Farmer John Writes: Angelic Organics Transitions to Fall

Harvest Week 11, August 17th – August 20th

Going Away for Labor Day?
If you have Labor Day vacation plans and you need to re-schedule a delivery, now is the time to schedule your vacation hold by logging into your membership at www.angelicorganicsfarm.csasignup.com/login. If you don’t schedule your vacation hold at least two weeks in advance of your vacation, our office won’t be able to accommodate your vacation hold request.

Your Box This Week–Saturday, August 20th

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.

  • Red Norland Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Bell Peppers
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Jalapeños (in bag)
  • Garlic
  • Sage
  • Eggplant (maybe)
  • Sweet Corn (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 www.angelicorganics.com/local-thyme

In case you’re undecided, here’s a sample recipe: Garlic Aioli

Transition Time
Heading towards fall—this week you are receiving Red Norland potatoes, sage, and garlic (and more, of course). Summer reminders will persist for a few more weeks–peppers are steady; eggplant is slow but sure; both regular and heirloom tomatoes are very plentiful.

Red Norland Potatoes

Red Norland Potatoes

Tomato Ripeness
(This was in last week’s Farm News, but it’s important enough to include again.)
We harvest tomatoes ranging from light pink to bright red. The light pink tomatoes will turn red in a very few days, especially if you keep them in a closed paper bag. We try to select a range of ripeness in your tomatoes, so that you will have perfectly ripe tomatoes throughout the week. Many people think that tomatoes that are not fully red have been harvested prematurely, but that’s not really the case. As soon as the tomato gets a pink blush, it is on the path towards ripening, whether it’s on the vine or not.

Heirloom Tomatoes
These gems come in many colors and shapes. If it’s green on the outside, it may be a rich juicy red on the inside.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

From a Shareholder
We’ve had a CSA [share] at Angelic Organic for 7 or 8 years and we just want to say how much we appreciate everything you do, everything we get from you, and our connection to “our” farm.  Our produce is always amazing and it’s a treat to pick it up every week. Thank you.

Coming Soon
Broccoli and winter squash…then beets, cabbage, carrots, radishes, and turnips. The fall crops look splendid.

spaghettisquash

Spaghetti Squash coming soon

The Past Makes Way for the Future
Last week, melons, cucumbers and zucchini ended. This week, the sweet corn ends, and only some shareholders will receive it. The fields in which these crops were growing are eager for another round of crops in another year.

As of last week, we’re half way through the main season. We are still transplanting and seeding for this year: lettuce, Chinese cabbage, choi, pea shoots, spinach, kohlrabi, arugula, baby bok choy, baby kale, radishes, turnips. At the same time, we are preparing our empty fields soon for 2017.

Angelic Organics Gift-a-Box Program

(Last week we debuted our Gift-a-Box Program in Week 10 Farm News. I am including it again in this issue, for those of you who receive your shares only on the odd weeks.)

Hunger
In Illinois, one in 7 people struggles with hunger.

A Recent Request to Angelic Organics: “Hello, …I am a low-income senior and rely on food pantries for my food…I live in the DuPage County area and the special Senior Nutritional Program during the summer isn’t offered to low-income seniors in the county…do you ever offer free subscriptions to low-income seniors…please advise…many thanks…”

With Your Help, From Angelic Organics to a Local Food Bank
Angelic Organics is now offering a program where you can gift one or more of our CSA boxes to those in need. We will provide both the Northern Illinois Food Bank and the Niles Township Food Pantry, an agency of Chicago Food Depository, with CSA boxes. As a contributor, you choose to which location your gift will be delivered. As always, newsletters will be included with the boxes. Recipients will be encouraged to access the Local Thyme recipe service, since there will likely be some vegetables and herbs in the boxes that they are not familiar with.

Alina Yaccino, former Angelic Organics employee and current site host at Pure Organic Juicery in Barrington, packs a box with characteristic joy

Alina Yaccino, former Angelic Organics employee and current site host at Pure Organic Juicery in Barrington, packs a box with characteristic joy

Lots of Crops
I planted more crops than we have been able to sell through our CSA program—the first time this has ever happened. In other words, we are undersold. As I shared in the Week 4 issue of Farm News, we project our sales almost a year in advance, because we prepare our fields for the upcoming year in the previous summer. We order our seed and start up our greenhouse long before the last surge of shares is sold for that year. CSA sales have plummeted at farms throughout the country, including Angelic Organics. As I noted in Week 9 of Farm News, you can read about this decline in The New York Times, When Community Supported Agriculture is Not What it Seems.

