Farmer John Writes: The Karma of Equipment

 In Farm News

Week 13, September 5th – 9th

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 — Spaghetti Squash or Red Kuri Squash,  Acorn Squash or Baby Blue Hubbard Squash, Broccoli or Cauliflower or Cabbage, Heirloom Tomato (likely), Sweet Pepper (maybe), Eggplant (maybe)

Root Crops — Carrots

Cooking Greens — Kale or Chard, Pac Choi

Salad Greens — Lettuce

Alliums —  Leek, Garlic (in mesh bag)

Herbs  Parsley

Catch Up Here
Everyone is receiving garlic once again this week. Tuesday and Wednesday shareholders will receive pea shoots. In case you missed it,  I wrote about the non-controversial garlic and the controversial pea shoots in last week’s issue of Farm News, Week 12, Are You Who You Are Not?

Regular Tomatoes are Finished. Heirlooms are Still Yielding.
Due to this season’s flooding, we lost about half of our regular tomatoes.You might receive another one or two regular tomatoes this week. Heirloom tomatoes have held up better and should continue to adorn your box for another few weeks.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Potatoes, Carrots — Ahead of their Time
Normally, our broccoli and much of our winter squash are ready by now—not this season, due primarily to the cool weather and excessive rains. To make up for this absence, we have been putting carrots and potatoes in your box; these usually come later in the season. I am relieved to harvest our carrots early, because if the rains had continued, we probably would have lost the whole crop. Carrots cannot hold up in our ground under persistently wet conditions. They dissolve in a sort of Twilight Zone fashion, leaving only traces of orange mud behind. To get more in the mood of what could have happened to our carrots, view Twilight Zone Opening Theme Music 1962 Rod Serling.

Waiting for the Sun
We plant lettuce and baby greens all through the summer up until the end of August. A month or more passed in mid-summer when we could not follow our normal planting schedule. The lettuce sat in flats in the greenhouse and on wagons, waiting…waiting…waiting, same with the seed for the baby greens. If Jim Morrison had farmed, I suspect he would have written somewhat different lyrics to Waiting for the Sun.


When the sun finally came out, we planted a surge of lettuce and baby greens—these are coming on strong now.

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. 

Note: if you show up too late to get your pumpkins before lunch, the afternoon hayrides will first go to the nearby Lodge of the Angelic Organics Learning Center (see further below) and then, if requested, one designated hay wagon will go from the lodge to the pumpkin patch.

Check out Angelic Organics Farm Field Days for details. 

Quiches on the Food Line from Beloit’s Bagels & More
Farm hospitality means that everyone gets fed well at our Field Day. We’ve been known to order in pizzas at the last minute for our Field Day guests, worried that there just might not be enough food for everyone. Usually these worries have been unjustified, and the delicious dishes that our shareholders bring provide plenty to go around.

For the upcoming Field Day, we have arranged with Bagels & More to use some of our vegetables (heirloom tomatoes, spinach, basil, peppers, broccoli, garlic, onions, etc.) to make quiches as a supplement to our regular Field Day fare. Joan and David Siekierski, owners and managers, founded Bagels & More 21 years ago. They have also been enthusiastic Angelic Organics shareholders for well over two decades, and frequent attendees at our Field Day events. Check out their café in Beloit.

Visit the Lodge of The Angelic Organics Learning Center on the Field Day
After a delicious lunch, shareholders can drive or ride on a hay wagon to the nearby Angelic Organics Lodge. The lodge is set to open in November 2017, offering farm stay opportunities that deepen one’s connection to our land, food and one another. The lodge sits on a limestone bluff surrounded by old oaks, overlooking a bend of the Kinnikinnick Creek. The beautiful grounds invite exploration, wonder, creativity, and revitalization. The lodge can host up to 35 people at a time in dormitory-style lodging.

Angelic Organics Lodge

The Karma of Equipment
Several years ago, I ran into a graduate of the Dottenfelderhof Farmer Training Program in Germany. (If you read German, you can learn more about this extraordinary Rudolf Steiner-inspired farm by googling Dottenfelderhof. I visited the farm twice, while on my film tour.) The graduate told me that the amount of money in the farmer training program assigned to cover damages to farm equipment by interns was $20,000 per year per intern. I was not surprised by this number, having had a lot of trainees in the past learn or kind of learn how to run farm machinery here at Angelic Organics. I was only surprised that the Dottenfelderhof program organizers actually recognized and anticipated this expense. 

We don’t have this sort of ongoing intern-induced machinery expense at Angelic Organics today, because the people who operate the farm’s equipment are not in training (nor were they ever farm interns.) They are top-notch, seasoned operators, conducting numerous field operations with grace and expertise. However, we still bear the consequences of former abuses. When I pressed our refrigerated Mitsubishi Fuso farm truck into regular delivery service this year, I was aware that an operator of the truck had continuously abused the transmission years ago. I considered this history a vulnerability of extensively using the truck this season. I was, of course, not sure that this would be a problem; I was simply uneasy about the possibility.

This past Friday, after delivering the last of Friday’s shares, the transmission on the farm delivery truck gave out. The truck is now in the care of Whitey’s Garage in Des Plaines,  awaiting further diagnosis. I have rented a refrigerated Ryder truck for deliveries until our farm truck is repaired.

Equipment fails. Equipment karma does not.

Lots of field work, almost no problems

Farmer: Do you have insomnia?
Growing Manager: No, I sleep fine.
Farmer: Then you aren’t worrying enough.
Growing Manager: I worry in my dreams.

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
9/23-9/24 – Beginners Herbalism Weekend Come to the farm for two inspiring days with international herbalist & naturopath, Gigi Stafne. Herbs and natural remedies are discussed for each phase of life. You’ll learn how to use them to cope with life stressors/toxins, and create remedies to take home!

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