Welcome to the First Week of our Extended Season for 2014 – Oct 29 & 30 (Wed & Thurs)
Welcome to the First Week of our Extended Season for 2014
Farmer John Writes about Gold and the Chicago Board of Trade
Gold and the Chicago Board of Trade
My wife Haidy and I visited the Board of Trade Building last Sunday, one of several wondrous sites featured during the Open House Chicago weekend. The goddess of grain, Ceres, presides from atop the lovely Deco building in homage to the crops that gave rise to Chicago’s robust grain trade. The building itself presides from the middle of LaSalle Street, in homage to the role that agriculture once played in making Chicago such a robust and glorious city.
The building is located near the Chicago River, because decades ago, traders actually inspected the barge loads of corn, wheat and oats that floated in from the fertile Midwestern hinterlands; they sifted the grain through their fingers, then haggled and bartered over what they had seen and touched and smelled. Eventually, the crops were standardized (for example: #2 corn, 56 lbs per bushel test weight, 5000 bushels per contract) and the traders no longer needed to see or know the physical products; the crops became abstractions, the Chicago River became a recreational amenity.
A trader I met in the 80’s said that pretty much no one on the soybean-trading floor had ever seen a soybean plant. I sent him a representative plant, complete with soybean pods. He taped it to the podium in the bean-trading pit. He told later me that his fellow traders kept going up to the podium to inspect the bean plant and saying things like “so this is what we sell and buy every day.”
Today, the chasm between physical crop and cold commerce has become even wider. The rugged days of raucous face-to-face trading in the commodity pits have mostly given way to computerized trading. Corn, wheat, oats and beans have transmuted from actual crops on the barges of the Chicago River to sweaty flourishes of the hand in the trading pits to cold pulses of electricity.
As part of the tour, we were welcome to visit the enormous vault on the ground floor of the building. The vault was filled with safe deposit boxes of many sizes; some of the boxes were bigger than a bushel (1.2445 cu ft). The largest ones might have exceeded 2, maybe even 3 bushels in volume. Immense fortunes must have once been stored in these boxes, perhaps to be lost one sudden day in the trading pits, and maybe replenished the next. The vault was no longer used; the cavernous, lustrous vault was eerily barren. Many of the safe deposit doors were open; drawers extended out from the sleek, metallic interiors.
In spite of its delightful deco-ness with its motifs of grain, its prominent location in the middle of a busy street and its statuesque muse that gazes out upon Chicago, I felt that today the Board of Trade building was missing its primal connection to the rich soil and the bountiful crops that gave rise to the edifice. I consequently snuck an ear of Angelic Organics popcorn into one of the safety deposit boxes and slid it shut, where it now secretly glistens like gold.
The Farmers’ Markets and the Community Supported Agriculture Movement of Chicago today re-capitulate the days when its citizens actually knew the crops they were buying.
You can look forward to generous amounts of mustard greens (arugula, mizuna, etc), pea shoots, and spinach in your upcoming boxes, due to the warm October weather. You will also receive the regular fall crops: cabbage, beets, squash, celeriac, rutabaga, potatoes, and popcorn, etc., along with some garlic and onions. (As I mentioned in a former newsletter, we had a disappointing carrot crop due to the relentless rains; all the carrots have been given out already.)
Our 2015 garlic crop is all planted. We increased the garlic acreage by 50% for next year, so our shareholders will receive more of our popular German White Porcelain Garlic next season.
Thanks to The Crew
Warmish weather this past week, with daytime temperatures in the 60’s …great for mid-October. It makes the salad greens grow and makes the work more pleasant for the crew.
This past week was the last week of our full season harvest. Now we have about 40% as many boxes to pack each week for the extended season shares. Besides harvesting and packing, the crew will be tidying up spaces, doing inventories, and winding down between now and Thanksgiving.
Our U-Pick Garden is finished for the year.
More from Shareholders
Visit us often at www.facebook.com/angelicorganics, where we post exciting farm developments regularly, and shareholders post recipes, tips, and photos.
Please Note: this summary is written before you receive your box—please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.
Broccoli Side Shoots
Cornbread from the Ground Up!Check out these three fun classes for families coming up at the Learning Center this November!
Saturday, November 8, 2pm-4:30pm
Bring your family to the farm for an afternoon of shucking, shelling, winnowing and grinding our heirloom corn into delicious cornbread. We’ll use farm-fresh eggs from our chickens, too. Yum!
Pumpkin Pie! A Family Program
Sunday, November 23, 10am-2pm
You’ll not only learn a secret for making a delicious “pumpkin” pie, you’ll also learn all about how we care for the soil, vegetables and animals on our farm.
Thanksgiving Food from the Farm
Wednesday, November 26, 9am-3pm
At this hands-on class for families, you’ll make and take mashed potatoes, salad, and a pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving feast, all with food from the farm.
Please pre-register at www.learngrowconnect.org/events
Plus, we have a special offer: 10% off any and all fall classes!
Use the discount code “FALL201410AOSHAREHOLDER“.
Expires on December 1, 2014.
Please pre-register for all programs at www.learngrowconnect.org/events.
Farmer John and the Angelic Organics Farm Team