Farmer John Writes: A Mystery Indeed

 In Farm News

Week 4, July 4th – 8th

Your Box This Week – Saturday Deliveries:

Brassicas — Broccoli, Kohlrabi (might be a little scuffed from growing so fast due to all the rain)

Fruiting Crops — Zucchini / Summer Squash

Root Crops — Beets (red and/or golden and/or chioggia) with greens, Turnips (some without greens due to aphids)

Cooking Greens — Kale

Salad Greens — Lettuce

Alliums — Scallions

Sign up for the Free Recipe Service
Make sure you sign up for the Local Thyme recipe service we offer with your share. Local Thyme offers storage and handling tips and recipes customized to each week’s share. It has received many great reviews from our shareholders in previous seasons.

Farm Field Days, Saturday, July 15 and Saturday, September 16 (Open to Shareholders and Their Friends)
If you are a shareholder, we hope you will attend one or both of our Farm Field Days, Saturday, July 15, and Saturday, September 16. (Your close friends are also welcome to attend.) Plan to arrive late morning for hayrides, a potluck feast, a visit to the animals at the Angelic Organics Learning Center, and a trip to the U-Pick garden for a bouquet of flowers. It’s a great day for all. (Sorry—due to the cold, wet spring, the beans and peas won’t be ready yet.)

After the Farm Field Day—Family Pizza Night Hosted by the Learning Center
Join Angelic Organics Learning Center for a farm style pizza night after the Farm Field Day. They will make dough from scratch, harvest toppings straight from the fields, and provide brats for your perfect, personalized pizza. They’ll then cook it in their outdoor earth oven! Enjoy the beautiful natural setting with your family while embracing the rhythms of an evening on the farm. Space is limited. Register at

A Mystery Indeed

Farming Backwards

Managing a CSA farm is an ongoing exercise in accountability. The future always eventually shows up as now, and we can either fill your boxes or we can’t when now arrives. We are able to fill your boxes each week because we can count backwards. Well, many people can count backwards—more than counting backwards is required. We can count backwards and then know what to do—well, more than knowing what to do is required. The challenging part of the process is actually doing what we know we need to do.

We seed cilantro and dill 6 weeks before harvest. We seed early carrots in late April and they are usually ready by the fifth week of deliveries. We seed head lettuce in the greenhouse three weeks before transplanting, and it is usually harvested four weeks after transplanting; add two weeks for Romaine. We seed arugula four to five weeks before harvest—a very quick turnaround.   

The Will
A successful organic grower friend once told me, “I’ll share any knowledge I have with others, but for the most part, it won’t help them. They might learn what to do, but very few people actually do what they know they should do.”

This reminds me of my favorite Maine story which I have recounted in former issues of Farm News. A county extension agent invited an old Maine farmer to a meeting on new farming techniques. “I’m not coming,” said the farmer. “If I did half of what I already know I should be doing, I’d be very successful. Why learn more things to do that I won’t do?”

Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect and esotericist (whose work I read pretty much every night before going to sleep) often emphasized the will as one of three fundamental aspects of the human being—thinking, feeling and willing. Today, people reference mostly what they think, sometimes what they feel, and seldom what they will. Will is at the basis of making sure your boxes are full each week.

The Will at Work


Willed Sweet Corn 8 Weeks Later

This season, I have found will forces to be mysteriously imbued with…I suppose the best term for it is intuition. This has been an extremely challenging season weather-wise—relentless rains, waves of extreme heat alternating with persistent cold, muddy fields that bake to a crust in the sun, etc. Yet, all of our crops have gone into the ground at the right time. When I tour the fields and see the bounty unfolding, I cannot understand how this bounty can be. I am saturated with the memory of this season’s extreme weather, and its many attendant challenges. Yet, when I view the crops, they are completely glorious from field to field to field. This doesn’t seem possible to me, but it is the reality; our crops are splendid.

I suppose this excerpt from Farm News 20 years or so back describes the process well enough: “The closest I can describe my bond to farming is a shudder I get, an irrepressible vibration when it’s time to work the fields. I can be eating, sleeping, or having a great conversation, and when the time is right to plow or plant, my body registers some mysterious sensation, an irresistible beckoning. My legs take me to the work, put me on the tractor; I am all surrender.”

This year especially, something mysterious has been at play that has guided the farming activities so that the impossible has been continually achieved. I often wake up after a night of rain and review the prior day and realize that miraculously, we had re-prioritized the former day to get the seeding done, the transplanting done, the weeding done…This is not due to reliable weather reports. Spring weather forecasting is much less accurate than for other seasons, and this year’s weather forecasting has been abysmal; rain continually materializes during periods of forecasted dry weather.

I’ll note that there may be something called luck that accompanies our farming activities, but this year, I think that the forces of luck are surpassed by the powers of intuition. Or is it divine governance, or hunches? Of course, having good, reliable equipment plays a role; so does having the fastest farm crew ever. Still, this is a year when I go to see the crops, mindful of the impossible weather we have been having, anticipating an encounter with weedy, scraggly fields, and the fields are pictures of postcard perfect loveliness-a mystery indeed…a mystery in deed.

We’re going to have a hard time fitting this week’s harvest into the CSA boxes. Please tell your friends that we are continuing to sell shares as we enter the harvest season. Send them to

Please Fold Your Boxes Properly and Return Them to Your Site
The farm re-uses the vegetable boxes. Please watch this video to see how to easily flatten your vegetable box. 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 return your empty, flattened vegetable boxes to your delivery site.

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Farmer John

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