Farmer John Writes: Your Dynamic Farm Share

 In Farm News

Week 5, August 6th – 10th, 2019

In the spring, as rivers of unheavenly rain waterfalled from the heavens, I wondered if we would have a growing season at all.

As of this writing, it has hardly rained a drop for a month. 

We got our overhead irrigation system going very recently. As I now write this, we are pumping inches of water–210 gallons a minute–onto your sweet corn, so you will have nice big ears of corn to munch on soon.

Irrigating Sweet Corn

(Weirdly, also as I now write this, with no rain predicted for today or for the next several days, while we are pouring water onto the corn, it started to rain.)

Your Dynamic Farm Share
The aftermath of the season’s flooding is that an unusual constellation of crops is available for you to choose from for your box, and less variety is available than is typical.

For instance, we do not have head lettuce for you now–most unusual. The spring flooding caused a huge backup of transplants to be lodged in the greenhouse and waiting on wagons to go into the ground, preventing our normal sequential seeding of lettuce transplants. 

We seeded many beds of arugula and baby lettuce, and they sat in dust for weeks. Weeds, however, emerged from further below, where there was more soil moisture, and engulfed these beds–a flashback to the 90’s, when I didn’t know how to control the weeds. Then I had twenty years of increasing success at weed control, and felt I had mastered one of the most challenging parts of organic farming–weeds–and now again some of my fields are engulfed in weeds. Weirdly, some fields are not engulfed in weeds–hard to understand. Farming has its mysteries.

This explains the absence of lettuce and baby greens–very popular crops amongst our members. This lack requires that more of other vegetables will need to be chosen for your box.

Yesterday, we transplanted several thousand lettuce seedlings, so more greens should be available in two or three weeks.

Usually, the fennel and celery have come on by now, just before the sweet corn–not this year. Both crops are looking good–they are just late.

Cucumbers and zucchini have been poking along–they should be frolicking in abundance by now. Will they soon be abundant? I suspect they will, especially the cucumbers.

Cucumber Harvest

Our carrots are splendid. Carrots don’t usually do well in our silty clay soil when drenched in perpetual rains. The fronds die back and sometimes the carrots simply dissolve into orange mud with too much rain–not this season. We are harvesting some of our nicest carrots ever.

And we have a luscious crop of kale.

Shareholder twins Katherine and Kaitlyn Haas

Ordering Extras
If you were hoping to order extra vegetables in addition to your regular share, we anticipate offering more surplus vegetables soon. Because of our shortfall of baby greens and lettuce, our list of surplus vegetables for you to choose from has recently been a bit sparse.

Volume and Value
Up until this year, the priority at Angelic Organics has been to provide you with a full box; the strategy was based on volume. 

This year, with the new Harvie platform for customized shares, the priority is to provide you with a certain amount of value, not a certain amount of volume. The boxes this season have ranged from not-especially-full to full to over-full. The amount of fullness depends on the configuration of vegetables and herbs that you select for your box. 

The Harvie platform, based on your customizing input, fills the box with very close to $40 worth of crops. Even if you received a discount on your share, you are receiving a box worth $40. Your $40 worth of crops will have more or less volume, depending on what you choose for your box. (Think $40 worth of garlic vs $40 worth of kale.)

The value of the various crops is determined by a variety of factors. Is it plentiful or is it in short supply? Is it so bulky that if a low price is assigned to it, we will need to put it in a second box, and tape it to the first box?  Should we ration it because we want all of our shareholders to be able to choose it in a given week, or perhaps over two weeks? Is it so popular that there won’t be enough to go around? Some of the crops, like onions and carrots, have been snapped up in almost any quantity we have offered, requiring that we offer less of them, so that everyone who wants them can enjoy them.

