Farmer John Writes: Still Growing
Extended Season Week 1, November 8th – 14th, 2020
Welcome to Our Extended Season
This week (November 8th – 14th) marks the first week of our Extended Season deliveries. If you are not signed up for an Extended Season share, your deliveries have ended for the season–thank you for being a part of our farm this year.
If you are unsure about your delivery schedule for the rest of the season, please find your delivery schedule in your membership account at https://www.harvie.farm/member/deliveries.
For the Rest of The Season, You Will Receive Your Share Customization Emails on Fridays
As we enter our Extended Season deliveries, your share customization window will be earlier than it was during the main season. From now on, your share customization window will be from sometime on Friday morning until 7 am the following Saturday morning–before the week in which you receive your share.
In other words, if you have been previously receiving your share customization emails on Mondays or Wednesdays, you will now receive your share customization emails on Fridays.
How This Change Helps the Farm
Now that we are in the Extended Season, we anticipate more variable weather and less consistent availability of our field crew and pack volunteers. This requires that we know further in advance what your customization preferences are, so that we can plan accordingly for harvest and packing.
Even though the customization window will be earlier, your delivery dates will remain the same.
In the Extended Season, our deliveries drop down to about half of what they were in the main season. This somewhat reduces the pressure to harvest, bag, pack, etc. Other pressures increase during this period, such as sleet, snow, cold, wind, etc. Additionally, I can’t keep the whole crew busy full-time during November, so we have a reduced number of crew members during this month.
However, the way weather works, we might need a huge field crew two days per week, because those are nice sunny days, and the rest of the time, no or little field crew, because the weather is too inclement for outdoor work. Matching the available resources to the task is one of the arts of farming. We’ve made it work pretty well this year.
There is more to be thankful for than what I highlight below, such as weather, soil, crew and you…I will note these in future issues of the Extended Season Farm News, since an infinite amount of appreciation will not fit into a finite amount of space.
Thank You to the Extended Season Crops
We have onions, garlic, winter squash, kohlrabi, thyme, potatoes and a bit of popcorn and radishes in storage.
We have a lot of cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale still in the fields. These crops will sweeten further with each additional frost (unless it’s a really hard frost.) They will also still grow a bit, depending on rain and temperature. We also have a bed of popcorn still in the field.
We oddly (given that it’s November) have mizuna for the first part of this week, and baby chard for the second part of Extended Season Week 2. Both of these leafy greens are still happily growing in the fields as of Thursday, November 5th. Dill, too, is still flourishing in the field under a row cover—not sure when it will be available for shares, probably in Week 2 of the Extended Season.
Thank You to our Drivers Who Deliver Your Shares
I like to say, “we are a farm, not a transportation company.” However, we need to get our deliveries to you (except for those of you who pick up at the farm).
Many of you know that we took on doing our own home deliveries this season, to ensure that the produce would be carefully handled, would arrive cooled and would be delivered at somewhat predictable times. Farm employees Alina Jaskowiak and Nathan Hallgren were supported in the endeavor of delivery logistics (routing, etc.) by talented farm friend, pack volunteer, and occasional consultant, Chris Flueckiger. The beginning was daunting, but eventually the home deliveries went quite well, I feel, especially given that it was our first attempt to undertake such a service.
We have been blessed this season to have the driving services of Juan Lomeli, Zdenek Zverina, and Diane Moore. Zdenek and Diane will be finishing the Extended Season deliveries. They show up on time and do the deliveries in good cheer. Having had drivers in the past who didn’t show up, who weren’t careful with your boxes or the trucks, we are blessed to have the cordial, prompt and careful services of Zdenek and Diane, and will warmly welcome them back next year.
Thank You to All who Have Helped to Pack Your Boxes
About 13 to 18 pack volunteers have been showing up here for each of the three weekly packs. Mostly, a volunteer will do one pack per week, so you can imagine that this is a large number of volunteers who help out during an average week. There’s great camaraderie amongst the pack volunteers; each pack is its own festival of sorts. Sometimes a volunteer sweetly brings a gift for the farm or for Haidy and me.
Don Glasenapp, our charismatic Pack Volunteer Coordinator, does great work making sure that we have enough volunteers. He guides the volunteers in filling the boxes precisely according to the preferences on your customized box label. He also instructs volunteers on food safety and COVID-19 safety protocols. Don is great at keeping people’s spirits up and making sure the pack is a good time for all.
David Crogan, one of the funniest people I know, is in charge of the rather demanding and fastidious job of sorting and labeling boxes. Some of our crew assists David in this process. I estimate this sorting and labeling takes up about 12 to 14 person-hours per pack, or close to 40 hours per week. (To be clear, because several people are helping, the process usually starts around 7 am and ends around 10:30 am on three separate pack days per week.)
During the pack, David audits boxes to make sure they are packed correctly. We have had fewer complaints of missing items or wrong items in the boxes, since we introduced this auditing process this season. We still miss things occasionally, to the chagrin of some of our shareholders. It might seem easy for a volunteer to simply do what the label says; mostly that’s what happens, but sometimes, unfortunately, there will be an oversight.
(Regarding the issue of errors in packing your boxes (or in the rest of life), let’s take comfort in what Rudolf Steiner said in Berlin on Dec 2nd, 1903: “Wisdom can only be gained by making countless mistakes. Goethe states: ‘The human being errs while he strives.’ In the same way that a child learns that it hurts to fall, all the great personalities had to learn through experience when making mistakes. Wisdom can only be gained by making mistakes.”)
Back to Don and David–read an inspiring story from an off-season issue of Farm News from March of this year about these two fabulous supporters of Angelic Organics (and several others): Let There Be Light, Said the Barn to the Farmer.
Keep up with Farm News
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