Farmer John Writes: a Little Book and a Review

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 8, July 27th – July 30th

Your Box This Week — Saturday, July 30th

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.

  • Watermelon (Yellow or Red) and/or Arava Muskmelon
  • Bell Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant (probably)
  • Fennel
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Zucchini / Summer Squash
  • Sweet Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Flat Leaf Parsley

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

In case you’re wondering if it’s worth the trouble to sign up for the Local Thyme recipe service, here’s a sample recipe: Cucumber Sour Cream Dip.

Your Crops (Friday and Saturday shareholders)
You are receiving the first tomatoes of the season this week—no sweet corn, though. The upcoming field of sweet corn is taking its time to ripen. You should receive a nice helping of corn next week. Peppers will appear in your boxes in greater numbers as the season unfolds. Eggplants are just a bit behind the peppers.

My wife and I are enjoying a most sweet, juicy watermelon from our fields this week. I’ll add here that watermelons are a bit of a mystery. The vines often die back a bit early, which has happened again this year. This results in some of the melons not fully ripening. We have opened up several of the melons this year, and have determined that the great majority of them are ripe. If you get an unripe melon, know that when harvesting the melon, it is really difficult to distinguish between a ripe melon and an unripe one, especially if the vines wilt early. The melon will look the same on the outside whether it is ripe or not. And the normal ways of determining ripeness, such as waiting for tendrils at the stem to dry or thumping on the melon to detect a hollow sound, aren’t as reliable when the vines die back early. This is probably too much exposition for a problem that seems minor this year, but it still seems like something you should know.



An Apology from CMS about Erratic Site Delivery Notification Emails
“On Behalf of Chicago Messenger Service, we want to apologize for the technical errors we have faced with the proof of delivery email notifications. We did not anticipate the delays in the emails being sent out and we truly apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. We take complete responsibility for the emails not being sent out properly and this issue is no reflection on Angelic Organics.
Thank You,
Chicago Messenger Service”

In case you missed my recent announcement in Farm News, I have suspended the email service that announced when deliveries were made at the respective sites. Even when the service finally improved, there were still many notifications that were being sent out at the wrong time, sometimes as much as a day late; this was way too confusing. Know that even if you received your email at the right time, many of our shareholders did not—unacceptable.

The Recent Field Day
I wrote about the Field Day in the last issue of Farm News. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you check it out. (I also wrote about the Communications Survey that many of you filled out recently, which is worth a look. I think that the most interesting finding from the survey is that more shareholders prefer to read Farm News in hard copy than online.)

During the CSA meeting, I stood under a tall maple tree and told the story of how that tree had grown from a stick. Four year old Hannah Hedden (almost 5) listened attentively to the story. Hannah is the daughter of shareholders Brad and Deniz Hedden.


Hannah Hedden and Tom Spaulding listen, as I stand under a tall maple tree, telling how a stick grew into that tree.

Here’s the story about the tree that I wrote years back for the farm newsletter:
What Are You Going to do With That Stick?

Later that afternoon, Hannah rode on the tractor with me. She subsequently sent me a 3 page book of art work that was inspired by her visit to the farm.

Hannah’s Book (untitled) Page 1


Hannah’s Book (untitled) Page 2


Hannah’s Book (untitled) Page 3


Hannah’s Book (untitled) Page 4

Joseph and Family
I have written about my young friend Joseph Haas in a few issues of Farm News, notably the last issue, in which Joseph rode on the tractor with me and pitched a TV series about organic farming.

Joseph’s mom Claudia recently posted an Angelic Organics review on our Facebook page. I was planning to just include some excerpts, but now I’ve decided to include the whole lovely review. It’s as much a tribute to the values of the Haas family as it is a tribute to Angelic Organics.

“Three years ago was our first summer of receiving vegetable from “Farmer John”. I think, originally, I just wanted a way to get more vegetables in the bellies of my three always hungry kids, and I was beginning to really become convicted about organic being the way to go, but not having the budget to shop at Whole Foods. Buying a share from a local farmer seemed like a great solution to my problem.

Since then, our belonging to “our farm” has become so much more: we attend farm open houses/field days where we get to go on hey rides, see the fields where our vegetables grow, meet the farmer and other share-holders, play with the chicken and goats, and pick beans and flowers from the “you pick” garden. My kids look forward to eating garlic scape pesto, broccoli, cabbage, poc choi, kale, chard, you name it. It really does taste so much better than anything I ever bought at a store!

What makes our CSA even more special is the fact that our farmer is also gifted in the arts. He made a film, depicting the history and struggles of what it means to be a farmer. My son has watched this movie over and over and has really embraced this history of rural America. It has opened his eyes about the sacrifices that others make for him and he appreciates his daily bread in a real way.

Farmer John also provides a news letter with every weekly delivery of vegetables. Joseph and I read this letter faithfully and gain great insight from these very well thought out and written notes from our farmer. One of the most recent versions of the news letter talked about the Brexit and how it relates to a general trend in society to be out for oneself only without regard to the common good. I appreciate Farmer John’s perspective on this topic and feel for him and all the other hard-working people who get so under-appreciated and slighted by our selfishness.

Farmer John has struck me as a man of integrity and great intelligence. He has helped me become aware of issues that I never considered before, and his farm has transformed our family. Thank you, Farmer John and Angelic Organics”


Farmer John and the adorable Haas siblings: twin Kaitlyn, Joseph and twin Katherine

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.

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.

Adventures at the Angelic Organics Learning Center
Angelic Organics Learning Center is an exciting and engaging place to learn about food, farming, and caring for the earth. Sign up for a hands-on farm workshop now at

Farmer John

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