

The same can’t be said for our poor knees in this situation, yet there’s really no getting away from at least some kind of discomfort. We do make a point to stand up and stretch as we move down the row and, believe it or not, after going through this exercise week after week, we get almost accustomed to it.

More of a problem is bending from the waist. It’s a horrendous thing to do to yourself for any length of time. Trouble is, when faced with 200-foot rows of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower to harvest, there aren’t many options.

Sure, we could try the crouch-and-crawl method we use for salad mixes, but that would make the Brassica harvests take an awfully long time — and time isn’t something we have in abundance. So, being the primary broccoli and cauliflower picker at the farm, I bend.

And last fall, I paid the price. Or I should say my back paid it. Or really, I should say Farmer John and I paid for it — literally — when we purchased the second Ekornes chair, a slightly smaller model just for me.

Recently, John and I both hurt ourselves in the same week. He twisted his back by stepping off the tractor in a weird way; I tweaked mine while using this.

I felt the tug in the middle of my back the second I bent down to the faucet to measure out 1-1/2 cups. Ironically, John was convalescing in his Ekornes chair at that very moment.

I’d love to say mine was a farm injury too. It sounds so much more noble (and decidedly less ridiculous). Although technically, since our house is on the same land as the farm, and the incident occurred in the kitchen of the house on the farm…well, you see where I’m going.

It’s like when, in my 20’s, I broke two of my front teeth and told everyone it was a racquetball accident. I just failed to mention that it actually happened after one of my matches, when I stepped out of the racquetball court’s shower, slipped on the wet floor and landed on my mouth.

Details, details.

This only goes to further prove Dana’s statement that injury is indeed the mother of invention. Sometimes the “invention” is an ergonomically correct chair; sometimes it’s a story that slightly re-invents the truth.

Regardless of the cause of the injury, those Ekornes recliners are some darn fine chairs. I mean great chairs. Miracle chairs, really, when you get right down to it. [Hello, Ekornes? Just so you’ll know — you can make the check out to me personally, or to the farm. Either way is fine.]

* * *

While we await the second succession of broccoli — it’ll be here soon! — we have plenty of new items ready to bring to the farm stand this week. I promise we’ll be mindful of our backs as we harvest:

Head lettuces (Butterheads, Romaine, Red leaf and Crisp head), lettuce mix, Euro salad mix, bulk purple and golden beets (fresh-pulled, but the worms got the leaves darn it!), pink radishes, bunches of chard, Dinosaur kale, bunches of broccoli raab, bags of arugula, bulk Asian greens, Cubanelle peppers, zucchini, Zephyr squash, Nubia and Beatrice eggplant, butternut squash, kohlrabi, the first Farao cabbages, and fall tomatoes (we have a bit more than last week, but will never have as many as in the summer months so they’ll likely go quickly!).

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)

John and I never had kids. It was a conscious choice. When someone asks me if I have children (who would be adults by now, of course) and I answer in the negative without any kind of explanation, I often wonder if they might think we weren’t able to conceive for some reason. Politeness would likely prevent them from asking such a personal question. Sometimes I volunteer the information; sometimes I don’t. Depends on my mood, I guess, and whether I think the inquirer really cares one way or the other.

We have no regrets. Now, that’s not to say I didn’t go through a few anxious moments in my 30’s as I witnessed friends starting families. On more than one occasion I became a little panicky, thinking there was no reason John and I shouldn’t be doing the same thing. Those feelings would always pass, however, usually by the following day. Truthfully, infants kind of freak me out. I mean, sure, they’re cute to look at, but you’ll never catch me asking to hold someone’s baby.

Those things frighten me.

I had no younger siblings to practice on, nor did I babysit when I was a teenager. Well, that’s not completely true. I did have one babysitting job when I was probably 14 or 15 and a friend of mine wasn’t able to make her weekly kids-watching gig for a neighbor of hers. She asked if I’d do it for her and I reluctantly (very reluctantly) said yes. There was money in it, after all. Greed made me do it.

Judging by the alarmed look on the mother’s face as she opened the door and introduced me to her three tiny children, I must have appeared as terror-stricken as I felt. Really, I’m shocked she and her husband went ahead with their plans and allowed me to stay with their kids. I don’t remember a whole lot about the evening other than television playing the entire time — and I think there was ice cream at some point — but I do vividly recall the silent, uncomfortable ride home with the father. My fear never subsided that night. And the parents never asked me to substitute babysit again.

Nowadays, Farmer John and I have babies of a different kind to look after, and lots of them. The fall season has begun in earnest, and as it is at the beginning of every growing cycle, we fret and wring our hands over all our babes on their journey to maturity.

The early cabbages twirl their inner leaves, working on forming heads

as purple and green kohlrabi proudly display their baby bumps

and the spinach beds overpopulate with toddlers.

Our lettuce tykes are well protected under shade cloth for now,

yet like all young’uns, before we know it they’ll be tweens, then teens, then young adults, ready to cut the cord (or stem, in this case) and venture into the world where one day they’ll each meet their perfect match — be it a nice vinaigrette, honey mustard, or a hearty bleu cheese.