No Worries
In case you are wondering, the boxes for the hungry will not reduce the amount that goes into shareholders’ boxes. Your box will still be packed to the brim. The food bank boxes will come from the surplus crops that we have in our fields–the crops that were planted for prospective shareholders that didn’t become shareholders. These boxes will contain the same vegetables that you receive. You might think that the farm should just harvest this surplus and give it away, but the farm cannot afford to do this.

To Learn More and to Gift a Box
The farm has extra crops. Illinois has hungry people. Perhaps you will help us to bridge that gap. Learn more and gift a box at www.angelicorganics.com/gift-a-box

Warmly,
Farmer John

 

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Showing 2 comments
  • Terran Doehrer
    Reply

    Dear Farmer John,

    For the folks, like myself, who get a share every other week, the comment “(Sorry, we couldn’t fit sweet corn in your box.)” is distressing, particularly since potatoes are in the box. I can get organic potatoes all year round but the window for biodynamic corn is miniscule in comparison.

    After all, potatoes can be held for two weeks without serious loss of quality but corn can’t. Moreover, come Fall, we are likely going to be seeing lots of potatoes in our boxes but because corn season is short, when I get my next box in two weeks, I am betting there will be no corn. Even if there is corn, I will still feel somewhat short changed because one of the BIG reasons I have been a shareholder in Angelic Organics for 19 years – fresh biodynamic corn – has been reduced by one week’s worth. And not because it didn’t grow but because of a decision that did not take into account two-week shares.

    I guess you could say my complaint is a backhanded compliment – I’m upset that I’m not receiving something which you produce that I really appreciate and look forward to for the entire year.

    So, please, in the future, factor in the reality that you are now offering every-other-week shares and that the type of decision made this week about corn has a negative effect on those share holders.

    Sincerely,
    Terran Doehrer

    • Farmer John
      Reply

      Sorry, Terran,

      It’s very challenging to fill the box each pack day with the right combination and quantity of vegetables. The tomatoes have come on so fast and they are more perishable than the corn, so we had to put all the ripe tomatoes in the boxes, which included up to 5 heirlooms. The tomatoes might have filled as much as 1/4 of the box. (I don’t think we have ever given that many heirloom tomatoes per box before.) It’s really quite the improvisational challenge to see how the box will really fill up, vs my theories ahead of time about how it will fill up.

      You have a good point, that the potatoes could have been replaced by the corn, but the potatoes took up much more space than the corn would have taken up, and then we would have created a box that wasn’t full. I don’t think we could have filled it with the rest of the crops we had available.

      I’d say that, all things considered, looking back, I would have paid more attention to the priority of the corn, rather than the potatoes, but still, I’m not sure that would have worked to fill the box.

      Sometime, if you are able to do it, come out on a Wednesday to help with a pack. Here’s more about that: http://www.angelicorganics.com/pack-volunteer/ Or, you can just arrange to pack your own box on a Wednesday by logging in to your membership at http://www.angelicorganicsfarm.csasignup.com/login and temporarily switching your pickup site to “Farm on Wednesday Free Choice”. It’s hard to really understand the complexity of the process unless you see it firsthand.

      One other thing—I do take into account that some shareholders are every other week. About 1/3 of our shareholders receive a box every week, and a bit less than 2/3 are every other week 10-week shareholders, with about half receiving their shares on even weeks and half on odd weeks. I try to evenly distribute vegetables over both weeks, but sometimes I can’t do that, due to perishable factors or quantity factors. For instance, this week, we are giving sage. We only have enough sage for this week. Possibly, it will grow back and we will be able to give it next time on the even week.

      Just so you know, we have people complaining that they get sweet corn, and saying they can get it much cheaper elsewhere, or that they don’t even like sweet corn. I suppose this is an indication as to why the CSA model is losing popularity. We often get requests for more of or less of or none of something in a share.

      Farmer John

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