Welcome to the First Harvest Week of our 25th Season as a Community Supported Agriculture Farm!
Farmer John Writes about The Tempestuous Trajectory of Time
Your Very Own Farm
Thank you for being a member of our farm this season. Every season is exciting at Angelic Organics, with weather, work, soil, machines, people, seeds, bees, spreadsheets, worry, hope, and love converging to bring a box of local organic produce to you.
Many people remember a relative’s farm that they visited while growing up, perhaps even spending a summer there, making hay and picking berries. Often, these farms reside only as memories, having been sold off to developers or a farmer who wanted to expand. In the spirit of Community Supported Agriculture, we offer our farm to you today to take into your heart—Your Very Own Farm (without all the work!)
Your first box is full, but it is not full with what I anticipated. Let me explain, and you will have a peek into the workings of seasonal eating and Community Supported Agriculture.
I have been farming a long time–58 years, if you count as farming the two years I took care of the chickens, before I started running equipment and milking cows morning-and-night at the age of 9. I like to think that one of the ways I’ve gotten good at farming is in knowing things and not knowing them at the same time, or thinking something’s true and knowing it might not be true.
I love to offer a first box that is full of lovely diversity. This takes a lot of planning. In the winter, I decide which week we are likely to make the first delivery and then go backwards in time from that week to figure out when to seed things in the greenhouse or directly into the field to have those crops be ready for that first week. (Every delivery of the season is planned out this way.)
I want the first box to be fantastic, aromatic, and dazzling. I want the early crops to mature at the beginning of the first harvest week. Now, imagine trying to get nature and seeds to cooperate to make that convergence consistently happen! Usually, I get the trajectory wrong and some of the vegetables mature a bit early. There are two very reliable, lovely crops—lettuce and broccoli–that often thwart me by the earliest of them coming in a bit early. Broccoli has been in the first box for eight of the last nine years. Lettuce has been abundantly in the first box for nine of the last nine years.
This year, Primo (who many of you recognize as a mainstay of Angelic Organics, having worked here for the last 24 years) and I assessed the fields about two weeks ago. Upon studying the broccoli, I looked at Primo and said, “that broccoli is going to be early.” “Yup,” said Primo. We looked at the lettuce and Primo said, “that first lettuce is going to be early.” “Yup,” I said. It’s been that kind of spring—nice, cool weather, interspersed with rain and then warm periods.
We got it Wrong
Well, my shareholder friends, the broccoli is not ready yet, and the lettuce heads are still quite small! Why? What did I say in my introduction?—I like to think that one of the ways I’ve gotten good at farming is in knowing things and not knowing them at the same time. Farming presents an endless stream of mysteries. Although I admittedly have a theory about why the broccoli and lettuce are slow–a smaller cell size for the transplant to root in this season–I don’t want to just think I know the answer. Of course, it’s a temptation to have an answer—that broccoli and lettuce slowness is obviously because of a smaller transplant cell size. I think it’s better to ponder the cell size, but overall to just be in the mystery of the slowness.
How Did that Happen?
Letting things remain mysterious and unanswered is a path for true revelation to eventually occur–or for the opportunity to reside in the humble place of not knowing. To digress a bit on this need to know, think of the fatal collision; the house fire, the airplane crash. Before even (or ever) becoming present to the actual tragedy, pain and grief that is caused by the event, people typically want to know the reason. How did that happen? What caused it? Who’s at fault? Who can we blame? Perhaps some day our era will be looked back upon as the Age of Reasons.
The lettuce and broccoli were projected to take up about 40% of your first box. For the early part of Week 1, the lettuce might take up 10% of your first box, and the broccoli is probably not going to be in your box. It’s possible, of course, because of the nice rain we got last night, Saturday, that some heads of broccoli will suddenly form and there will be broccoli in your first box, but I suspect it won’t be there. (If the broccoli is in one box at your site, it will be in all of them, so please don’t rifle through other people’s boxes to look for the elusive head of broccoli.)
Fortunately, I am all about contingencies–What if…what if??? to the point of driving some people crazy. Can’t you be more trusting they ask? No, I reply. Therefore, I organize the projected maturities of crops so that, if the vegetables projected for the Week 1 box won’t all be ready, some vegetables from Week 2 will probably be ready early. Therefore, for those who receive a box early this week, you will receive a full box, but it will be a box of less diversity than you will receive in the future. It will be different than what is typical. You might get an extra head of crisp choi, or maybe an extra bunch of scrumptious radishes. Welcome to farming; to the mysterious workings of nature, to Community Supported Agriculture.
For those of you who receive a box later in the week, there’s a good chance that there will be broccoli in it and larger heads of lettuce than your fellow shareholders received in the first part of the week (but please don’t taunt them. They might be getting more radishes than you get.)
P.S. Yet Another Welcome
Almost overnight, the broccoli started to head out, I discovered late this Sunday afternoon. (In a stock chart, this would be called a gap up.) I think the broccoli will be ready for the first delivery this week, but not if we harvest it tomorrow morning. We will wait until tomorrow afternoon, when it will be larger, then ice it overnight to take out the field heat. Just those few hours will make a big difference in its size. I know some people will find it hard to believe that a head of broccoli will noticeably grow in just a few hours, but it’s true. And the lettuce has also leapt outward and upward. The first box will contain two young, tender heads of lettuce and hopefully a head of broccoli.
P.P.S Yet Another Another Welcome
Upon close examination Monday afternoon, we’ve determined the broccoli is not quite ready.
Your consolation for not receiving broccoli: scrumptious pea shoots! (For those of you who receive your box later in the week, you might get broccoli and pea shoots.)
Sign up for the Free Recipe Service!
Make sure you sign up for the Local Thyme recipe service we offer with this year’s share. It received many great reviews from our shareholders last season. Go to www.localthyme.net/register . Enter the farm code AOLTFREE under “I am a member of a CSA farm.” Click the sign-up button.
Let us Know
Please Fold Your Boxes Properly and Return Them to Your Site
The farm re-uses the vegetable boxes. Flaps are easily torn when the boxes are dismantled improperly, and then the box bottom might later burst open with fresh, organic local produce heading towards the floor. Please return your empty, flattened vegetable boxes to your delivery site.
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.
Box Contents, Saturday Delivery
Please Note: this summary is written before you receive your box—be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.
red, green head lettuce
tender pea shoots
green heads of pac choi
We hope you enjoy your first box of the season.
Adventures at the Angelic Organics Learning Center
Angelic Organics Learning Center is an exciting and engaging place to learn about food, farming, and caring for the earth. Sign up for a hands-on farm workshop now at http://www.learngrowconnect.org/events
I’m laughing and feeling your pain around the broccoli dilemma.
That’s because I have a similar problem only I’m not a real farmer.:)
Last February I got so sick of wishing for fresh veggies that I planted organic broccoli seeds in an earth box in my condo window.
Two of the broccoli died. I relaced them with kale. One is struggling along.
I have a Buddha statue on top of the soul to keep the cats away.
Finally, one broccoli has grown larger than the Buddha but still not ready.
Hey, maybe I’ll try plsying classical music to him:)
Looking forward with patience to Angelic Organic broccoli.
Thanks for your update :$
Hit the post button to soon.. Buddha is on top of the soil… Dollar sign at the end of the post was supposed to be a smiley…
Oh.. You know what I mean…
Angelic Organics chard is growing nicely in our condo community garden.
Thanks for the seedlings too
this is my first year with angelic organics, and i must say, signing up for this CSA is worth it just for these sorts of updates. how delightful!