Farmer John Writes: The Power of the Broken Promise

 In Farm News

Please Flatten 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. Here’s a video on how to flatten your box:

Unflattened Boxes

Unflattened Boxes

Weather and Carrots
We finished our carrot harvest a few minutes before a downpour. Then it rained for days.

Fresh Carrots

Fresh Carrots

The Power of the Broken Promise

Local Thyme Setback
“Hi Farmers All:
I am writing because the free recipe service hit us up for $ to help fund them through a business change.  I actually felt a little affronted by that.  I am a very small business and it never occurred to me to be hitting up my customers to fund a financial crisis I was having. I know this is a modern solution, crowd sourcing, so I guess I’m very old school.

Just passing these thoughts along to you all in case I’m not the only one thinking this way.
Nancy Melvin, Ravenswood Manor Site Host”

“Dear Nancy,
I was blindsided that Local Thyme’s request went out to shareholders. I agreed to help her through her woes with a substantial payment beyond the original fee for her service. (I will say, though, that later, upon re-reading Patricia Mulvey’s request of the farm for additional money for Local Thyme, that there was a vague mention in her email that could have been construed as a plan to ask for money from our shareholders, but I did not recognize it as such an intent at the time, so I did not forbid it. I thought Patricia had individual subscribers who she was planning to ask for money, not farms’ shareholders.)”

On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 3:55 PM, John Peterson :
I believe you wrote to all of my shareholders who use your service to ask for funds to keep Local Thyme going. This should not have happened. The contract is between Angelic Organics Farm and Local Thyme. Only the farm should have been contacted for funds, not my shareholders. I am sympathetic to your situation, but I am sure many people will not be—it’s not how most people are inclined. Plus, we offered our shareholders the service for free. In no way should they be asked to pitch in to help you, even though I personally wish the whole world was eager to come to the rescue of those whose plans have gone awry.

I’ll have to send an explanation/apology to my shareholders for this request. I have so far received one negative email from a shareholder regarding this; I anticipate more of these disgruntled replies. (If our shareholders are offering to help you in droves, I am relieved and happy, but, again, they never should have been asked.)

Excerpt from Patricia Mulvey’s reply on Aug 20
I am so sorry to have upset you with that request…You will be happy to know that I’ve had an outpouring of support from members and have received lots of small donations from them, and lots of encouragement and well-wishes. I am now within 75% of my financial goal… I do hope you will accept my apology.

Keeping my Agreement
Because I am wildly busy, and because Patricia says in her email above that she received considerable support from individual shareholders for her request, I decided to just get on with the rest of my life. I’m sorry if some of our shareholders were offended by Patricia’s request to them for support, which, as I say above, I never would have authorized. I stood in front of our shareholders by providing additional financial support to Local Thyme, because I felt I had a contract with my shareholders to provide the recipe service;  if Local Thyme was not going to be able to provide that recipe service, I felt like I would have broken my contract with Angelic Organics shareholders.

No Blame
My decision to help Pat was not a dilemna of whether I was enabling her or empowering her by sending her more money for her service than we initially agreed to; it was a decision to keep my word to my shareholders. In concluding this exposition on contracts and integrity below, I do not mean to implicate Pat Mulvey in my observations—I feel that Pat meant to come through, and she couldn’t, without help.

I’m not incriminating or judging Pat; I’m just elaborating on an issue I have with much of humanity today, as it’s hard for me to keep promises to others that are contingent on commitments to me that people break. (I will add here that a broken promise, whether the promise originates from a place of the best, most earnest, most noble intentions, or from diabolical, cunning manipulation, still remains a broken promise and can have a big impact–regardless of its origin.)

The Tool of the Broken Promise
Of course, keeping agreements is a problem in much of life—the person who feels responsible to others ends up shouldering tremendous burdens to make up for the shortcomings of the many people who don’t come through with their promises. A primary tool in today’s culture is the tool of the broken promise. To offer a sweeping context, we had the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and we are now in the Unaccountability Age.

The Power of the Broken Promise
When I was touring with the film and my cookbook, I encountered a most bewildering and exasperating array of lies and deceits from the entertainment world. I was in a state of shock for much of my 5 year tour at how seemingly easy it was for people to simply mis-represent themselves to me, at my expense, in the hopes that they might realize something profitable out of my efforts.

“Hey, we have Religion. Therefore, by Definition, We Don’t Lie.”
During the film and book tour, I presented to a promotion company an account many pages long that meticulously documented the lies and deceptions that they had heaped upon me over the previous two years. The CEO of the company replied, in summary, “We don’t lie. Our religion forbids it.”

I went to an attorney with this exhaustive (and exhausting) document. The attorney said, “there’s no law against lying. People can lie all they want. There’s only a law against lies that lead to financial loss, and you can’t easily prove that their lies made you lose money.”

Here is an interesting study about lying:

In closing on this disturbing subject, Rudolf Steiner said that for every lie we speak, we kill a spiritual being.

Baby Greens
The volume of baby greens in the field can double in two or three days, if rain and temperature converge in just the right way. This creates a challenge for managing the greens, as we might plan to give you a medium size bag of greens, but suddenly, the greens grow so fast, we end up giving you a very large bag of greens.

Please Help Out There might be a smattering of brown or yellow leaves in your baby greens, or perhaps a weed or two. We don’t strive to remove all of these, as it would require a huge amount of grading time. We ask that our shareholders participate in the baby greens management by closely inspecting your baby greens and removing the occasional weed or discolored leaf.

Protecting Your Cauliflower and Broccoli
We have been wrapping your cauliflower and broccoli in plastic, because the tomatoes and pepper create ethylene which can quickly degrade your brassicas. We don’t like to use the plastic, and now we are giving so few peppers and tomatoes, that we will suspend the bagging of the brassicas.

Cabbage Harvest

Cabbage Harvest

Farm Field Day
We had a great turnout at the Field Day. We had three full wagonloads of shareholders who went to the pumpkin patch to select lovely pumpkins and gourds. There was also a wagonload of people who visited the Kinnikinnick Woods to learn more about the creek.

These boots are ready for a wet walk in the woods

These boots are ready for a wet walk in the woods

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. 

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

Your Farmer, John

Saturday’s Box Contents

Please Note: this summary is written before you receive your box—be aware that some guesswork is involved. What we think we’ll put in your box might not actually end up in your box. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables, and remember to sort through your baby greens to eliminate any discolored leaves or weeds.

Salad Greens – lettuce, spinach
Fruiting Crops – sweet peppers, hot peppers
Cooking Greens – choi
Brassicas – broccoli
Root Crops – potatoes, carrots
Stem Crops – kohlrabi

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  • Matt Stevens


    We have home delivery. I dropped quite a few boxes off at the field day earlier this summer. I believe I now have 10 broken down boxes. Each week we set them out. Each week we still have them. Sometimes the delivery is to our front porch, sometimes it’s to our back yard as originally requested. Either way is fine & we have no complaints. But the boxes are starting to pile up with no rescue in sight.

    • Angelic Organics

      Hi Matt,

      So sorry about this.

      I will make sure Chicago Messenger picks up your empty boxes on your next delivery day, and also that the courier follows your delivery instructions.

      Please email me at email hidden; JavaScript is required if you need more help.


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