Farmer John Writes: Please…Please Your Host!

 In Farm News

Welcome to our Twelfth Harvest Week

Please Temporarily Change Your Pickup Site or Put Your Box on Vacation Hold at Least Two Weeks in Advance
If you want to temporarily change your pickup site, or put your box on vacation hold, please do it a full two weeks before you need the actual change by logging into your record here: (I wrote more fully about these great shareholder-service features in Farm News, Week 4.) It’s easy to make the change yourself. You probably already know now if you will need to make this change two weeks into the future.

I realize it’s easy to put the change off and ask our office to do it manually after the two week deadline has passed and you are exuberantly packing for your great upcoming trip. Please don’t ask Shelly or my wife Haidy to do it last minute; they already have too much to do. Also, asking them to do it last minute requires that we re-create the pickup list for your site or the home delivery list; it means we have to create a new number for the box count for that pack day. If fruit is involved in the change, it means changing the order for our fruit purveyor, which already has been placed two weeks in advance.

Thanks to those of you who have been making changes on your own.

Please…Please!..Honor Your Host’s Request for If and How You Can Pick up Your Box After Hours
Your site host plays a very special role in our CSA model, making it possible for us to bring boxes of fruit and vegetables to a convenient pickup site right in your neighborhood. The night before each delivery, you receive an email notification. Click on the link in your email notification to find out the rules your host has for picking up a box outside of regular pickup hours. If the host allows for a box to be picked up after hours, please adhere to the terms of that arrangement. If the host does not allow for the box to be picked up after hours, please honor that stipulation by picking up during pickup hours or having someone pick up for you.

Our hosts have lives outside of managing pickup sites for our farm. They are already generously providing a space to enable your community to pick up your boxes locally. If the host is unable to accommodate you picking up your box after hours, you should already know that in advance from reading your regular email pickup reminder and you should arrange for your box accordingly.

If you miss a flight, you probably don’t call the airlines and tell them their plane should have waited for you to arrive. If you are late for work and the company policy is to not be late for work, you probably will not argue with your employer that should let you be late for work—same with showing up late at the theater. Your successful participation in time-related activities depends on abiding by the rules. In this same vein, you will never catch me trying to negotiate my farming schedule with a rainstorm.

Your box is filled week after week because we adamantly honor the Farming Rules of Time

Read about our Extraordinary Site Hosts in this season’s Farm News, Week 6. Remember, the Community Supported Agriculture model is an exercise in seeing the world through the eyes of the other, in developing empathy, in looking out for one another. Most of our shareholders recognize that our hosts play a very generous role in bringing the farm and shareholders together. For those who haven’t been cultivating this appreciation, please take a moment to contemplate the host’s generous community role: many of our hosts have to deal with returned boxes that are not flattened; messes of vegetable debris that shareholders leave behind when they divvy up a shared box at their site; messes that shareholders leave when they engage in the forbidden practice of rifling through boxes to get extra produce or to find the fullest box; calls from shareholders making various (sometimes unacceptable) requests concerning their box; and shareholders stopping by to pick up their box a day or two late without making prior arrangements. Please…Please Your Host! with consideration, appreciation and empathy; your host is a community hero.

A Shareholder Writes about Farm News
“I didn’t grow up on a farm. Like most Americans living today, I have been completely dissociated from the land and the natural production of good food. I so appreciate the insights Farmer John provided into the art and science of farming and for his vision of this CSA. I appreciate the hard work and the wonderful results of all the effort of the entire Angelic Organics team. I enjoy knowing about the “intention and the happenstance” it takes to put quality food on my table, and I appreciate the hands that touch it before it gets to me. I’m learning about foods I never knew existed and I’ve never been disappointed. Thank you all so much.

May God bless our bounty,


Note from Farmer John
Thanks for the lovely acknowledgment, Kathryn. It means a lot to us at the farm.

Shareholders Write Mixed Reviews about Mizuna
“Just have to say, I LOVE the mizuna!

I’ve been a shareholder for 3 years now and of the 3 years, I’ve only been able to actually consume the mizuna once… In addition, and I know this is completely subjective, I don’t find the flavor at all pleasant.  Maybe the resources used to grow it would be better put toward something more hardy.  Maybe spinach instead?  That really lasted lasted a long time in my fridge.

