Farmer John Writes: You’re Tall

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 8, August 7th – August 11th, 2018

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.

Fruiting Crops — Sweet Corn, Sweet Peppers, Serrano or Jalapeño Peppers (in bag, hot), Melon or Summer Squash, Heirloom Tomato (likely), Eggplant (maybe)

Salad Greens — Lettuce

Root Crops — Purple & Red New Potatoes

Alliums — Onions

Herbs Cilantro, Summer Savory

Sign up for the Free CSA Meal Planning Service
Make sure you sign up for the Local Thyme CSA meal planning service we offer with your share. Local Thyme offers storage and handling tips and recipes customized to each week’s share. It has received many great reviews from our shareholders. Check out this sample recipe: Corn O’Brien.

New Potatoes
You are receiving new purple and red potatoes this week. Rain started while we were digging them and the field became increasingly muddy. Some of you will get dirty potatoes, some will get muddy potatoes…we washed the last bins of potatoes, since they were seriously caked in mud, so some of you will get clean potatoes. A few shareholders have said that they like the dirt on the potatoes because it reminds them of where they come from. 

You’re Tall
A family of four visited the farm last week, two adults, two kids. The father announced to me, as I was standing in front of the barn, “we are looking for the Learning Center.” He spoke with an accent.

“You are tall,” I said, “and thin and blond. You must be Dutch.”

“Yes, we are Dutch.”

I said, “Your Dutch sidewalks are loaded with people who look like you. I could not find clothes in Amsterdam that would fit me. They were all too tight. Somewhere there is a video of me trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans I bought in Amsterdam.”

“What are your names?” I asked.

The parents introduced themselves and their kids.

Pieter, Keesge, Yvon, and Tijil Beukering (photo from the internet)

I could tell from their perplexed looks that they had not come the farm to meet me. They seemed put off that I was talking to them so bluntly. Perhaps they were taken aback by my missing front teeth. I directed them to the Learning Center.

“But first,” I said, “you should check out my barn.”

A few minutes later, I found  the father Pieter and son Tijil wandering about the barn. 

“I was in IDFA. I’m sure you know the festival—the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam.”

“How were you in IDFA?” he asked.

“There was a film made about the farm and me. We were filmed for 50 years and it was made into a feature documentary. It’s called The Real Dirt on Farmer John. Actually, I was in Amsterdam a lot when I toured with the film, since it is a hub for travel to so many other European countries.”

He said, “you should talk to my wife. She is interested in farms.”

We walked to the Learning Center to find Yvon. I interrupted her conversation with the Learning Center staff. “Your husband said I should meet you. I have no time today, but I think we should spend time together. I want to show you around.”

I could sense her thinking oh, these Americans. How can they be so forward?

As we walked back to the farmstead, I said, “Dutch public television filmed me meeting a Dutch farmer.”

She looked at me as though what I had just said was not the least bit true.

“They farmed a lake,” I announced. Oh, no, I thought, no wonder she is so skeptical. I sound crazy. 

“Well,” I clarified, “it wasn’t a lake any more. It was the bed of a lake. A lot of Dutch farms are like that. They were filming me because I was in IDFA, which was going to take place in a few days. I invited the Dutch hosts from that farm to the screening, and there was a young guy there on the farm who said, ‘I can’t come to your screening. I am sorry. Everyone will  be turned towards me, not you. It will take away from your presentation.’”

The head farmer there explained, “he was featured on Dutch television as an eligible bachelor. Millions of people saw him. Everyone in Holland recognizes him. He is not bragging. He just doesn’t want to distract your audience.”

Yvon said to me skeptically, “I host that show. When did you do this?” 

“2007 or 8.”

“I know nothing about this. I have hosted that bachelor show since 2005. What was this person’s name?”

“I don’t remember.” Uh, oh, I thought. I have no evidence for my story.

“Dark curly hair? Young.”

“Yeah…good looking guy. He came to the screening anyway. He came a bit in disguise, it seemed—kind of slouched in his seat, when I was doing the Q&A…he obviously didn’t want to be noticed.”

We entered the barn kitchen. I pointed to the film poster on the wall. “That’s the film. I guess you don’t know it.”

“Since that film tour ended, I’ve been back here working like crazy. It’s non-stop—80, 90 hours a week.”

“The bachelor show is not enough,” Yvon said.

(Note: for more information on the
Farmer Seeks a Wife TV show, visit

“What do you mean?”

“It tells only a small part of the farm’s story—the farmer out in a peaceful setting, alone, wanting a partner. There is much more than that to a farm.”

I said, “My mission with the film was to tell the whole story of the farm.”

Yvon continued, “I recently finished a pilot series about the whole farm, the issues affecting farms, the challenges, the hardship. The drought in Holland is the worst ever, over 2 months of no rain, terrible heat. The government won’t let many of the farmers irrigate, because the water has to be conserved.”

“We didn’t know if people would watch it, so it was only four shows. It has been extremely popular.”

“What was the show like?” I asked. “How is it structured?”

“I profile individual farmers, their joys, their sorrows, their fears, their incredible hardships. I do not hold back. Viewers reach out to them. One dairy farmer, a woman, who is hanging on by a thread—she received over 1000 emails, many of them from people asking how they can help.”

Pieter added, “people need to know that they have to pay extra for their food, if the farm and the farmer are going to survive. This becomes an economic issue.”

“The pilot has been so successful that now we will do six more episodes,” Yvon said.

“Touring with the film,” I said, “I wanted viewers to meet my farm. My farm was the representative farm, but I wanted them to be thinking about every farm. A farm is a personality; it has its own character. It’s not just a source of food. It is a being. Farms are tender beings, and they need great care, like a child needs care.”

“Yes, the farm needs to be understood and taken care of,” Yvon said. “People need to know that. That is my mission.”

“I don’t usually run after farm visitors and insist that we talk. I did that with you. I now know why. We are kindred,” I said, as we melted into a hug.

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Farmer John

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