Farmer John Writes: About Relationship

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 9, August 3rd – August 6th

Your Box This Week – Saturday, August 6th

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.

  • Sweet Corn
  • Muskmelon and/or Honeydew Melon
  • Bell Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Bunched Swiss Chard
  • Eggplant
  • Onions
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini / Summer Squash
  • Lettuce (maybe)
  • Basil
  • Anise Hyssop
  • 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

Local Thyme is not just any recipe service
A shareholder proclaimed:
~ This site changed my life. No joke. Thank you!
(Farmer John’s note: there must be an interesting backstory to this pronouncement.)

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.

Anise Hyssop

Anise Hyssop

Your Crops

Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant, and Sweet Corn (Notice how well these words go together.)
You’ll regularly receive peppers in the upcoming weeks. The tomatoes and eggplant are still gaining momentum, and look very promising for generously supplying your box with upcoming peak season deliciousness. The sweet corn is lovely and should provide several ears this week and next.

Of course, it’s not only about the ears; it’s also about the teeth.

I thought you’d appreciate this picture of Jane, our 9 month old daughter, eating your farm’s sweet corn. She doesn’t have any teeth, so she’s not super successful, but she works on it for a good 20 minutes.
Warm regards,
Patrick, site host St. Charles

Jane likes our sweet corn

Jane likes our sweet corn

Let’s Go Watch the Watermelons Crack
Some of the watermelons break in transport. Usually, it’s just a crack that develops, which shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the melon. We are very careful handling the watermelons at the farm. We place them gently into your box, and almost always position them on top of a bed, such as sweet corn, that will cushion them during transport and future handling, However, watermelons are fragile, and our protective measures are not always enough for some of them to arrive in tact at your home. This year we have not yet experienced the extreme in watermelon fragility—when a crack opens when we just pick one up from its storage bin; or the ultimate–when we hear them just crack open on their own while they sit in the bin.  (Hey, it’s a slow day on the farm…let’s go watch the watermelons crack open all by themselves!)

As I noted in last week’s newsletter, the watermelon vines died back earlier than ideal, so some of the melons are not fully ripe. We cannot consistently distinguish the ripe melons from the unripe or sort-of ripe melons when harvesting, because of this premature vine die-back. We do know, from cutting many of the melons open, that most of them are ripe, so we are putting watermelons in your boxes, because there are so many ripe ones compared to unripe ones. We also know that the larger watermelons tend to be more ripe than the smaller ones, but still, so many of the smaller ones are ripe, we also include them in the boxes.

Every melon season, I wonder if we should discontinue the fragile watermelons and just grow the more durable muskmelons, honeydews and tropical melons, but then I always decide to grow watermelons again—so far.

Durable Aromatic Arava Muskmelons

Durable Aromatic Arava Muskmelons

A shareholder recently gave us an angry 2 star review for including unripe melons in his box. I suppose I could invite him out to see how we harvest the melons and pack the boxes—that’s a reality check. It’s hard to know just how far to go to placate a disappointed shareholder. In the ideal CSA, all the shareholders would be confident that the farm does its very best on their behalf.

And Then…
We receive notes like these recent ones:

We love the box and all parsleys!  But, we especially love you all!!XoA

SUCH A HEAVY BOX!!  Everyone is startled after the lighter greens boxes, to be getting more substantial boxes.  Wow!  They are magnificent!!


This is our first season getting produce from you and we are thrilled! What a treat to receive a box full of goodies every other week directly from a local organic farm. We are grateful for the opportunity.

I just came across the letter included in our last box (I’m on a summer schedule and doing things in a lazy summer way, obviously), and reading between the lines, I’m sorry to hear anyone has been complaining about the problems with emails. I’m even more sorry that Farmer John, who clearly has his hands full, is so concerned. Everyone knows their delivery schedule and should have it on their calendars. Reminder emails are a superfluous luxury. Even though something went wrong, as it did with us, we still showed up and didn’t even notice we didn’t get a reminder.

Farming by definition is inexact and subject to the whims of nature. Angelic Organics should never have to apologize for that. Unfortunately, city dwellers sometimes forget these things and make unreasonable demands. I’m sorry you have had to deal with what sounds like some entitled complaining. As for us, we think your product and service are excellent.

I wish all of your customers could bear in mind their good fortune at receiving this gift from you. Not everyone is so lucky. It’s people like you who are changing the world, the land and its people, for the better. Thank you for that.

Gratefully yours,
Suzanne B.

The front-running, trendsetting CSA movement has lost some of its bloom. Worse, CSA is being represented as something it’s not, or only sort of is. Is it really all in the name? Read this recent article in The New York Times, When Community Supported Agriculture is Not What it Seems.

Now read Will Blue Apron Replace CSA Farms? by Simon Huntley, founder of Member Assembler, our online CSA membership management program. Perhaps we should deliver a chef with each box?

While I’m giving you reading assignments, check out the recent issue of the LocalHarvest newsletter People Over Profits.

It’s About the Relationship
Faithful readers of Farm News know my feelings about food: it’s best when it includes a personal relationship to a farm. No other model for the sourcing of food offers this personal relationship. It’s about the farm. Know the farm, love the farm, provide for the farm, and the food will follow.

Sweet Corn

The Future
We’ll start preparing some of our empty fields soon for 2017. We have emptied the fields of radishes, many beds of baby greens—arugula, pea shoots, spinach, mizuna– spring broccoli, cabbage, choi, garlic (now curing), scallions, most of the sweet onions, celery, fennel, beets, early carrots. Remember all those vegetables? It’s been quite the swirl of crops.

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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