John and Fiona Wilcox met in London in 1992, where they fell in love over countless cups of tea in the cafe in the crypt under St. Martin in the Fields on Trafalgar Square. John, a native Californian, moved to Washington, D.C. late that same year, proposed to Fiona in Georgetown that Christmas, and then married her in a tiny church at a crook in the road in the little village of Binfield in England. They lived and worked in various places since they married – Washington, D.C., London, and Peru – until they returned to Washington, D.C. in 2000 ready to settle down.
Both John and Fiona had grown up with their fingers in the dirt. John’s father was a physician who liked farming and thought a farm would teach his sons how to work hard. So the family always had 15 to 20 acres of nuts and fruit, where summers were spent plowing, irrigating, and bringing in the harvest every September. Fiona’s father had spent the war years in England as a conscientious objector, and was sent to work on a farm to produce food for the war effort. She grew up helping her Dad in the vegetable patch behind their bungalow in the village of Binfield, and she still talks about the delicious “new” potatoes he used to grow.
So with the rural life still in their bones, John and Fiona decided in 2009 to sell their little house on a half acre in Silver Spring and move out to Howard County, where they had found an old plantation house for sale with just enough land to start up a small market garden. And so begins a new chapter in the history of Roundabout Hills