Farmer John Writes: The Farm Whispers

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 14, September 7th – September 10th

Your Box This Week — Saturday, September 10th

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Delicata Squash or Sweet Dumpling Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli or Cabbage
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Jalapeño Peppers
  • Celeriac
  • Baby Kale
  • Joi Choi
  • Leek
  • Lettuce

Time for Broccoli

Welcome to our Friends Who Receive a Box from the Northern Illinois Food Bank
We hope you enjoy your farm fresh, organic box of vegetables from Angelic Organics Community Supported Agriculture Farm, generously donated by several Angelic Organics shareholders and other friends of the farm. We believe you will be familiar with several of the items in your box, but the choi and the delicious celery root or celeriac (gnarly, bulbous root—you can’t miss it) are less common. And be careful of the spicy jalapeño peppers—they are a bit too hot for some people.

We suggest you sign up for the free Local Thyme recipe service we offer with your box. Local Thyme has storage and handling tips, a vegetable identification guide, and recipes featuring ingredients that are available in your box. Find the instructions for signing up for Local Thyme at

Baby Kale Tip
Please remove the few yellow leaves that are amongst many lovely baby kale leaves.

Every Other Week
About half the shareholders on any given week of deliveries receive an every-other-week 10 week share. I assume that the readership of Farm News for our 10 week shareholders goes down during the week they don’t receive a share, since they don’t receive a hard copy newsletter that week, nor do they receive an email reminder that includes a link to Farm News that week. Therefore, I sometimes include in the current week’s Farm News some of the more important information that was in the former week’s newsletter. If you are a 10 week shareholder, I encourage you to read the previous week’s newsletter. This will help you to experience the farm as more of a continuum.

I’ll add here that condensing my writing into two sides of a hard copy newsletter is confining. Years ago, before the Internet became prevalent, we sometimes published 4 page newsletters, so that I could share an extra long story. Today, we sometimes include extra text and photos in the online Farm News beyond what appears in the hard copy.

Betty, Jimena and Maria adhere newsletter sleeves to the boxes–
part of our commitment to communication

How to Easily Unfold Your CSA Box
The farm re-uses the vegetable boxes. Flaps are easily torn when the boxes are dismantled improperly. Please watch this short demonstration on how to correctly unfold your box. Please be respectful of your site host by returning your unfolded box neatly in the designated area. If you receive home delivery, leave the previous week’s unfolded box in the location where your delivery is made on your delivery day, and it will be picked up for return to the farm.

Extend Your Share up until Thanksgiving
When Thanksgiving rolls around, we want to make sure you can be celebrating with the organic bounty from your very own farm. Until we sell out, extended season shares are available here.

Pick a Pumpkin and Gourds at our Upcoming Field Day, Saturday, September 17.
Kids love picking pumpkins and gourds on our Fall Field Day, Saturday, September 17. Mark your calendar. Please come around 11 a.m., so everyone can get their pumpkin and gourds before the potluck at 12:30 p.m. Learn more about the upcoming Field Day here.

Visit the Learning Center’s New Overnight Educational Facility
After lunch, take a hayride to visit the future home of Angelic Organics Learning Center’s overnight educational facility on land directly adjacent to the farm’s 70 acres. On June 1, the Learning Center purchased a 10-acre parcel of farmland and oak savannah, complete with a 5,000 sq. ft. house, a facility shed, and a livestock barn. The plan is to renovate the house into a 30-bed and ADA accessible overnight center with a commercial teaching kitchen. Come tour the house, and help us dream into the new facility!  Afterwards, enjoy an optional 0.75 mile hike on the 70 acres.

Enjoy Family Pizza Night Right after the Farm Field Day
4 p.m – 7 p.m on Sat, Sept. 17. Tickets are $15. After the Field Day is over, the Learning Center invites you to the very special Family Pizza Night. We’ll use fresh tomatoes to make the sauce, fresh goat’s milk to make the cheese, and chop up fresh herbs and vegetables from the farm! Then we’ll bake the pizza outside in our earth oven. Farm activities and a natural setting spice up this family event. Register for parents and kids ages 3 and up. Sign up here.

Community Supported Agriculture
Recent issues of Farm News, with the emphasis on CSA attrition and an increase in shareholder dissatisfaction, have generated a great surge of encouraging replies from shareholders. You can see a couple of these replies at the bottom of the Week 12 Issue of Farm News, The Farm is a Tender Being. I will probably re-visit this concern in future issues of Farm News.

This week and in upcoming issues, however, I am going to share with you some developments in how we farm this year that have lead to greater productivity, better yields, better morale, and a more consistently satisfying box. Last week I wrote  Development #1: Secret Growing Manager.

Development #2: The Farm Whispers
There is a second reason why this is a great season. You probably know that I am deeply connected with my farm, with its needs, wants and its occasional fancies. My relationship to the farm is intuitive. The farm somehow guides me, instructs me, nudges me. This spring, I announced, “I know we’ve been subsoiling regularly. I know this loosens the soil, lets water out, let’s oxygen in, allows roots to penetrate, but it’s not enough. We are not oxygenating the soil enough, not loosening it enough. We need to chisel plow it, too.”

Something has made the crops more responsive, more robust than ever before. I am sure it’s because we now chisel plow our silty clay loam soil. The chisel plow has 5 shanks with pointed tips that penetrate deep into the growing areas of our beds, thoroughly stirring and loosening it. How did I know to do this? The idea came to me.

How did the idea come to me? When we love something enough, revere something enough, she/he/it will whisper to us, and we will listen. It is a cosmic whisper, an internal experience that vaguely emulates a voice. It can be experienced as knowledge, as insight, as cleverness, but that is too self-congratulatory. It comes from outside of myself, from another realm–the realm of grace. My love for the farm is the channel through which this grace flows and the crops grow.

A newsletter column I wrote years ago expresses this connection to my farm in a somewhat different way. You can read it here I Just Farm. You can hear me read it here.


In Upcoming Issues of Farm News
Development #3 The Mystery of the Pack; Development #4 Higher Pay; Less Payroll.

Update on Angelic Organics Gift-a-Box Program
Thank you to those of you who have generously donated a box or more through our Gift-a-Box program for those in need. Here are the results as of Sunday evening, August 28:

For Northern Illinois Food Bank
61 total boxes
gifted by a total of 28 people, both shareholders and non-shareholders. Two of these gifts were 10 boxes each.

For Niles Township Food Pantry
24 total boxes
 gifted by a total of 17 people, both shareholders and non-shareholders.

Thank You!
This is a total of 85 fresh, healthy, organic, CSA boxes that will go to feed those in need. The farm plans to deliver all the gifted boxes this week.

Thanksgiving Campaign
We will launch another Gift-a-Box campaign for the week before Thanksgiving. However, at any time between now and Thanksgiving, consider gifting a box or more to the hungry at

We plan for the Gift-a-Box program to be an ongoing component of our CSA program in 2017.

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.

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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  • […] this year that have combined to make for a better season overall: Our Secret Growing Manager, how The Farm Whispers, Unpacking the Mystery of the Pack, and this week, I reveal the fourth […]

  • […] this year that have combined to make for a better season overall: Our Secret Growing Manager, how The Farm Whispers, Unpacking the Mystery of the Pack, and last week Higher Pay; Less Payroll. This Week, I share a […]

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