Fortunately, when the inevitable separation does come to pass, we still have plenty of infant lettuces to care for in our neonatal unit.

We needn’t worry about Empty Nest Syndrome for some time.

It’s only natural for people to think their babies are the most beautiful of all, and Farmer John and I are no different. With few exceptions (I mean, c’mon, they can’t all be perfect) we’re mighty proud of our farm’s offspring…even though they aren’t technically our progeny.

And there’s something to be said for that. Our babies may not share our DNA,

but at least they’re not scary.

* * *

We have lots of newbies to share with you this week! For Wednesday’s farm stand, we’ll be bringing:

Lettuce mix, Euro salad mix, purple and golden beets, bunches of chard, Dinosaur kale, curly kale, bunches of broccoli raab, Brussels greens, bags of arugula, bulk Asian greens, sweet Corno di Toro peppers and Cubanelle peppers, lots of summer squash (zucchini, yellow, and Zephyr), Nubia and Beatrice eggplant, butternut squash, kabocha squash, Asian cucumbers, the first of the broccoli and Napa cabbage, plus — dare I say it? — fall tomatoes (not as many as we bring in the summer months, mind you, but we will have some!).

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)

A long-lost friend in Vermont with whom I’ve reconnected via Facebook posted a recent photo of herself with her two sisters. In the background was a most spectacular autumn scene, golds and reds as far as the eye could see. I commented on the beauty of it, saying perhaps one day we’ll come to visit — then added that John and I like to vacation in the “Great White North,” but only before it turns too white. In her reply, she said if we wanted to beat the whiteness, we’d better hurry.

Unlike us, people in Vermont pretty much know what to anticipate in October. I suspect by now the folks who live up there have already stashed away their wimpy shorts and t-shirts and pulled out the Big Guns — down jackets, possibly, and ear muffs. Long johns, wool socks and thick oversized sweaters.

If only it were so cut-and-dried here. Our October weather fluctuates wildly from one week to the next — often from one day to the next. Heck, even from one morning to one afternoon at times. In our pre-farm days, I remember more than once turning on the heat for my commute to work on chilly mornings, only to drive home that evening with the air-conditioner running.

Back then, I probably suffered the cold weather a bit more. See, as much as I wished to stay warm, fashion was an equal consideration. While I’d often shiver my way from the car to the office, the pain of it was brief and well worth any temporary discomfort as long as I felt like my outfit looked sharp.

Fashion at the farm isn’t quite so imperative — yet that’s not to say we don’t strive to keep up appearances. Heavens no. We all recognize the importance of maintaining a professional demeanor, in our actions as well as our wardrobe and accessory choices.

It’s just that when the temperatures take a sudden downward turn like they did early last week, we’re forced to scramble a bit to remember how to dress for it. When you work outdoors, draping your favorite little cardigan sweater across your shoulders isn’t going to do the trick.

Upon opening our hall closet for the first time in months on that brisk Monday morning, I halfway expected everything to start falling out like in sitcoms or old cartoons. Fortunately that didn’t happen — though I did find myself kind of ducking my head in anticipation — but it still took me a couple tries before I finally grabbed the old black pullover jacket I prefer on cool work days. At the last second I thought about my knit cap, too, one of the more practical Christmas gifts from Farmer John. (He’s good about including cute little sweaters, as well). After that, I dug deep into my bottom dresser drawer for a pair of flannel jammy pants.

The end result was a far, far cry from those stylish outfits of old (yet the color coordination adds a nice touch, don’t you think?).

Being the resident farm princess, I was the last person to venture out into the cold where I found Mary and John huddled over the chard and kale, both of them bundled and hooded.

The various greens were loving the weather. The rest of us, not so much. It was the abruptness of it, really, more than the temperature itself — it’s rough going from 90 degrees to the upper 40’s in only a day’s time. Vermonters at least have the luxury of easing into fall.

Such is October in Central Texas, however, as we all know. By the following day the mercury had risen, along with the humidity, and farm attire reverted back to what it was all summer.

The forecast for the remainder of this week is mild, but I’m not counting out the possibility of another heat wave before the fall season is finished with us. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen an October day when the clothing of choice for some might look like this:

Thing is, there are only a few of us here at the farm who could pull that off…and at 57 years old, I’m not one of them. Despite the suddenness of cold fronts this time of year, there’s something to be said for covering up. I used to feel it was crazy to live somewhere with lots of snow, but now I’m thinking those Vermont folks are much shrewder than I’d ever imagined.

* * *

In addition to the usual (yet delicious!) standbys we’ve had for market lately, we’re beginning to harvest some new crops! Here’s what we’ll have for you this Wednesday:

Purple and golden beets (I don’t know if we’ll have a lot or just “some,” but we’ll bring as many as we can!); the first of the fall lettuce mix; Asian cucumbers, lots of chard, bunches of Dinosaur kale, curly kale, bunches of broccoli raab, bags of arugula, bulk Asian greens (great raw or cooked!), sweet Corno di Toro peppers, summer squash (zucchini, yellow, and Zephyr); Nubia and Beatrice eggplant, butternut squash, acorn squash, and some surprises many people will be happy to see!

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)