Farmer John Writes: About the Future

Week 19, October 17th – 21st

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 — Butternut Squash, Sweet Peppers

Brassicas — Cabbage, Broccoli

Cooking Greens —  Bunched Kale, Daikon Greens

Root Crops  Turnips

Salad Greens — Baby Lettuce Mix (in bag), Head Lettuce

Herbs — Curly Parsley

Harvesting Baby Lettuce Mix

The hard copy newsletter is on top of your vegetables this week, as it is especially important that you read it. We inserted the newsletter into a plastic sleeve to protect it from the moisture in the box. We will also place the newsletter on top of the vegetables next week, Week 20, to make sure that all those who receive a half share on the “even” weeks will see it. 

For Some, The Season Ends this Week
If you receive a half share on the odd weeks–this is an odd week, Week 19–and you are not signed up for an extended season share, this is your last week to pick up a box, and your final week to return your flattened CSA boxes.

Wondering if you have an extended season vegetable share?
To check if you have an extended season share, log in to your membership using your email address at www.angelicorganicsfarm.csasignup.com/login and check under “Memberships” to see what share types you have for the 2017 season. (If you land on the 2018 signup page when you click on the link above, simply click on the “Member Login” link in the left hand column to log in to your membership.)

Another way you can find out if you have a 2017 extended season share is to check one of your weekly pickup reminder emails from this season that is sent from email hidden; JavaScript is required. The weekly pickup reminder email lists all share types that you have in the 2017 season.

Our 2018 Growing Season Began Years Ago
Our fields are in a four-year rotation program. For example, our growing plans for our 2017 crops were implemented in 2013, when we sprayed the Biodynamic preparation BD 500, then seeded fields to alfalfa and clover for two years of rest and rejuvenation, then worked in large amounts of Biodynamic compost in the fall prior to planting these fields to vegetables for the next 2 years. Building up the soil years in advance of growing crops is an expensive necessity for soil and vegetable health.

A special thank you to those of you who have already signed up for 2018. An additional thank you to those of you who have multi-year CSA shares. Your long-term commitment is a most gratifying match for the long-term commitment of the farm.

Soil Health = Planet Health
Elizabeth Candelario, managing director of Demeter USA, stated in a recent interview with Dr. Mercola, “a French initiative called the 4 Per 1,000 Initiative found that if we were to increase the carbon (the organic matter) in all agricultural land around the world by a mere 0.4 percent per year, the annual increase of CO2 in the atmosphere would be halted, because so much carbon would be drawn from the atmosphere.”

Our soil fertility at Angelic Organics has improved tremendously since I started farming it organically in 1990. The organic matter has increased from an average of 2% to 3%—a tremendous achievement. Here is a compelling article on  Soil as Carbon Storehouse: New Weapon in Climate Fight? Also, watch this video The Soil Story by Kiss The Ground to learn more about how you contribute to carbon sequestration by belonging to our CSA.

2018 Will Be Different
For next season, I’m going to do something differently from how I’ve done it for the past 27 years. In the past, we could sell everything we could grow through our CSA program; there wasn’t much risk in counting on enough people signing up into spring to sell out. Today is different. Today, there are many businesses vying for the organic and fresh market—meal kit services, Amazon, Walmart, on-demand box schemes, corner grocery stores. Some of these, such as Amazon, Walmart and many of the meal kit delivery services, are very well capitalized. They can afford to take losses while establishing market share. They have highly professional marketing departments putting out glorious copy with generous portions of eco-buzzwords, promising that they will save you time and money, while you help to save the planet with your food dollars. 

Read how Gobble, a 15 minute meal kit service, recently raised $15 million in funding. Serving well over 1 million meals a year, Gobble is a relatively small company in the world of meal kit services.

From Farm News, Week 12, 1998
Graffiti in Whole Foods Men’s Room:
“I like health food from chain stores.”

