Farmer John Writes: A Thanksgiving Whimper or a Bang?

Extended Season Week 4, November 21st – 25th

Finale
The 2017 Angelic Organics CSA season is coming to a close this week. Thank you for being part of our farm this year.

Same Delivery Schedule
This week’s delivery schedule is the same as previous weeks. We will be making this week’s deliveries as usual to your pickup site on the same pickup day with the same pickup hours.

This also applies to Thursday deliveries this week — we will be making deliveries as usual on Thursday, November 23 (Thanksgiving Day.)

Please Make Sure Your Name is on the Checklist at Your Site
We have had several instances of vegetable and fruit box shortages at community pickup sites. Please make sure that your name is on the checklist before you take a vegetable box, and also make sure that you are signed up for an extended season fruit share by checking the fruit checklist before taking a fruit box. Thank you.

Please Return Your Flattened CSA Boxes this Week
We will appreciate if you return your remaining, flattened CSA boxes this week. You might even transfer the contents of your box to your own container, so as to leave the final box at your site. These boxes will all be picked up from the sites the week following Thanksgiving.

Your Box This Week — All Delivery Days:

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.

Root Crops  Yukon Gold Potatoes, Carrots (orange and/or purple), Celeriac, Baby Red Beets (in paper bag), Golden Turnip(s), Parsnips

Cooking Greens — Bunched Kale, Tatsoi (likely) or Cabbage

Salad Greens — Pea Shoots (in bag)

Fruiting Crops — Popcorn

Alliums — Onions

Popcorn

Our Shareholders Donated Generously to the Food Bank
Shareholders donated 162 of their boxes to food banks this season, mostly from vacation holds. These boxes will go to the Northern Illinois Food Bank before Thanksgiving. Thank you for these important gifts of nutritious, organic food to those who have less.

Donated by Angelic Organics shareholders, 100 boxes of organic produce to Boone County Food Pantry on Tuesday, Nov 21. More donated boxes to follow to a Food Bank next week.

A Whimper
Generally, my estimates for the final harvest volume of the season come in lower than what we actually harvest, but this year, my estimates came in much, much higher than what the fields actually yielded. It seems that the flooding and drought of this season aggravated our later crops in myriad obvious and hidden ways. Even the crops that looked great 5 weeks ago, such as lettuce, mizuna and Brussels sprouts took a tremendous tumble in both quality and yields.

A Bang
We only have enough produce from our farm to fill your box half full on the final week. So, I sourced the other half of your vegetables from two of my favorite farms in the Midwest, Harmony Valley Farm near Viroqua, Wisconsin, and Springdale Farm near Plymouth, Wisconsin. I have been enamored by both of these farms and their farmers since I started farming organically in the early 1990’s.

Please support these two farms by choosing their products if you see them offered in local stores. They are stellar farms. The farmers were most accommodating in helping us to provide you with full boxes this week, in spite of their own end-of-season farm demands.

CSA, Really?
I realize that the CSA model requires shareholders to take the good with the bad, but my conscience (and pride?) would never allow me to entice shareholders into signing up for an anticipated bountiful extended season and then have them come up short for the final box. 

I have been admonished by some shareholders to never share the following sort of information, because it’s not happy or upbeat. You are shareholders in our CSA, so you should know what’s up. You are aware that the season dealt us a lot of blows. We lost 20% of the crops. Those were crops we planted and tended that we would have sold into the summer after the delivery season started. Those sales never happened. All the money spent on those crops was lost, because we could not make additional sales without shorting those who already had shares.

We ended up planting a lot of shorter season crops to make up for the losses of the peak season crops. Some of those crops did poorly. We ended up buying in more than $15,000 of produce to top off the final boxes of the season. These are the hard facts of farming this year. 

Your Box for Thanksgiving Week
From Harmony Valley Farm, I purchased the beets, celeriac, parsnips, golden turnips, orange and purple carrots, and tatsoi in your box. Andrea Yoder, farming partner of Richard de Wilde, wrote a most interesting and insightful blog post this week titled Carrots and People: What Really Matters?

From Springdale Farm, I purchased most of the potatoes and kale in your box, and some of the onions.

Angelic Organics provided the pea shoots (of course), popcorn, most of the onions, and miscellaneous items that will show up in some of the boxes, such as kale and a smattering of celeriac.

Hi Haidy, One other thing I’ve learned about pea shoots. I think people don’t know to pull the leaves off the stems and then use/eat them!”

Warmest regards,
Laurel

Haas siblings separate pea shoot leaves from stems. Their mother, Claudia wrote, “It was so fun, and the kids just loved helping. I get how some people didn’t like the pea shoots because it is a lot of work to get the leaves of the stems, but if you make it into a fun family activity, it is a win win. My kids couldn’t wait to devour the yummy pea shoots once we were done, and we made the rest into delectable pesto : )”

Organic and the Meaning of Words
Harmony Valley Farm and Angelic Organics are certified organic.

Springdale Farm is in the process of certifying organic; they have submitted the paperwork, have been inspected and are awaiting their official organic certification any day now. Does this mean that their crops are organic? Will they be retroactively organic, once the certification is issued? Can the same potato be non-organic one minute and, then presto, with the signature of the certifying agency, organic the next minute? Can a non-organic potato that you chew become organic in your stomach, because it just got certified?

