Farmer John Writes: Endings and Beginnings

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 20, October 30th – November 3rd, 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.

Root Crops — Potatoes, Daikon Radish, Easter Egg Radishes

Cooking Greens — Kale Tops

Brassicas — Brussels Sprouts (read more about them below), Broccoli (maybe)

Stem Crops — Kohlrabi (maybe)

Salad Greens — Baby Lettuce (maybe)

Alliums — Leek

Thank You
You have been with us during one our toughest seasons ever. I have often been astounded that we were able to coax enough crops out of our soggy fields to keep you in vegetables all these months. Thanks to all of you who stood by us this season. Additional thanks to those of you who have shown your faith in Angelic Organics by joining us for 2019. 

For Some, The Season Ends this Week
This week concludes our 20-week main season. If you have a half 10-week share delivered on the “even” weeks and you are not signed up for an extended season share, or if you have a full 20-week share 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 boxes. We appreciate that you were with us this season.

(To check if you have an extended season share, log in to your membership using your email address at and look under the “Memberships” tab. Or 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 2018 season.)

Please Return Your Boxes Flattened
Especially for those of you whose share ends this week, please return your boxes this week. If you receive home delivery, the courier will not be back to pick up your final empty box, so please recycle your last box on your own or hold on to it until next season.

Weather and Your Box
We managed to get two beds of easter egg radishes seeded several weeks back. They have been inching their way towards maturity. Everyone will get easter egg radishes this week.

Easter Egg Radishes

At the same time, we seeded 5 beds of baby lettuce and then installed row cover over these beds to hasten growth due to the added warmth. Those little lettuces have been growing very slowly. The fate of those 5 beds lies with the upcoming temperatures. 

Brussels Sprouts
You are receiving a so-so Brussels sprouts stalk. The Brussels sprouts got compromised due to the flooding this season. Many of the sprouts are small. Some have black outer leaves that can be peeled away to expose a nice sprout. A few of the sprouts might be unusable. Haidy and I feasted on these sprouts recently and were so delighted that I decided to give everyone a taste. Besides, with all the crop losses this season, I am not keen on abandoning this harvest.

A Shareholder Writes: What Will it Be Like for the Farm to Customize Shares?

I hope you will find time to write in some future newsletter about the impact customizable boxes will have on your planning and production. I have great faith that you’ll figure it out, but it sounds really tricky.

With deep gratitude for all your work and care,

I love the question, Drea.

In Week 19 Farm News, I answered Drea’s question from a weekly standpoint. Today, I will answer it from a seasonal standpoint. To adopt the Harvie platform, we need to declare early (now) when the 2019 season will start and end. Haidy and I deliberated over these dates for quite some time. 

Does weather repeat itself? Do seasons rhyme? Sometimes. Will 2019 present us with a cold, wet spring, like 2018? Maybe. An even colder, wetter spring? Could. An ideal spring? That could happen, too. Weather and the stock market are similar in that one can successfully extrapolate from their trends to project the future—until their trends reverse. 

The second full week in June is the time to start the season in order to finish extended season deliveries before Thanksgiving. Finishing deliveries before Thanksgiving decreases the chances of the delivery truck navigating icy roads. Also, it means we aren’t harvesting and packing in as much inclement November weather. It also means that we won’t have a lot of confusion amongst shareholders regarding whether we deliver on Thanksgiving Day. (We deliver to community sites on Thanksgiving, but home delivery is moved ahead to the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving.) 

However, ideal spring weather (somewhat implausible) is necessary for us to start delivering the second week of June—dry in order to get the crops seeded, warm and wet in order to hasten their growth. In addition, if there is weed pressure, like there was this past spring, the crew will need to spend extra time managing weeds vs harvesting at that critical time.

I like considering a sweep of time like this. We obviously have to choose a timeframe for our delivery season (and fortunately the Harvie platform is flexible enough for us to easily change the start date as conditions unfold.) Right now, we plan to start delivering the second full week in June.

Does My Friend Have a Problem?
I sent my pregnant friend from afar this photo a while back.

Tantalizing Spaghetti Squash

She replied, “Oh my GAHD. I have literally been dreaming of these and lamenting the dearth of beautiful squashes here and was thinking if I send them a prepaid label will they send me a box of my favorite squash? …that photo filled me with yearning.”

Me: “We’ll see what we can do. You’re not worried the baby will turn into a squash, are you?”

Her: “I already squash the baby daily.”

Her: “Too bad there is no spaghetti squash emoji.”

Her: “I got the squash!”

Her: “The only thing I feel like eating these days is spaghetti squash so it’s quite nice I have such a delicious supply.”

Her: “We have consumed all but one of the spaghetti squashes. Yesterday, my due date, I made spaghetti squash lasagna and it was amazing. I look at the sole remaining squash with love and longing and pre-nostalgia for when they’re gone. Basically, I’m just saying thank you again – I don’t know why I love them so much but I do. I have no problem with the L Word when it comes to AO Spaghetti Squash, so apparently they also increase my emotional maturity and intelligence.”

Side note: Will the FDA now investigate spaghetti squash for its addictive properties?

From a Shareholder

From your newsletters I understand it has been a particularly hard year for farming with all the rain you got. I wanted to say that, I understand it hasn’t been an easy season, but I still love Angelic Organics. I always find something that makes my week brighter (and our meals more delicious) in the box-this week it was the greens. I love the connection we have had to the farm. It makes me happy that [my 14-year-old daughter] is eating greens from the farm where she picked pumpkins as a little girl.
~ Maura

We have received many heartening messages of appreciation and encouragement from shareholders, such as this one above during this difficult season—more than ever before. We hugely appreciate your understanding and support. 

Farmer John


Angelic Organics Learning Center
Join us for our last Sunday Dinner at the Lodge this year. November 11, 2018
Begin your evening with a tour of Angelic Organics Learning Center’s south campus, and continue on to the Lodge for cocktails and appetizers before your chef introduces the evening meal. Featuring Evan Dannells Executive Chef,  Merchant Restaurant.

Chef Dannells has been working in food for over 20 years and has developed a deep technical skillset and passion for Wisconsin heritage and farm-to-table cooking philosophy. He has worked extensively at James Beard Award-winning restaurants including L’Etoile in Madison under Odessa Piper and Tory Miller as well as Blackbird under Paul Kahan. Buy your tickets today:

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