Farmer John Writes: Communication, a Broken Promise and Snap Beans

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 6, July 13th – July 16th, 2016

How Does the Box Come About?
You probably already know that I (Farmer John) am the designer of your box each week. I am also the scheduler of planting and orchestrator of variety via our planting directives. I am also the approximator of yields. This, of course, makes for an interesting dance, as crops mature more or less on schedule with a yield that is more or less predictable. With the great yields and the fantastic quality this season, this dance has been fun.

On the pack line, we typically place the more durable vegetables towards the bottom of the box. We arrange the contents that you encounter upon opening your box to be colorful and aromatic, when possible. Presentation is an important element of our intention that you have a great experience of your box. From that first look, all the way through storage, preparation and dining, we want the very best for you.


Potatoes Flower on Schedule for Fall Deliveries

Your Box This Week–Saturday, July 16

Please Note: this summary is written before we pack your box—be aware that some guesswork is involved. At times, a bit of improvisation is required for selecting the contents of your share. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini / Summer Squash
  • Carrots
  • Bunched Kale or Swiss Chard
  • Celery
  • Sweet Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Beets (maybe)
  • Lettuce (maybe)

Sign up for the Free Recipe Service
Make sure you sign up for the Local Thyme recipe service we offer with your share. It received many great reviews from our shareholders last season. Local Thyme has storage and handling tips, a vegetable identification guide, and recipes featuring 5 ingredients that are available in your box each week. Find the instructions for signing up for Local Thyme at

As soon as they are lifted from the soil, they radiate a luscious carrot aroma.

The onion you receive may be a sweet onion or a storage onion, the result of a bit of harvest confusion. These onion types are interchangeable enough in cooking so as not to cause an onion drama.

Bagging Baby Greens
We bag our baby greens and do our best to seal the bag with air in it, like a balloon, so it provides air for freshness and offers a cushion in transport. When this seal holds, the bag is very durable, like a giant packing bubble. If a stem punctures the bag, or if the seal we make in closing the bag doesn’t hold, the baby greens don’t get the ride and the protection we strive for. We constantly seek to improve your experience of your share.

Upcoming Vegetables and Herbs
Count on receiving the following vegetables quite regularly for the next few weeks:
Zucchini / Summer Squash
Sweet Onions
A bunched Cooking Green, either Kale or Swiss Chard


Kale Begets More Kale

Not Quite Yet, but Soon
Sweet Corn

Recent Survey Regarding Angelic Organics Communications
(The following section especially applies to Chicagoland shareholders who pick up at community sites, but will probably make for an interesting read for others, too.)

Thank you to those of you who filled out the recent Communications Survey. The impetus behind the survey was to determine how many of our Chicagoland shareholders who pick up at community sites have been getting a delivery notification email, so they would know it was time to pick up their box. We have been regularly assured by Chicago Messenger Service since the season started that the email system was working properly, but we have received more and more shareholder complaints that it was not.

The survey corroborated this sad fact: 69% of respondents have seldom or never received the email, and, for those who do receive the email, it seldom or never corresponds to the delivery time for 41% of respondents.


The Chicago Messenger Service Promise to Angelic Organics
Sent on Jan 16, 2016: John, I just got off the phone with the head of my IT and we can definitely do the email POD [Proof of Delivery] to all of your customers at the specific sites. 

The Subsequent Angelic Organics Promise on our website
Upgrade #2–Email Notifications! As soon as the Chicago Messenger Service driver has delivered our refrigerated CSA shares to a community delivery site, they will send out an email notification to all shareholders who pick up at that site on that day.

Typical Shareholder Survey Comments (selected from a list 84 posted comments)
* I received it several days late once. Otherwise never receive it
* I pick up on Saturday and received this email Sunday night
* I have received the email only twice – once on a Sunday at 9 pm, and this past weekend it came on Saturday at 2 pm (though my box was there when I went at 11 am)

Personally, I would go nuts if I kept getting an email that my share had been delivered hours or a day after it had been delivered. I would feel like I was in an altered reality, a time and space warp. I suppose this has something to do with how I farm. Farming is a constant reality check. Crops go in at a certain time on a certain day–those are the facts. If I received a notice that the crops had been planted on a day or a time that they had not been planted, I would panic.

My wife Haidy and I have gone to great lengths to get this delivery notification email system on track. (I suppose I should put this effort into proper perspective: My wife Haidy and I have gone to GREAT LENGTHS to get this delivery notification email system on track. How often do you encounter me using all caps in Farm News to make a point? Perhaps a font increase is in order: …GREAT LENGTHS…) Since we do not directly manage the CMS email system, we have been continually thwarted.

I apologize to everyone for whom this flawed delivery notification system has created confusion, disappointment and inconvenience. I will request that Chicago Messenger Service stop the email notifications for shareholders who pick up at community sites (but continue it for those who get home delivery, for whom the email notification program is adequate—not stellar, but adequate.) Haidy and I will investigate if Angelic Organics can manage the delivery notification system for community sites properly. We think we can, but it all depends on getting timely notifications from CMS when each site delivery is completed. I’m not sure CMS will make that happen.

In the Meantime, Pick up Your Share at the Published Time
CMS has been doing a good job of delivering the shares to the community sites according to the published schedule, so it’s likely that if you go to your site according to the published delivery time, your share will be there.

Field Day at the Farm, July 16
We hope you attend our Field Day this coming Saturday, July 16. Plan to arrive late morning for hayrides, potluck feast, a visit to the animals at the Learning Center, and a trip to the U-Pick garden, perhaps for some green beans and a bouquet of flowers. Please arrive by 11 a.m. We like to complete the hayrides by lunch at 12:30.

Snap Beans in Our U-Pick Garden
We are excited that green and yellow snap beans are ripening in our lovely U-Pick Garden in time for the Field Day. Also, in bloom are bachelor buttons, marigolds, calendula, larkspur, borage, zinnia and cosmos. The dill and sage are also ready. Maps for the garden will be available where you check in at the barn. We’ll have a station of scissors and bags at the U-Pick garden. Learn more on our Shareholder U-Pick page.


Snap Beans in the Shareholder U-Pick Garden

Angelic Organics Learning Center Farm Dinner

Farm to City_Save the Date
Galleria Marchetti (825 W. Erie St. Chicago, IL)
Tickets & Info:

Angelic Organics Learning Center is bringing the farm to Chicago! Join them for a special Peak Harvest Farm Dinner recognizing Rick Bayless & Deann Groen Bayless of Frontera Farmer Foundation for their impact on sustainable & organic farmers growing our local food system. Galleria Marchetti will transform into an urban farm oasis filled with food and drinks using organic & local ingredients, a fresh pie stand, live bluegrass music from the No Name String Band, and a farm store! Enjoy photo ops with adorable farm animals, mingle with fellow food + farm supporters, and meet special guests including emcee Monica Eng of WBEZ Public Media & Chewing!

Local farms and purveyors include Angelic Organics CSA farm, All Grass Farms, New Holland Brewing, Girasole Vineyards (Candid Wines), Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits, and more! FREE bus from Rockford. Proceeds benefit the non-profit Angelic Organics Learning Center and their programs that build sustainable local food & farm system. Tickets are limited, so buy early.

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 carefully flatten your box and return it to your delivery site. If you receive home delivery, place them 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, reviews tips, and photos. If you’re inspired to write a review, please do. We like knowing how our shareholders are experiencing the season.

Let us Know  
Let Shelly know anything you’d like to share about this week’s box at 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.

Farmer John



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