Farmer John Writes: A Winter Farm Update

This is Farmer John writing you from the wintry quarters of Angelic Organics. Regardless of the season, we always have a lot going on at the farm. I want to give you a glimpse of some of our winter activities.

I’m sharing this update with current and former shareholders, and friends of the farm. If you are a former shareholder, you might still have an interest in what’s going on at Angelic Organics, since the farm once played an important role in your life. Even if you now get your vegetables from a store, the farmer’s market or a delivery service, I still think it’s important to have at least one farm with which to stay vividly and personally connected. Staying connected to a farm will be a continual personal reminder of the interplay between people, nature, soil, and seed, of the ongoing dance that provides sustenance for us humans.

I love farms. I find farms endlessly fascinating, and I strive to inspire that enthusiasm towards farms in others. I have mentioned in former newsletters that a usual requirement for my screening The Real Dirt on Farmer John was to visit one or two farms near that city. As I kept reminding audiences on my film tour, farms are not in the middle of nowhere; they are in the middle of somewhere. A person can forever study graphs and numbers about organics and local and sustainability, but these statistics won’t reach into the person’s heart the way a relationship to a farm can. Each farm is its own epic poem. Deeply presencing oneself to a farm will reveal infinite stanzas of that poem.

I consider winter the season that provides the most impact on the whole crop year. It’s during the winter that we can fix equipment, upgrade buildings, repair greenhouse benches, re-build harvest bins, and, of course, order seeds and other supplies, evaluate systems and procedures, hire new crew members, assess and refine our distribution system…this list could go on and on. Just know that I strive to handle everything achievable in the winter that, if delayed, would get in the way of the growing season. The growing season is the time for tending the crops, not fixing equipment or tweaking our growing plans.

Primo, who has been working with me for 25 years, is of a like mind when it comes to being prepared. He does not procrastinate. He will go over every machine in the winter so it will be reliable when we need it. The motto for the machinery department is “the equipment is always ready to go; the shop is always ready for use.” Primo upholds this standard beautifully.

 

The new farm repair shop built by Primo, Pollo and Victor

Many of you know we have a new heated farm shop, where we can repair and re-build equipment throughout the winter. This winter, Primo and his assistants, Pollo and Victor, are re-building our two Fordson tractors, which we use for bringing in harvests from the fields. The project started out with the plan to replace transmission seals, but then escalated into valve grinding and perhaps replacing the rings. Then Primo said, “how would you like if we painted the Fordsons?”

“Super!” I said.

“Not real fussy,” he added. “We’ll grind off the major rust, build a temporary paint room with Visqueen, and paint them.”

Fordson awaits seals and paint. Fordson engine is in foreground.

Our two Fordsons were built in the 1950’s. Many people collect these vintage Fordsons and meticulously restore them. As a working farm, however, we have to balance meticulousness with the numerous things that need to be done in all areas of the farm. I appreciated Primo’s sensible approach to prettying up the Fordsons. Now we’ll have shiny Fordsons hauling in loads, and every so often, we’ll feel like we are in the 1950’s.

The Fordson color combination that will be applied to our Fordson tractors.

I’ll be back with another winter update for you. I’d like to commit to one update every week, but, like I said, I regard winter as the time to lay the groundwork for the upcoming season, so I might not post again as soon as a week from now. Besides being busy reporting to you about the upcoming season, I’m also busy preparing for it. Regardless, know that we’re approaching the 2016 season as we approached former seasons–intent on doing the best job ever of growing and delivering our vegetables and herbs.

until next time,
Farmer John

P.S. Shares are available for the 2016 season at: www.angelicorganicsfarm.csasignup.com

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