Shareholder/Farmer Jo Haas thinks our onions are special


 The photo of Jo with onions reminds me of another onion photo

One of my reservations about the Harvie system was that I knew many of our shareholders were accustomed to a full box. This standard of a full box is not the norm for most CSA’s, but it has been the standard for ours. It’s not possible to customize your box according to value and then, in addition, to ensure that your box will be full to the brim. I should also mention the value of our shareholders only receiving the vegetables and herbs that they like, as opposed to our old model where all boxes were packed the same. In the past, shareholders were paying for some vegetables that they didn’t want.

Childhood is a Verb! Why a Virtual Childhood Isn’t Enough
My dear friend Bente Goldstein wrote a most important book about healthy child-rearing, Childhood is a Verb. I wrote my first book review for it ever on Amazonwhich starts out “In ‘Childhood is a Verb,’ Bente Goldstein discerns the huge impacts of the modern age, especially the tablet and the internet, on children today…

The following excerpt from a lecture by Rudolf Steiner reminded me that I should hold Bente’s book up to others as a much needed remedy for what I believe ails our culture today.

“It is our task in the study of method (in education and teaching) always to engage the whole individual. We could not do this without focusing our attention on the development of an artistic feeling with which the individual is endowed. This will also dispose the individual later to take an interest in the whole world as far as his nature permits. The fundamental error until now has always been that people have set themselves up in the world with nothing but their heads; they have at the most dragged the rest of their bodies after them… This has occurred because the whole individual has not been cultivated.”

Source: Rudolf Steiner – Practical Course for Teachers – Stuttgart, 21st August, 1919

Your Share
Let the farm 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.

If your box is missing an item, let us know at email hidden; JavaScript is required and we’ll make it right.

No Summer Field Day
We have been battered by the season. The workload spills nonstop into Haidy’s and my weekends. Therefore, we think it’s best not to schedule a Summer Field Day, as there is a lot of preparation that goes into a Field Day, a lot of cleanup afterwards, and then there is the day itself given over to hosting. The many other things that we need to do on the weekend won’t get done on a Field Day weekend, and since we also work nonstop during the week, it’s just about impossible to catch up on what we wouldn’t be able to do on that Field Day weekend. Sorry to cancel.

No U-Pick Garden this Year
A highlight of our Summer Field Day has been for people to pick flowers and beans from our U-Pick garden. That field was all mud all spring and impossible to plant into. We just need to count our blessings in a season like this that we have crops to put into your boxes.

Fall Field Day is For Sure Happening
We have nice looking pumpkin and gourd vines coming on. There should be a great crop of pumpkins and gourds for you to choose from on our Fall Field Day, September 21 (the 3rd Saturday in September, two days before the Fall Equinox).

Angelic Organics Farmstead in the Fall

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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 your flattened, empty box it in the location where your box is delivered.

Fruit Newsletter
If you get a fruit share, find the fruit newsletter on the Fruit News blog.

Thank You
Thank you for being with us for a dramatic farming adventure this season. 

Let Us Know
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Farmer John



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Showing 3 comments
  • Marie Dolan

    Thanks Farmer John and all the great people who work with you!
    I have been with you for 10 years more or less, and am amazed that you are able to produce such beautiful produce in this unpredictable weather! (I know weather is always unpredictable when it comes to farming, but it is more the huge swings between hot and cold, and wet and dry sometimes in a day!) My family and I appreciate every beautiful, healthy vegetable/fruit that you are able to coax from this rich land! Shareholder for a long time and more years to come,

    • Farmer John

      Marie, Thank you for your encouraging message. I appreciate that you take such an interest in the farm.

  • Kristin

    I’m sad as I read your last few posts. I feel like they are prompted either by your own feelings of what you’re providing being inadequate or by people telling you that’s so. I’ll let you know that we are part of your farm for the second year, the first being in 2015 when we just moved to the area and before we settled in a place. We are struggling knowing what to even do with all of this amazing abundance! How to process this food that we can’t consume in time. Finding a dehydrator for our basil. Packing the trimmings into freezer bags to make stock later. Understanding for the first time what it must have meant, and may mean again one day, to not have McCormick to rely on at the grocery store. Thank you for your work! We can’t wait to visit in the fall.

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