Farmer John Writes: Weather Rules

 In Farm News

Week 2, June 26th – 30th

If You Have a Half 10-Week Share
The half share is delivered every-other-week. We have two schedules for half shares; one is called the “odd weeks” half share, and the other is called the“even weeks” half share. The odd weeks half share is delivered on weeks 1, 3, 5, etc. The even weeks half share is delivered on weeks 2, 4, 6, etc.

This week, the week starting Monday, June 25,  is week 2 of our deliveries, so it is an “even” week.

Those with an even half share will have their first delivery this week. Those with an odd half share had their first delivery last week, on week 1, and do not have a delivery this week.

We sent you an email recently informing you which half share schedule you are on. If you did not receive this email, please check your spam and “promotions” folders for emails from email hidden; JavaScript is required.

If you have a half share and you still need to find out which half share delivery schedule you are on, log in to your membership with your email address at this link and you will see if your half share is labeled “odd” or “even”:

Delivery Reminder Emails
All shareholders receive a delivery reminder email at around 8 p.m. the evening before their delivery day.

Your Box This Week – Saturday Deliveries:

Please note: this summary is written before we pack your box—be aware that some guesswork is involved. Share contents often vary over the course of the week. And, as always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

Salad Greens — Lettuce

Cooking Greens — Baby (more like adolescent) Chard (a little tattered by storms), Bunched Kale

Brassicas  Broccoli, Cabbage (maybe)

Root Crops — Bunched Beets (maybe)

Fruiting Crops  Zucchini

Alliums — Garlic Scapes, Scallions

Herbs Basil, Dill


For those of you receiving your first CSA share of the season this week, welcome to our 28th year as a CSA farm! We hope you have a fabulous experience belonging to our farm. We will do our utmost to supply you with great vegetables and herbs, plus this newsletter, which provides you with details on what goes on behind the scenes. For more about this season, you might want to check out last week’s issue of Farm News.

A Couple of Important Administrative Details

Vacation Holds
Please make your own vacation holds at least two weeks in advance of the scheduled delivery at It will be of immense assistance to our office if you follow the procedure for vacation holds, without bringing the office into the process.

Sign up for the CSA Menu Planning Service
Make sure you sign up for the Local Thyme CSA menu planning service we offer with your share. It has received many great reviews from our shareholders in previous seasons, and includes storage tips and recipes customized to your weekly (or bi-weekly) box. Find the instructions for signing up for Local Thyme at

Returning shareholders – please note: You need to re-subscribe to Local Thyme for the 2018 season following the instructions in the link above even if you were subscribed to Local Thyme in 2017.

Weather Rules
I just reviewed the weather section in 2017 Farm News, Week 2,  and wondered if I should just print a re-run of that column. I decided against it, although, so far, the weather of the early season of 2018 is following the pattern of 2017—torrential rains alternating with brutal heat. This is hard on many of our early crops and has laid some of them to waste. Here is a vivid example: take a look at the lettuce photo in this issue—huge heads of lush, green lettuce. (The photo was also in last week’s Farm News.)

Lettuce Last Monday

A pack volunteer asked how it was even possible to grow such beautiful lettuce. The photo was taken on Monday morning, June 18. I sent the crew out early that morning to harvest extra lettuce, to make sure we would provide a full first box. There were about 700 heads remaining in that bed after the morning harvest. Temperatures soared to the mid-90’s that afternoon with very high humidity. Next morning, the crew went out to harvest the remaining lettuce in that bed. The heat had destroyed it–burned the tips beyond redemption. In addition, due to the soggy soil and the high humidity that afternoon, the base of the lettuce had started to rot. This is how fast things can change on a vegetable farm: a crop can go from pristine to unusable in a few hours. 

The Lettuce is both a Fact and a Story
I sometimes wonder how much information to share with shareholders. Raising vegetables is highly technical and fraught with challenges. I personally find the technical parts interesting and the challenging parts fascinating and, of course, sometimes disheartening.

Sharing a story about lettuce gone bad is mostly just a story if it doesn’t show up as a hole in the box–a shortfall. If a bad lettuce crop causes a hole in the box, it becomes a different kind of story for some of our shareholders; it becomes more of a fact. For some shareholders, the box is infinitely poetic, vastly dramatic—a picture of thousands of elements converging into an array of vegetables; a shortfall in their box is a part of the poem. On the other end of the spectrum, there are shareholders who view the box as more of a quantifiable fact, a storehouse of economic value, and who want it full, regardless of the story that accompanies the box.

Those of you who are returning shareholders know that I prioritize a full box and a good story. Fortunately, we have younger, heartier lettuce that is likely to hold up well and grace your box this week. We will harvest it a bit small, so as not to test its durability in the soggy soil and heat.

Future Weather
I don’t assume that the weather this season will continue to follow the pattern of 2017. Weather is capricious. Like the stock market and the housing market, its future behavior can not be determined from its recent past (though many people assume otherwise.) In 1974, intense flooding persisted in this area until mid-June, and then a drought and heat wave struck for the rest of the summer.


How Much?
It is a conundrum to figure out just how much acreage to plant for our shareholders, given how variable the weather can be. The harvest is supposed to fill each box each week—not too full, not too sparse. Your share is the place where the dramatic dance of weather, soil and plant life meet the geometric rigor of a 15 3/8″ x 11 3/8″ x 9 1/4” three-quarter bushel box.

I often hear people reference science as though it is omniscient (and henceforth objective). If a person wants to add some oomph to a claim, he or she can precede it with Science has proven… Check out the lawsuits brewing against Monsanto’s Roundup on behalf of thousands stricken with cancer for a different view of what science supposedly proves. 

When I was in college, I wrote a well-received paper on the popular herbicide of that era, Atrazine. Science had proven that it could not leach into the water table, that micro-organisms in the soil neutralized it before it could migrate more than 18 inches below the surface of the ground. Not so. Atrazine has contaminated much of the corn belt’s drinking water. In the Midwest today, open the tap and pour yourself some water laced with Atrazine. 

With the crops looking good, we feel we can sell a few more shares. 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
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.

Have the Best Shareholder Experience
For the best shareholder experience, visit

Let us Know
Let the 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.

Farmer John


Angelic Organics Learning Center
Angelic Organics Learning Center is an exciting and engaging place to learn about food, farming, and caring for the earth. They even offer overnight programs. Sign up for a workshop at

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