Farmer John Writes: about Money and Russia

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 15, September 25th – 29th, 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 — Butternut or Spaghetti Squash, Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers (in bag)

Brassicas — Broccoli 

Salad Greens — Baby Lettuce Mix, Head Lettuce

Cooking Greens — Kale

Alliums — Onion

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: Broccoli Kale Soup.

Broccoli Handling Tips and Recipes From Farmer John’s Cookbook
Here is a link to storage tips and recipes for broccoli from the out-of-print Farmer John’s Cookbook:

This Week’s Box
In a normal year, we script when to seed the crops so that they will be ready in a timely, nutritious constellation of variety. This season, we kept scrambling to make up for lost crops. The result is that your box is mostly full of greens this week. The baby lettuce and arugula both became ready at the same time. We can’t delay harvesting them—they would go to seed or get leggy or bitter. 

Baby Lettuce Mix

I didn’t plan for your box to be so leafy this week, but nature often arranges things as it pleases. When we had so much rain earlier in the season, the lettuce was quick to succumb to rot. I plowed much of it under. We then tried to compensate for the losses by seeding more lettuce in the greenhouse, but, of course, this lettuce was maybe going to make up the difference 8 weeks from when it was seeded, not in the moment when it was needed. In addition, I lost my confidence in lettuce this year, due to so many weather problems, so I didn’t expect the new lettuce to do any better than the lettuce we lost. Of course, farming cannot be stopped due to a foreboding—I just forge ahead and plant. We now have beautiful head lettuce coming on—you’ll probably receive some next week.

I also seeded baby lettuce in many of the beds that we lost to the rains. It grew very, very slowly, probably because of the soggy soil. Then the soil started to dry, and the baby lettuce seemed like it was jumping out of the ground. 

If you enjoy greens, this will probably be a fabulous box for you.

Last of the Winter Squash
You will probably receive a butternut or a spaghetti squash this week—likely the end of the squash. You might get a spaghetti squash with an orange and green skin. It seems that if the squash is partly green and partly vibrant orange, it is ripe inside. We graded the squash as well as we could. 

Other Considerations
We completed our potato harvest this week, before yet another rain. It’s comforting to have them in storage rather than in the mud. The many tasks, such as potato harvest, greens harvest, applying compost, seeding cover crops happen in the context of shifting priorities—will it rain? do we have enough crew? will it freeze? will the machinery work well? We manage the diversity and the diversity manages us.


Is the Farm a Friend?
When I receive an email from a shareholder stating the boxes aren’t as full as they should be, and therefore that shareholder might do her shopping elsewhere, I take pause. Angelic Organics provides food for shareholders, but what more is it to people? The answer, of course, depends. For some, it is a sacred space, a sanctuary, a deep connection to the earth. At the other end of the spectrum, the farm is a food supplier, to be compared with other suppliers of food, such as Amazon Fresh, Walmart or Whole Foods.

It’s an interesting space that the farm inhabits–a space where nature and humanity mingle. The Biodynamic image of the farm is that of a being, an individuality, that needs care, guidance and support.

Years ago, I had an uncle who worked in a factory. Every few years, he would be laid off for a while. Whenever he was laid off, my aunt put him on a diet of baked beans. Was it punishment for not bringing home a paycheck, or was it simply reining in the expenses? I suspected it was punishment. Back then I thought that she should have fed him steak and eggs when he was laid off, to make him feel better about himself. 

I know a CSA share is disposable, like a magazine subscription or an image on Tinder, but I like to regard the farm as a friend to our shareholders, besides being a source of food. I like to think of a friend as someone to be there for, during good times and bad. 

Money and Russia
I received several thoughtful messages from shareholders regarding share discounts—so interesting what some people wrote. Unfortunately, I have not had time to thoroughly ponder the messages and respond to them; I hope I will find time to do that soon. Money—so ephemeral yet such a fortress, slippery yet tangible, emotional yet mathematical– a canvas to which we apply our fears, joys, aspirations, doubts, pride, shame, blame, generosity, guilt and control.

While reading some of the especially insightful and transparent emails about money, Haidy suggested Dusty as the name for the farm cat, because the cat rolls around in the dust. The name quickly morphed into Dusty Evsky (Dostoevsky – the Russian novelist), because some of the letters about money reminded me of Dostoevsky’s brilliant writing.

Dusty Evsky? Not sure if the name will stick.

I suppose in keeping with the Russian theme here, I will delve no further into the money conversation, due to the urgent need to harvest potatoes.

Final note: I once presented on organic agriculture to a group of agriculture students at the University of Veliki Novgorod in Russia. Afterwards, the dean said, “please tell me all you know about raising good potatoes. If the government didn’t provide us all with plots of land to grow things outside of town, we’d starve—even me, with a dean’s salary. We count on potatoes. If a potato crop fails, we are doomed.”

Potato Harvest

How to 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

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment