Farmer John Writes: Are You Who You Are Not?

 In Farm News

Week 12, August 29th – September 2nd

Your Box This Week — Saturday Deliveries:

Please note: this summary is written before we pack your box—be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

Fruiting Crops — Red Kuri or Baby Blue Hubbard or Butternut Squash, Tomatoes, Heirloom Tomatoes, Sweet Pepper (maybe), Eggplant (maybe)

Root Crops — Carrots, Red Norland Potatoes

Salad Greens — Lettuce, Pea Shoots (in bag)

Alliums —  Storage Onions, Garlic

We vigilantly watched our garlic as it matured this year. We wanted to make extra sure that we harvested it at the optimum time, which is when the wrapper around the garlic bulb is beginning to dry, but before the wrapper gets flakey and brittle. The garlic field sat in incessant mud for weeks as it went from too green to too ripe. We were sadly unable to harvest it until the wrappers were mostly disintegrated. Some of the garlic rotted in the field, but we were able to salvage most of it. The garlic cloves are fine, but the huge, lovely bulbs that we usually provide our shareholders do not exist this year. This week and next, the boxes will receive the cloves that the crew separated from the bulbs and put in mesh bags. It’s still lovely, aromatic garlic; most of the cloves are still very large. After these next two weeks of garlic distribution, we will know if we have more garlic to give later in the season.

Pollo cultivates garlic before the floods

Pea Shoots
For years, I thought beets were the most polarizing crop we offer our shareholders. (I just learned in Vogue Magazine that the one vegetable Michelle Obama really doesn’t like is beets; the same is true of her husband.) It turns out pea shoots are even more polarizing. Both crops are really popular or really unpopular, divided about 50/50. However, pea shoots sit at poles further apart on the spectrum of affinity and aversion, garnering words like hate and love, inedible and delectable. I have concluded that pea shoots are a more emotional crop than beets. Last year, because I received so many negative comments from shareholders about pea shoots, I said I wouldn’t grow them again. Then came a reactionary deluge of positive comments about pea shoots, so we are growing them again this year. Some of you might receive pea shoots this week. We are ready for raves, braced for admonishments. A shareholder recently told me, “all that fuss about pea shoots—now that’s a first world problem for you.” 

You can read more about Peas and Prejudice in Farm News, Week 3

Other Crops
The weather this season dealt enormous blows to our summer crop production. We lost small portions of our peppers and eggplants to the flooding, but the surviving peppers and eggplants are producing at an extremely slow pace, due primarily to lack of heat. As noted in earlier newsletters, we lost almost half of our tomatoes to the flooding; yields of the surviving tomatoes are dwindling (though the heirloom tomatoes are still producing well.) We lost a beautiful crop of celery. The celeriac crop is marginal. Historically, by this week in the harvest season, we have already given cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower to our shareholders—not this season. The summer has been too cool and too wet and these crops have lollygagged–they will be maturing soon. The winter squash is also maturing late. 

Pick a Pumpkin at Our Farm Field Day, Saturday, September 16 (Open to Shareholders and Their Friends)
Plan to arrive late morning for hayrides and pumpkin picking, 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. 

Please arrive by 11 a.m. We like to complete the hayrides by lunchtime at 12:30 p.m. It doesn’t work for us to provide hayrides during the lunch period. For those who show up at lunchtime with kids wanting a hayride—that hayride will probably take place later in the afternoon. Check out Angelic Organics Farm Field Days for details.

You Are What You Are and You Are What You Are Not—Food, Too
In Landmark Education, I learned that a healthy social practice is to love others for who they are and for who they are not. I recently learned from Marketing Daily: “Consumers are more interested in knowing what’s not included than what is included in the products they buy. In fact, 53% of consumers say the exclusion of undesirable ingredients is more important than the inclusion of beneficial ingredients.” 

Would shareholders prefer a share in which undesirable vegetables are excluded over a share in which desirable vegetables are included?

A quick look at everyday language reveals that laypeople have also mastered the communication power of the double negative vs a positive.

“Would you like to do this task?” “It won’t bother me.”

“Do you like winter squash?” “I don’t mind it.”

“How’s it going?” “Not too bad.” 

“How are you?” “Can’t complain.”

Should the Midwestern version of Portlandia be titled Can’t Complainia

Would Farm News be more popular if I signed off not coldly, instead of warmly?

Did Rudolf Steiner Foretell the Selfie?
“When we do not have enough interest in the world around us, then we are thrown back into ourselves. Taken all in all, we have to say that if we look at the chief damages created by modern civilization, they arise primarily because people are far too concerned with themselves and do not usually spend the larger part of their leisure time in concern for the world but busy themselves with how they feel and what gives them pain … And the least favorable time of life to be self-occupied in this way is during the ages between 14, 15 and 21 years old. The capacity for forming judgments is blossoming at this time and should be directed toward world-interrelationships in every field. The world must become so all-engrossing to young people that they simply do not turn their attention away from it long enough to be constantly occupied with themselves.”
~ Rudolf Steiner, Lecture on Education, Stuttgart, June 21, 1922

Farmer John Writes and Whiskey the Baby Donut Edits (Not a Selfie)

Request:…would LOVE it if you would each upload all the photos and videos you took at the wedding. Professional photographer photos don’t come in for another 3-5 weeks…

Reply: Why do wedding photos and autopsies often take 3-5 weeks?

Not coldly but warmly,
Farmer John

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.

Let us Know
Let our office 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, tips, and photos.

Upcoming Events at Angelic Organics Learning Center
Saturday, 9/9/17 | 1:00 PM: Wild Edibles Series: Fall Foraging
Explore Angelic Organics farm and the surrounding forest to identify wild, edible fall plants. We’ll learn about basic botany, wild edibles, and bake a wild fruit and nut crisp at the end! Sign up at

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