Farmer John Writes: What do Future Farmers Wear?

 In Farm News

Welcome to our Twenty-Second Harvest Week, the Second Week of the Extended Season

Make Sure You are Supposed to be Picking up a Box this Week
Check your record at to confirm whether you are signed up for an Extended Season Share.

It’s supposed to be in the 70’s this week. Wow!

Box Fullness (from Week 21)
I have written many times about my commitment to your box being full. One person on the pack line is dedicated exclusively to making sure that your box is full. Occasionally, I get complaints from shareholders who say the boxes are not as full as they used to be. We can’t fill them any fuller without crushing the contents. In case you missed this newsletter, Week 21, I believe it’s worth clicking through and reading Bounty and the Box… Also, if you would like to know more about the box composition—the composition we get vs. the composition we are striving for–check out the Week 20 newsletter if you missed it in Week 20.

Upcoming Treats this Fall
We have left the popcorn in the field to dry further. We’ll harvest it soon. There will probably be popcorn in both your Week 23 and Week 24 box. It might be dry enough when you receive it to pop right away, or you might need to husk the ear and let it dry on your counter for a while. Popcorn reminds us that things can change, sometimes suddenly. There will be a nice bulb of garlic in the Week 24 box, and maybe the Week 23 box. We might save the purple potatoes for the last week, too. We like to snaz the boxes up a bit just before Thanksgiving.

Next Year
If you follow these newsletters, you know I am a planner, and you know that I execute the plans, especially when they have to do with crops and your boxes. In order to get our spring crops into the fields in a timely way, we have to build their fertility in the years prior—done; and prepare their beds the season before—done. In order for your boxes to have lovely White German Porcelain garlic next year, we have to plant it this fall—done. If it’s too wet or too cold or too dry, none of that matters; it simply has to be planted this fall, then mulched with straw in mid-November, so you will be able to enjoy it in your next year’s meals.

This fall--making sure you have lovely White German Porcelain Garlic next year...

This fall–making sure you have lovely White German Porcelain Garlic next year…

Future Farmers Know How to Dress
This past summer, we had a great young worker employed on the farm, Sarah Brookner. Sarah did a super job of helping to manage the greenhouse, worked steadfastly in the fields, and was overall an enthusiastic, lively presence on the farm. I hope we have Sarah back next year. She loves to learn. I want to help her to get familiar with a wider range of farming activities than she has already experienced, such as direct seeding with a tractor and crop monitoring.

Sarah wants to have a career in agriculture (ag), and is very active in her school’s agricultural programs in Harvard, Illinois, including the Future Farmers of America (FFA). Sarah, her ag teacher Leah Wilkening, and several fellow FFA students came to Angelic Organics for a tour of the crops and the farmstead. They also helped to pack CSA boxes that afternoon. They looked so happy packing the boxes—a joy to behold!

Most of what these students study would be considered conventional agriculture, so they were quite wide-eyed about some of our organic practices, our machinery and our crops. When they were off on their own, they went into the farm’s extensive costume department and dressed one another up for a photo shoot. I thought that this portends an exciting future for agriculture!

Know your Future Farmers

Know your Future Farmers

The Past
My wife Haidy and I live in a converted one room, limestone schoolhouse (long known as the Bamlett Schoolhouse, and almost always misspelled the Bamblett Schoolhouse.) The house is across the road from the farm. My dad graduated from this school and my mother taught here during the 1930’s.

A few days ago, a man parked in the road and approached me in the yard. He was tall and lean, with snowy, wavy hair. He said, “I used to go to school here. My last name’s Elmer. I lived over there.” He pointed to a homesite on the hill west of me. He continued, “I had your mom for a teacher.”

Bamlett Schoolhouse, where Haidy and Farmer John live and learn

Bamlett Schoolhouse, where Haidy and Farmer John live and learn

“What do you remember about her?” I asked.

“She was small. Her husband was quite a bit taller than her. I can’t remember much else. It was 74 years ago. I know she lived down there,” he added, pointing towards the farm that is now Angelic Organics.

The height difference between Farmer John’s parents, Lester and Anna

The height difference between Farmer John’s parents, Lester and Anna

I said, “One of her pupils told me that after school was out, she ran as fast as she could down to the farm so she could pick a wagonload of corn before supper.”

I continued, “A couple years back, a woman and two kids came out here and without asking for permission or even knocking on the door to see if anyone was home, they laid out a blanket under that tree in our yard, and had a picnic. I wasn’t here when they did it. My wife watched this from the window. She thought it was very strange, but she wasn’t feeling well that day, so she didn’t go out to investigate. We wondered for a long time who that was that just plunked down in our yard for a picnic without announcing themselves.”

“Did you ever find out who she was?” he asked.

“About a year later, my sister told me that Donna Miller had written her and said she and her grandkids had had a picnic on our lawn.”

“Oh, sure,” he said. “I went to school here with Donna.”

I said, “she must have felt like this place was still a part of her, after all these years. I loved that she spread out her blanket and had a picnic. She felt like she belonged.”

I added, “ A lot of people passed through here over the years who had my mom for a teacher, just to track her down and tell her what a great teacher she was and how much they loved her.”

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.

Please Flatten Your Boxes Properly and Return Them, Especially if You have been Stockpiling 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 flatten your box carefully. Return your empty, flattened vegetable box to your delivery site. If you receive home delivery, place your box(es) in the location where your box is delivered. If you receive fruit, you’ll need to re-cycle your fruit box on your own, as the farm does not re-use your fruit boxes.

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, arugula, tatsoi
Cooking Greens – kale
Brassicas – cabbage, broccoli side shoots
Alliums – onions
Root Crops – carrots
Herbs – parsley, cilantro

Thank you for being with us this year,
Farmer John and the Crew

Happy Healthy Handmade Holiday at the Angelic Organics Learning Center
Making a plan for your Thanksgiving holiday weekend? Bring the whole family to the farm for our Holiday Fun Farmsgiving program from 10:30-2:30 on Saturday, November 21. We’ll use farm goods to make holiday gifts, and we’ll enjoy time with the animals each other. Pre-register at

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