We don’t often come home to a message on our answering machine from a television producer. Which immediately brings to mind two fun facts:

1. Unlike 99% of the population, our primary phone is a landline, not a cell. And as antiquated as it sounds, we depend on an old bulky answering machine rather than voice mail (or heaven forbid, text messages); and

2. We do indeed know one television producer. Yet Linda, who heads up production of the always wonderful Central Texas Gardener on KLRU, isn’t in the habit of calling us. Email and Facebook (we’re at least that hip) work fine for our communications with her.

Anyway, when I checked the machine last week, I was a little stunned to find a message from the executive producer of Viewpoints, a Discovery Channel television program hosted by Terry Bradshaw. I’d never heard of the show, yet despite my ignorance of most all things sports, I do know who Terry Bradshaw is.

Turns out Viewpoints is planning to do a segment about “protecting your family and the planet through organic food choices.” How on earth they found us, I haven’t a clue. The show is produced in Florida, of all places. Whatever led them to us, though, was irrelevant to me. Any opportunity for free publicity — it matters not whether it’s televised, in print, online, or a sentence or two scratched into the sand before the tide washes it away — I’m all for it.

In fact, Dana quizzed me about that very thing. “Are you hoping to get more business from this?” she asked, slyly (knowing full well some blurb on a daytime Discovery Channel program would bring us no such thing).

Busted. “It’s purely for ego purposes,” I admitted.

She looked at me sideways and asked, “After saying it out loud, you’re okay with that answer?”

“Just fine,” I said. You see, I have no pride. None. I’m a sucker for this kind of thing.

Farmer John, on the other hand, isn’t at all interested in being on national TV. We’ve been involved in only a handful of televised productions, and only three of those experiences were positive, all of them local (on Central Texas Gardener). The others — namely the Jim Lehrer Show on PBS, and Boomers on some obscure cable channel — quite honestly took up entirely too much of our time for what they were worth.

As much as he detested it at the time, John will now confess the Boomers shoot was hilarious. This revelation has taken him many years to achieve, believe me. While the filming was in progress, his patience was stretched almost to the breaking point the fifth or sixth time the “director” asked him to drive his tractor along our driveway in order for them to catch John in action (as if he were tilling our gravel drive??)

Luckily, before John completely blew his top, one of the hosts of the show did something so incredibly silly, John was able to somewhat enjoy the absurdity of it all. After the umpteenth tractor trip along the driveway, the male host pulled the cameraman aside to film some of his rehearsed reaction shots. While the camera rolled, the host changed expressions to illustrate various emotions like surprise, interest, thoughtfulness, joy, concern. All of them wordless. All of them without any conversation whatsoever. That way, see, the editor could insert the appropriate close-up of the host as if he were actually listening to John or me. Which, of course, he was not.

Fortunately, the Terry Bradshaw people called us on the phone for a pre-interview before any of this kind of thing could happen. (I’m thinking they’re a tad more professional than Boomers.) The executive producer started the conversation by saying their intent was to address the issue of obesity in America and the corresponding increase in diabetes and heart disease, a subject which John and I were eager to address.

Then the producer suddenly switched gears. Instead, he asked if there was any confusion among our customer base about organics. (Um, no, not really.) We segued into our farm’s organic certification and discussed that issue for a brief time until the producer began asking us about organic milk. An odd topic, considering we’re not dairy farmers — something the producer knew from the get-go.

The closest thing to a cow on our farm is one of these:

Or if we want to get a little more mammal-y, there’s this:

While these critters are fine specimens in their own right, I don’t think either of them qualifies us as experts on organic milk.

As abruptly as the producer had changed the subject from organic vegetables to milk, he then asked how many people work on our farm. “Five,” I answered, “plus John and me.” He obviously was not impressed. He thanked us for our time, said he had many other farms to interview, and indicated he might get back in touch next week — or the week after — if there were any other questions.

In other words: Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

If only we could have shown him who we are. Here are four of us;

and because one was on vacation the day of the photo, here’s a separate shot of the fifth.

Sure, it’s a small group but I mean, c’mon, who wouldn’t want these folks on their TV show?

And this doesn’t even include Farmer John and myself. I don’t know that we’re as camera-ready as the others, however, so in the spirit of the dramatic arts let’s go instead with an illustration, one showing our reactions immediately after we realized we weren’t going to be featured on Viewpoints. That’s me, on the left.

Aw, I’m not actually that sad about it… What I need is a look of mild disappointment, but I couldn’t find any clip art that really nailed it. If only I could get my hands on that film segment with the Boomers host’s facial expressions. I’m positive one of those would work.

* * *

Finally our temporary tomato lull is ending! We’re sooooo much better off now, tomato-wise, than we have been the past couple weeks. In fact, we have a wonderful supply of many, many things right now. So for Wednesday’s farm stand we’ll bring:

Lots of tomatoes! — several different varieties, including heirlooms; plus OODLES of heirloom “Rattlesnake” green beans; loads of Asian cucumbers (two varieties); new Red Lasoda potatoes; bunches of basil; lots of zucchini, Zephyr and yellow squash; sweet Yellow Granex and Red Creole onions; purple and golden beets; fresh elephant garlic; at least two kinds of beautiful eggplant; some yellow bell peppers; and other odds and ends.

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)