Farmer John Writes: Do Things Work Out?
Extended Season Week 2, November 15th – 21st, 2020
We Have Many Kind and Lovely Shareholders
In last week’s Farm News, Still Growing, I acknowledged the contributions to the farm made by our pack volunteers, our delivery drivers, and the crops themselves. This week, I am expressing appreciation for our many wonderful shareholders.
Some come out to the farm all the way from Chicago and suburbs to help pack shares.
Some shareholders buy lunch for our crew:
“Hey, I was wondering if there might be a local restaurant or something to bless the farm crew one week? I’d like to cover lunch for the crew somehow. Could you help me do this?”
Some send gifts of money to support the farm in whatever way we feel is appropriate.
Some send funny notes.
In reply to our apology for a late delivery, a shareholder wrote, “Was Nevada counting the vegetables?”
Some of you send notes of appreciation:
“And this entire season has nourished our souls and our bodies because it reminds us the world is beautiful (not a divisive catastrophe.)”
“Many, many thanks to the hands that conceived, planted, tended, harvested, and packed these delicious foods for our table. Every single hand. Especially in the cold. THANK YOU!”
Your kids sometimes send the most adorable notes:
Some Want to Take Care of a Fellow Shareholder
In Farm News, Week 19, The Most Important Thing is Not a Thing, I wrote about Mara, a shareholder who has been with us for many years, who “left a gracious message…that she didn’t understand how to use our Harvie system to customize, had eye problems and was going to soon have an operation on her eyes, and could she please have pie pumpkins in her box if it wasn’t too late to ask.”
She wanted to make pumpkin pies. I called her back and said it was too late, that her box had already gone out for delivery.
I said, “I’d love to get in the car and bring you your pumpkins today.”
Mara said, “You bring me those pumpkins and I’ll bake you a pumpkin pie.”
As much as I wanted to get pie pumpkins to Mara, I was unable to make it happen.
My wife Haidy pointed out that I just let the story about Mara hang there, with no closure. If you regularly read Farm News, you know that I usually close my stories with a satisfying ending; however, at the time I was writing about this pie pumpkin request, I was more interested in imparting a story with no ending.
Often, that’s the way stories go; they just stop—no closure, no tidy bow—they just stop.
Of course, you can make the case that a story about an unrequited request can be, in a certain way, complete; it highlights a yearning. It’s simply about the yearning.
When I was talking with this shareholder about her pumpkin need, I was flooded with yearning, yearning to personally take care of the needs of all of our shareholders, to sit at your kitchen tables, to hear your stories, to meet your families and friends, to be in continual, rejuvenating shareholder loveliness. Being on the call with Mara poignantly reminded me of what is possible with other human beings.
What I did not add in a subsequent edition of Farm News was that I had later arranged for Mara to receive her pie pumpkins. (This is a good place to note that we have far more shareholder requests than we can possibly fulfill. The request from Mara got through to me at a special moment.)
Shareholder Mara Writes
“And thank you so much Farmer John for helping me last week! My Box was fantastic! Everything! The pie pumpkins, the butternut squash, the leeks, and all that wonderful wonderful broccoli! I love you! But how do I change my preferences so I don’t have to bug you every minute even though I sure like to bug you haha!
In this moment of struggle and solidarity:
Although Mara’s pumpkin request was taken care of earlier, you only had the story of her not receiving her pumpkins until now. Like me, some of our shareholders yearned for this lovely person to receive her pie pumpkins and to be able to make her pumpkin pies. Some of you offered to help:
A Shareholder Writes
“I read about the lady not getting her pumpkins to bake you a pie and have a solution….we would love to take some to the lady so she can make the pie for you!”
Another Shareholder Writes
“I still have one of my 3 pumpkins left and am willing to share either the frozen cooked pumpkin or the whole pumpkin left with the shareholder in Evanston who wanted one to make pies…You are welcome to share my email address with them if there is still a need.”
Do Things Work Out?
Many people like to say, “Things always work out.”
I like to say, “Things sometimes work out. Sometimes they don’t.”
After my first talk with Mara, when I told her it was too late for her to receive pie pumpkins in her box, I resolved to get pie pumpkins to her in her next delivery. In the meantime, we were going to give pie pumpkins in an upcoming pack. This was our only remaining batch of pie pumpkins; there were a few hundred.
I thought we would have many pumpkins left after that pack, from which I could freely choose pumpkins for Mara.
“Nathan, how many pie pumpkins were left over after that pack?”
Those are the two pie pumpkins that went into Mara’s box.
That worked out twofold: Mara got her pumpkins and her story now has closure.