Farmer John Writes: Mixed Messages

Harvest Week 18, October 5th – 8th

Your Box This Week – Saturday, October 8th

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.

  • Butternut Squash
  • Beets
  • Daikon Radish
  • Daikon Radish Greens
  • Lettuce
  • Bunched Kale
  • Leek
  • Jalapeño and Paper Lantern Peppers (careful – hot!)
  • Sage
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Kohlrabi (maybe)

butternut
Butternut & Barns

Your Daikon Radish and Large Bunch of Daikon Greens
Read about your Daikon radish and your large bunch of Daikon Greens in Farm News, Week 17.  For artistic uses of your radish ensemble, consult the video Dancing with the White Radish.

daikon
Daikon Radishes for You, Topped and Lifted

Mixed Messages from Shareholders
Those of you who are faithful readers of Farm News know that this season has been disappointing for some of our shareholders, and gratifying for others. Below is a smattering of the range of comments we have received about our CSA program this year. Some people love learning about unfamiliar vegetables; some don’t. Some love the quality; some disparage the quality. Some say the boxes are full; some say the are sparse. Perhaps it’s a bit like how people feel about the candidates for President, the Federal Reserve, or Lady Gaga—some people feel one way; some feel the opposite way.

Important to Note—Not a Representative Sample Below
Thankfully, many more shareholders have come to our defense this season than those who have been on the offense. The ratio of complaints to praises below is not representative of the correspondence we have received; the comments are arranged to provide you with a feeling for the polarity of comments we have received.

Love it All “And thank you for all of the beautiful produce, as well – it’s been years since we participated in a CSA, and the consistency, variety, amount, and quality (and taste) of Angelic Organics is head and shoulders above anything we’ve ever done.”

Can’t Tolerate the Variety “I feel you have somehow derailed onto a track growing things because you can, not because your customers want them. Looking at the list of things in each week’s box is utterly depressing.”

Love the Variety “I love the surprises of whatever comes my way each week.”

Great Quality and Quantity “We wanted you to know that we’re continuously impressed with the quality of the vegetables that we receive. We understand the nature of eating seasonally and are constantly in awe of the process of shipping huge (local!) quantities of boxes that are packed to the brim each week.

We recommend Angelic Organics to anyone that asks us about which CSA they should get because we know that we’re making a recommendation that we have faith in each week. The Farm News gives us insight into what might be in our box, but we’ve had success with everything (whether it was listed or not.) The tomatoes this season have been especially remarkable! We’ve been impressed with the quantity that we’ve received and have been able to make more homemade salsa and canned tomatoes than ever before!

Thanks for all that you do! We appreciate our partnership and are already looking forward to next year (and quite frankly, next week!)”

Poor Quality and Quantity “The quality has significantly changed in a downward direction. Not only variety, but quality of individual pieces of vegetables has declined. I also remember, but might be mistaken, that the boxes were fuller, with a larger variety, on a consistent basis. We won’t be rejoining for next year…”

Learned to Cook New Things “The share has been a great experience. I’ve learned to cook new things, even learned how to pickle.”

I Quit “So just not picking up the box…is my default position for now.  Why spend two gallons of gas and almost two hours’ time driving up and back to pick up stuff that has a negative appeal? Even though it is paid for, it’s not worth it to me. I dislike your choices that much.”

Love Trying New Things “…I wanted to tell you how much we’ve enjoyed our first year with Angelic Organics. It’s been the highlight of my week!  I love receiving super fresh seasonal produce, and trying new things. I’m not a big beet fan so don’t often cook with them, but thanks to the box I did and found out my 17 year old son loves them!! Many thanks!”

Unusual Vegetables are Obnoxious “I want vegetables that I recognize that do not require expensive spices that I will never use again and take up storage space I have elected not to have.”

The Box is Art “That box is a true work of art, and obviously that produce was packed with LOVE. I am sorry you get silly comments, but you know, people have been so far removed their food and sold perfect LOOKING produce that has no real taste. I would take a cracked melon from you over the perfect looking cardboard in a store anytime.”

Takeaway
My takeaway from this range of shareholder comments is for us to be as clear as possible about the CSA program that we offer. If a prospective shareholder really wants to learn about our CSA before making a decision to join, there are oodles of information on our web site about our farm. There’s a chart on seasonality; an archive of Farm News going back years; and a page A General Idea of What to Expect in Your Box this Week. There are many more nooks and crannies on our site where a prospective shareholder can explore our farm—mission, guiding principles, my public presentations, farm building renovation, some of my earlier short stories about farming, and an extensive area devoted to the farm’s film, books and music. Additionally, our Facebook page has a lot of comments by shareholders and over 200 shareholder reviews. Yelp hosts Angelic Organics reviews. Instagram has hundreds of Angelic Organics posts by shareholders.

Of course, we know that many people will not do their homework about our farm before joining our CSA. Some will join impulsively. Some will join because a friend recommends it. Some will think that just receiving a box of fresh vegetables every week will cause them to gladly change their lifestyle and their overall approach to health.

This is an area I will focus on for prospective shareholders in the upcoming season. We only want people to join our CSA who seem likely to enjoy it and benefit from it. (Please don’t accuse me of being exclusionary.)

I’m still not ready to roll out the new approach, still mulling it over, as my attention is caught up in many other farm matters these days, such as your harvests and the wind-down of the crop year.

 Overheard
“I have a messed up aura today and you’re in it.”

Ag News

One with the Goats
Perhaps it is culturally inappropriate to judge a person who tries to be a goat. I’m not sure. Should we try not to laugh at goat man?

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 it in the location where your box is delivered.

More from Shareholders
Visit us often at www.facebook.com/angelicorganics 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 www.learngrowconnect.org/events

Warmly,
Farmer John

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