This reminds me of the new government standard for high blood pressure. Suddenly, 30 million additional people in the U.S. are considered to have high blood pressure, now that the new U.S. standard for blood pressure has been implemented. Before that stroke of the pen, these people technically didn’t have high blood pressure. Or did they?

Thank-Yous from Shareholders
We have received a deluge of thankfulness and praise from our shareholders as this season winds down. It’s been a welcome boost for our morale here at the farm.

Haidy, I would like to thank you very much for the job you and your husband are doing on the farm. Having fresh, local and organic veggies is very important for us and we are very happy with the one you guys are providing.

~ Francis and Albena

Hi farm team! I can’t tell you how my winter-bound heart soared yesterday when I unpacked and held the plump, colorful bag of lettuces you delivered. After I stored everything else away I held that bag a little while longer, almost rocking it like one of my now grown babies. I think I was simultaneously celebrating what was for (most of) your subscribers another sustainably memorable season and mourning that it was coming to an end. Anyway, thank you for yesterday’s moment of zen and for nourishing my body and soul all these years.  I wish you all a warm and wonderful winter with much happiness in the coming year!

Love,
Alison

Farmer John’s note: sustainably memorable!!go, Alison

…in the spirit of being thankful, I would like to thank you for the amazing season of vegetables and fruits.  This was our first year as CSA members and it has truly changed our lives.  We have so much appreciation for the weekly newsletters and the wonderful fresh produce.  Hoping to be more active with the farm during the next season.

Sincerely,
Cara

 

Hope you are all doing well. I know it’s been rough for CSAs in general and the weather this year was just a nightmare. We’ve continued to enjoy our boxes and have been thinking of you guys throughout.

All the best,
Kristen

 

…this is a gift, an expression of our appreciation for Angelic Organics and all that you do! Your work, the work of the crew, the buildings, the vegetables, the extended community, the way you connect us to the land…We love them all. We are grateful to have been shareholders for many years. We love the CSA model, and we are delighted for the opportunity to share in it. Also, what you do is miraculous!

Much love to AO!
~ Carla

 

Dear Carla,

Your email made us swoon! This means a lot to Farmer John and me. We are so pleased to know that you cherish your connection to the farm in such a special way. We will put your donation toward building repairs on the farm.

Love,
Haidy & Farmer John

Thank You from Farmer John, Haidy, and the Farm
We are super appreciative of our immensely appreciative shareholders. There are so many options for people to source their vegetables today, but it is clear that many of our shareholders prefer to continue sourcing their vegetables from Angelic Organics. From shareholder comments we receive, I feel that some of the main reasons for this loyalty to the farm are freshness, bounty, relationship to the farm and farmer, the intrigue and adventure of working with unfamiliar foods, and the delight and comfort of receiving familiar foods.

We are honored and thrilled to receive so many shareholder notes of thankfulness and praise. Your relationship with Angelic Organics is most special and important. Relationship is the basis for community, understanding, compassion, warmth, and love. We believe our farm is in your hearts. We hold you in our hearts as well.

Packing your Thanksgiving CSA share

More Thanks
Also, we want to offer a special thank you to our driver David Crogan and his wife, Deserie, who spent all of last Sunday picking up the load of vegetables from Harmony Valley Farm in west-central Wisconsin. David has done a fantastic job delivering vegetables to our community sites for the past few months.

I also want to give special thanks to our super pack volunteers, who made our three packs a week especially exciting and fun. What a wonderful group!

And thanks to our reliable, steadfast field crew, who did the work to supply you with vegetables and herbs, rain or shine, wind or calm, cold or hot.

Sign up for 2018 by Sunday, November 26, and Receive up to 10% Off
We are thankful to those of you who have signed up for another year, thankful that this season is coming to a close, and thankful that we figured out how to provide you with a lovely Thanksgiving box. We are thankful to be putting our attention on the next season, working diligently already to prepare for the 2018 season—revamping barns, organizing supplies, re-building staircases, repairing siding, framing doors—you probably know by now that when the delivery season stops, the work here doesn’t stop and we don’t stop. The sooner you sign up for 2018, the sooner we will feel you at our side as we work towards the future. Renew your CSA share at www.angelicorganicsfarm.csasignup.com

Warmly,
Farmer John

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Showing 2 comments
  • Linda Rasmussen
    Reply

    Haidy and Farmer John, Thank you for letting me volunteer pack csa boxes. I had a great time. I drive hour and a half each way to be able to work at the farm packing members boxes so they may enjoy the fresh produce you provide. I come the distance because I enjoy seeing where my produce comes from and how its grown. Your farm does a wonderful job of providing the members with the best they can get. I am also a csa member. I think every csa member should come out and volunteer at least once to see how the farm and the workers and volunteers work and have fun doing it. You ask why I drive so far for my produce? I don’t have to but I enjoy getting out there and see where and how my produce are grown and packed. Thank you again Haidy and John. I hope to join again next year, the produce were wonderful.

    PS, I never had pea shoots until this year. Now I can’t get enough of it.

    Thank You, Linda

    • Angelic Organics
      Reply

      Dear Linda,

      Thank you for this beautiful message. We are grateful for your diligent help and your generosity. It’s very special that you drive out to the farm every week. We look forward to seeing you again next season.

      Warmly,
      Haidy & Farmer John

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