Farmer John Writes: More Than Before
Harvest Week 1, June 28th – July 3rd, 2021
Welcome to our 2021 Season, Our First Week of Deliveries
Thank you for being with us this year, our 32nd year as a Community Supported Agriculture farm. It’s been a challenging spring, but then, all springs are challenging. The variability of the weather this season was hard to navigate. I’ll elaborate just a bit on this variability, so you will get a sense of what your vegetables and herbs went through on their way to your kitchen.
The previous four springs were very wet; this one was very dry. Good enough—we should have been able to get the crops planted in a hurry then…but no, because frosts kept coming, even into late May, frosts that would have destroyed the tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, eggplant, and basil. A cold, dry spring then, you might surmise. No, an extremely hot, dry spring, then an extremely cold, dry spring, then extremely hot again, now cool again. When it was hot, we had to diligently water our transplants in the field, then water them more. Some days were so hot and windy, we simply could not transplant. The 90+ degree temperatures and 40 to 50 mile per hour winds would wilt the transplants within minutes. And the dust, clogging filters and blanketing radiators, sifting into buildings, irritating the eyes and throat. Want to be a farmer?
Of course, I could make every spring I can remember, which goes back to the mid-fifties, seem wildly unusual. That’s mostly what the farmers around here talked about every year and what the conversations were like at our supper table since I was a tyke in the 50’s—they talked about the unusual weather that spring.
The start of last season was a plague of rains, seeming like the year might be a repeat of the previous three soggy seasons. We lost a lot of early crops to weeds, bugs and the weather-induced inability to plant in a timely way. Much of the ground was so waterlogged from the prior seasons’ heavy rains that we could not farm it; water stood in fields where I had never seen it standing in July.
This Season, Our Crops Look Great
This season, although the weather has been adverse, we navigated the drought, the winds, the heat and the frosts without missing a step. We have splendid crops, an astounding bounty of crops.
This Means There’s More for You
This abundance will typically result in our 2021 shareholders receiving more vegetables and herbs in each box. Of course, this will depend on just how you customize your order. If you customize mostly with high value items that don’t take up much box space, such as heirloom tomatoes and garlic, your box might not be brimming with produce. The contents are apportioned to your box based on value, not volume.
You probably won’t always notice the extra fullness, but I suspect you often will. What will make your boxes fuller? Larger bags of baby greens, larger bunches of herbs, and a 10% to 20% reduction in the price we assign to many of the items in your box, compared to last year. This price reduction will result in more volume filling your box, which is valued at $40. For instance, items we typically priced at $5 each last year will often be priced at $4 each this year. (If the math is daunting, just know that your boxes will usually be fuller than before.)
Of course, there are no guarantees of box fullness for the whole season. We can still get hailed out or tornadoed out. But, it’s one of our best starts ever, with everything in the ground that is supposed to be in, fields basically weed and insect free, looking beautiful. A good start to the season usually carries through to the rest of the year.
Last year, due to Covid, we inserted liners in your CSA box. This year, we will continue to use liners, because they keep the boxes clean and they also keep the box contents cooler. If you pick up at a community site and it’s more convenient for you to take the box home with you, fine. Please return it to your site on your next pickup day. Do not return the liner; we cannot re-use it. Perhaps you can use it as a garbage bag; also, it is compostable.
Please fold your box flat for return to the farm. Please do not rip the tabs when opening the box or when flattening it. This will make the box unusable. The boxes cost the farm about $2 each, so in one unfortunate ripping motion, presto, the farm has to order a new $2 replacement box. Watch this one minute video on how to flatten your box.
If You Miss the Customization Window
If you first notice your email to customize your box after the customization window has closed, don’t despair–your box will still be customized according to the original preferences you selected when you signed up for a share. You’ll still get more of what you like and less or none of what you don’t like (unless you never entered your original preferences, in which case, you will receive Farmer’s Choice).
We plan to project the crop availability for customization the Wednesday before the upcoming week of deliveries. This schedule is a bit different than last year.
If you receive a share on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, your deadline to customize will be Friday morning, so we can plan our packs accordingly.
If you receive your box later in the week, your customization deadline will be later.
In Case You Wonder
Log in to your CSAware membership account to find details about your share: https://angelicorganics.csaware.com/accounts/
Please be Nice to Our Lovely Site Hosts
Our site hosts provide a service to your community. Please respect and appreciate them.
Note the section in our Shareholder Agreement regarding the treatment of site hosts:
“I will treat my site host with respect.
From a Site Host: “Most [shareholders] are gracious and thankful, but …I…have experienced some disrespectful behavior over the years. We are not farm employees. We gain no real benefit from hosting, except the knowledge that we are assisting in creating a beautiful relationship. Indeed, hosting often adds duties to our lives that the shareholders might not be aware of…”
If disrespectful behavior is reported, that person’s share may be cancelled immediately.”
In Case You Missed the Farm Updates so far this Year
We appreciate when you stay current with Farm News. Here are three farm updates I have written in 2021:
Michael Jacobs Will be Doing Your Home Deliveries
We are fortunate to have Michael Jacobs, a local lad, doing your home deliveries this year, in a refrigerated vehicle.
A Way Around the Weather
I suppose I could sidestep bugs, winds, drought, blight—sidestep soil and weather altogether—by growing soilless crops organically. So says a recent landmark organic decision: Court Defers to USDA: Soil is Optional in Organic.
A Transportation Challenge
We have harvest tractors, wagons, trailers and carts. We often ponder the best way to get crops from the fields to our barns. And then we have to get the shares delivered to you. Perhaps we should be more inventive: Photographer Documents the Otherworldy ‘Mutant Vehicles’ That Inhabit Burning Man.
To a Year of Plenty,