A Family Affair

Before tour, I’d talk to my family virtually everyday. Id call, email, and ever since my  parents figured out how, I’d text. And then I started farm dinnering… Now, with spotty farm reception, time zone differences, and extreme busyness, I’m lucky to phone home once a week.

It’s an interesting and sometimes difficult feat to keep in touch with ones family while on the road. But like everything else, you (and moms, dads, brothers, and sisters) learn to adapt. You make and take calls at odd hours, settle for the cliffs notes versions of normally-lengthy conversations, and in the case of Katie Wyer’s family, you learn to work farm dinners.

Katie grew up in Geneva Illinois with her parents and 3 sisters.  They grew up close…4 sisters all born within 6 years of one another, all living in a one-bathroom house.  They grew up very close.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Fenske

The OITF crew first met Megan aka “the littlest Wyer” at Everett family farm in Santa Cruz during our final week in California.  Twenty year-old Megan was a dish washing dynamo, working with a focused intensity that often only comes with years of experience.  The Wyer work ethic was embraced again in Colorado when 22 year old Annie joined us before returning home to attend veterinary school in the fall.  On their own, Megan and Annie were incredible, and together they were unstoppable. They quickly became my right (and left) hands. They parked cars; they meticulously detailed tables; they hauled chairs, all the while battling mosquitos and hot weather.  For a solid stretch, they were a part of the crew, sleeping on the bus and staying up late to play games to picture telephone.

Mom and dad Wyer met us in the Midwest.  Driving straight from New Jersey, dad (Jim) came to Green Acres Farm and washed dishes before heading into work later that very night. Mom (Andi) joined us at both Dietzler Farm and Blue Mont Dairy, alleviating our aches and pains with Icy Hot and Advil, and always making sure that we stayed well hydrated with bottles of water.

After the Dietzler Farm dinner, I even had the pleasure of spending a night in Katie’s childhood home.  We made popcorn, drank wine, and watched TV for the first time in months. The next morning before heading to Heritage Prairie Farm, we stopped for coffee and pastries from the bakery where Katie worked during high school.

I always love meeting friends’ families and seeing where they grew up.  You learn so much about someone simply by seeing where they came from.  I sat in kitchen where Katie spent countless hours battling her insomnia by baking cookies; I saw where she gets her infectious laugh and her ability to stay up ‘til the wee hours of the morning. And even though it was just a brief visit, it was pretty incredible to get a glimpse into the life of someone who has become such an important part of mine.