Here Comes the Sun (to a Texas Farm Stand)

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Carol Ann Sayle


This year, a sunny market day has been a rare thing. Over the winter months we've seen little sun in general, and for some reason, perversely, market days are usually clouded, complete with rain or its results: massive puddles that our visitors have to hop over or creep into the bamboo to circumvent. If correctly booted, they can paddle through the water to reach the farm stand. (Children happily use this method.)

But on a recent Saturday the sun came out, and with it many customers. Everyone wore smiles and mud boots.The pet hens, Aunt Tootie and Harriet, were happy also, as one kind fellow bent down to their level to share his croissant with them.

Plants need sun to grow, and we spent time at market explaining why our bunches of kale and collards had such short stems, and why our romaine appeared "leggy." Everything was still delicious and nutritious of course, but we had to lower our prices—even though the day before we harvesters had to wade through paths brimming with water, picking in the rain. To compensate for the dwarfed greens, we had to add more stems with leaves to the bunches. Cold? Yes, of course it was cold.

But our customers understood: they bought what we had and were glad for it. A good community is like that.

They must have faith, as do we, that spring will eventually come, the clouds will clear, we will get sun and warmth, and the coming crops will be healthy and vigorous. They support their farmers year round—whether the bunches are small or large. Because of our past crop successes, they also happen to have voted us "Best Farm/Best Farmers" for the third year in the Edible Communities' "Local Hero Awards." Their support has shown that "local heroes" is a phrase that describes our customers, too.

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Carol Ann Sayle is co-founder and co-owner of Boggy Creek Farm, a five-acre urban, organic farm in Austin, Texas.

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