We used to hardly advertise, and we sold out of shares in April, sometimes March. Now we have to advertise heavily to get new shareholders. I don’t like to advertise; I like growing things. I didn’t commit to offering a Community Supported Agriculture program so that I could get good at advertising. I committed to Community Supported Agriculture so I could connect people to our farm and provide them with fresh, nutritious food. For more about this relationship, check out my post on Farm Monogamy.

How Will 2018 Be Different?
The question used to be “how much seed do we order for all these fields that are prepared to grow vegetables this coming season?” Now the question is “for how many shares do we order seed?”  The best way to know that is to have people already signed up for the season.

In January, we will order seed for 2018. It is folly to buy seed for all of our prepared fields in the hopes that we will sell enough shares to justify all that time and expense. We can no longer assume that we will sell out of shares in the spring.

You Might Say
You might suggest that we sell to restaurants, to stores, at farmer’s markets, to add value to crops through pickling and canning, etc. I like the Community Supported Agriculture model. I don’t care to disperse our energies and resources through other sales and delivery channels, especially when other sales channels are increasingly flooded with produce.

I’ll add that we have, over the years, developed a powerful and exciting program for reliably growing an abundance of healthy food—staff, equipment, soil, infrastructure, plans, systems–but, again, the reality is that we can’t grow more than what we can sell.

If You are Going to Be with Us in 2018, Please Sign Up Now
I haven’t decided yet how or even if we will sell shares in the winter and spring of 2018. The CSA model calls for a certain level of participation and commitment on the part of the shareholder. If I become more and more invested in a season by building up the soil for years prior to that season, and then invest much more heavily in the early part of the year when we will grow the crops–beginning in January and then ramping up more and more towards spring–it seems appropriate for our shareholders to be on board at least by the time we order the seed.

My preference is to grow for shareholders who know our program already. There is an appeal to not taking on a lot of new shareholders. Even though many of the new shareholders in 2017 have been exemplary, it is clear that many never paid attention to the shareholder agreement and never explored what our CSA program really is, such as the seasonal considerations, the weather aspects, and the administrative guidelines. Many never read the newsletter, which makes it impossible to build a proper relationship or understanding. For the most part, veteran shareholders are the least demanding, the most accepting, and the most engaged. You have already experienced our program and, if you renew your membership, you clearly want to experience it again. New shareholders are often guessing as to whether they will enjoy our program, and some find out they don’t enjoy it.

Biggest Discounts for 2018 when You Sign up by Sunday, October 22
The best way to make sure that we will sell what we grow is to sell it in advance of ordering seed.

We are again offering your choice of discount when you sign up for a 2018 CSA share.

  • Sign up by Sunday, October 22, and take up to 15% off.
  • Sign up by Sunday, November 26, the end of the extended season, and take up to 10% off.
  • Sign up by Tuesday, January 2nd, and take up to 5% off.

To sign up for a 2018 share, log in to your membership at www.angelicorganicsfarm.csasignup.com/login. You can pay for your 2018 share with a credit card or debit card via PayPal (even if you don’t have a PayPal account) or you can pay by check.

Especially if this is Your Last Week with Us
Thank you for being with us this season. We hope you have found your deliveries of farm fresh food and farm fresh news to be nurturing and rewarding.

Warmly,
Farmer John

Please Fold Your Boxes Properly and Return Them
The farm re-uses the vegetable boxes. Each box costs the farm over $1.50. We appreciate getting them back so we can re-use them. 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 www.facebook.com/angelicorganics, where we post exciting farm developments regularly, and shareholders post recipes, tips, and photos.

Upcoming Events at Angelic Organics Learning Center
This weekend will be beautiful – so enjoy it on the Farm! The little ones will enjoy Preschoolers: Super Scarecrows on Fri, 10/20 and bring the whole family for a freshly harvested Family Pizza Night on Sat, 10/21. And look ahead to Cheesemaking on Sat,10/28! Learn more at LearnGrowConnect.org/events

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