Note from Farmer John
There will be no mizuna for the rest of the season. There will be arugula this week, and probably also in a later week. There will likely be more pea shoots, and spinach. Spinach does not grow consistently well in our soil. This might be because of how our soil, which is high in clay content, holds moisture, giving spinach what is known as wet feet. We’re not really sure—some of our spinach harvests are great; some are dismal. We mentioned this once to our fertility consultant; he talked us into buying some certified organic compost from him to spread on a partial bed, just to prove how effective it would be. The compost prevented almost all the spinach in that part of the bed from germinating—a complete failure for his product. The untreated part of the bed grew okay spinach. Farming and Mysteries go together.

We Tumbled from Summer into Fall
Last week, we finished our melon and sweet corn harvest. We immediately began to harvest squash and potatoes. The fall season is upon us.  You’ll find these fall crops in your box this week. For those of you who pick up early in the week, you’ll receive our remaining melons.

Potato Power

The Crops
Our regular tomatoes have ripened somewhat small, due to foliar desiccation. They will peak quickly, and will be available in modest quantities for only a few weeks.  Our heirloom tomatoes, which are less prone to blight, are holding up well and will provide you with lovely heirlooms for several more weeks.

The bunched beets which you will likely receive this week have also experienced a foliar decline. Our crew has steadfastly removed questionable leaves while making bunches, but you might also examine your beet greens to make sure they are to your standards. As I’ve mentioned in former newsletters, the rains and humidity in the early part of the season have hurt some of our crops, though overall, we were spared the foliar wrath that often accompanies such weather.

We (you) have great potatoes and squash this year!

Surprise Expenses
The kind of farming we do is expensive. It requires a lot of hand labor and a lot of specialized equipment. I have a team of three fabulous mechanics and equipment operators, headed up by Primo (Jesus) Briano who has been working with me for 25 years. They keep our sometimes new but mostly old (elderly?) equipment running smoothly. That’s one of our main reasons how we get so much work done and feed so many people.

This year, in spite of my team’s excellent maintenance work, we have had many extra expenses. I’ll mention some of them, just so you can get a picture of where some of your share money might go on a diverse vegetable farm. I’ll round the numbers off: replacement flail mower (to avoid a $2500 repair on the old ill-suited rotary mower)—$8100; new tires and other repairs for compost spreader—$2500; two aprons (chain conveyors) for potato harvester—$3500; rebuild of the hydraulic transmission of our 656 Farmall tractor—$6700; overhaul of our 826 International tractor—$7100; rebuild of the hydraulic cylinders on our bin dumper- $900; partial rebuild of onion harvester —$2,000; overhaul of our Allis G cultivating tractor—$2100. (These are just what I remember at this sitting…I’m sure there are more expenses I am forgetting.) Oh, yeah, replacement of massive battery pack on fork truck—$5000 (will probably not buy the battery pack and just junk the fork truck.) And not exactly a repair, but a necessary expense—removal of several trees that threatened to fall on our buildings or whose trunks threatened our building’s foundations–$4100.

You could conclude that I must have a lot of money because I can make these outlays, or that I must not have much money, because I have to make these outlays. Your level of empathy will probably bear on your conclusion.

The Weather Last Week
Pleasant temperatures—one nice downpour.

Pick Your Pumpkin at our Upcoming Field Day, Saturday, September 19
Kids love picking pumpkins and gourds on our Fall Field Day, Saturday, September 19. Mark your calendar.

Learn more at

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 Enter the farm code AOLTFREE under “I am a member of a CSA farm.”  Click the sign-up button.

Let us Know
Let Shelly know anything you’d like to share about this week’s box email hidden; JavaScript is required. Please note the week and day of delivery, your site, when you picked up your box, and any comments about your box.

Please Fold Your Boxes Properly and Return Them
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 box to your delivery site. If you receive home delivery, place it in the location where your box is delivered.

More from Shareholders
Visit us often at, where we post exciting farm developments regularly, and shareholders post recipes, tips, and photos.

Saturday’s Box Contents
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.

Salad Greens – lettuce, arugula
Fruiting Crops – sweet peppers, tomatoes, delicata squash, eggplant
Root Crops – potatoes, beets
Herbs – cilantro

Your Farmer, John

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