Farmer John Writes: Something to Do

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 16, October 11th – 16th

Extended Season Vegetable Shares are Available

Shareholders, you can still sign up for an extended season vegetable share. Our fall crops are better than ever, so you can expect to receive glorious customized boxes of vegetables right into early December. Available as a weekly share (4 boxes) or a bi-weekly share (2 boxes). $40 per box. (Sorry, we are no longer selling extended season fruit shares this season.)

In the extended season, you will likely receive generous amounts of carrots, winter squash, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, daikon radishes, beets, kohlrabi, bok choy, Chinese cabbage and–weather depending–all sorts of head lettuce and baby greens.

part of our spaghetti and butternut squash harvest

Sign Up for Your Extended Season Share

Before you sign up for an extended season vegetable share, please review these two instructions:

  1. You might already have an extended season vegetable share. If you don’t remember whether you have a 2021 extended season vegetable share, log in to your membership account and click on “View/Modify Subscriptions” to see all of your shares. 
  2. If you do not have a 2021 extended season vegetable share and you want to sign up for one, be sure to select the 2021 extended season vegetable share option when you sign up. We have had some shareholders sign up for a 2022 extended season share by mistake.

To sign up for your extended season share, log in to your membership account and click on “Purchase or renew subscription”, and select “2021 Extended Season Vegetable Share”.

Just a Few Pumpkins and Gourds Left for Shareholders

Shareholders, if you have been meaning to come to the farm to get your 2 pumpkins and 5 gourds, they are almost gone. We can’t guarantee that there will still be pumpkins and gourds for you since we don’t know how many shareholders will still come out to get their pumpkins and gourds.

pumpkins and gourds are almost gone

Organic Inspection Coming Up

Later this month, we will have our annual organic inspection by MOSA (Midwest Organic Services Association). There are other ways besides certifying organic to make people at ease with what they are eating, such as simply approving their food.

Imagine only eating Approved Food

Imagine eating only Approved Food and Candy with the Seasons

How Is Your Farmer?

In the film The Real Dirt on Farmer John, my mother says about her vegetable stand, “It gives me something to do, John. It does. It gives me something to do.”

When people ask how I am, and I say “I’m too busy,” they often say “busy is good.” I suppose they are right, that busy is good, but too busy is not better than busy. Too busy is probably not as good as busy.

I did quite a bit of lateral delegation this year, offloading responsibilities to Nathan, Pollo, Victor and Amanda. Also, my wife Haidy, whose health is gradually improving, handles many administrative tasks. I still work as hard as before, but less is undone. (That’s quite the metric for an improvement of a busy work life, no?) Still, having less undone is an upgrade and a relief.

I don’t suppose that I could ever delegate enough so that everything gets done, because on a farm, everything never gets done; only more or less of everything gets done. 

There is always something to fix, adjust, polish, revamp, tune, tweak, paint, grease, inflate, hang, lower, replace, refurbish, fill, smooth, mow, tie, steady, fashion, accelerate, brighten, dim, solder, deflate, wax, measure, oil, sweep, brush, shake, jimmy, flatten, top, hoist, test, clean, raise, shovel, discard, label, tighten, winch, weld, scrape, sharpen, cinch, loosen, crank, install, set, tether, strap, organize, straighten, decelerate, lift, patch, drill, bolster, caulk, bend, discard, sort, center, trim, clip, illuminate, broaden, drain, level, extend, curve, extract, balance, chain, crank, edge, latch, thread, plane, file, lengthen, dig, chisel, heft, plug, saw, trim, solder, wire, secure, prune, torque, or procure. (No, I did not consult a thesaurus to create this list.) 

Notice I did not even mention above the main things we do: till, compost, plant, weed, harvest, pack, and deliver.

A lot of people show up here and talk about how idyllic the farm is. I suppose such a case could be made, but I never claim such. I think about, how like the Fulton Street Fish Market in Manhattan, which used to hop, roar, clank and bustle, this farm throbs with life, hustle, and shouts.

carrots, painting that needs to be done, and roof shingles that need replacing

From a Shareholder 

“Love your potato digging reference [in Week 14 Farm News]. One of my earliest and fondest memories is digging potatoes at a neighbor’s farm near our converted one room schoolhouse near Polo Illinois. What a delight. The same neighbor/farmer (Mr. Wilson) tilled our 1 acre vegetable garden with his tractor. His wife sometimes took care of us when my mom was working. I remember the love they expressed to us kids and the wonder of unearthing potatoes on their farm garden followed by eating same with home churned butter from their dairy cows. And their cuckoo clock – I never ceased to wonder at its mechanical heart and ingenious interaction with gravity. (Not a AA battery in sight). The Wilson’s were the salt of the earth – how blessed we were to have them as neighbors. Each box a shareholder receives contains very much the same gift. Savor it folks – people like the Wilson’s, Farmer John and his crew are now very few and very far between.”

~ Shareholder Jeff Milroy

(Jeff often sends us heartening and insightful messages.)


Our Driver Zdenek, leaving the farm to make deliveries: “One of the sites that I deliver to has a car with a flat tire in the garage. It’s been flat for a long time. I’m going to put air in it. I have an air tank in the truck.”

Farmer: “You going to tell ‘em?”

Zdenek: “No, I’m not doing it for praise. The tire needs air.”

From a Shareholder About Zdenek 

(For back story, refer to Farm News, Week 9, On Life and Death.)

“We pick up our share at Oak Park South. Today I admired the screws that Zdenek put in the stairs. Today he had placed some empty boxes to shield the sun since it was so hot. He’s a gem. Hopefully I’ll meet him one day.”


Subject of a recent email to the farm: “Everything is illuminated, John”

Reply: “I thought the subject was a spiritual reference.” 

(It was really a pitch for LED lighting.)

Farmer John

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Showing 8 comments

    Love your writing, Farmer John (as well as your vegetables)!

  • Babette Neuberger

    Hello Farmer John:
    I love my CSA share! A question for you, does Angelic Organics use regenerative farming practices, if not why not? Thanks for your explanation. We all have a lot to learn and do to save our planet
    Warm regards,
    Babette Neuberger

    • Farmer John

      We use many regenerative farming practices: cover crops, composting, Biodynamics practices, crop rotation…Half of our land is fallow in cover crops each year, resting and regenerating fertiity and soil vitality.

  • Megan Collins-Moore

    Your list of things that need doing reminded me of trying to describe to people without kids what it is like to be a working parent of two small children- the treadmill of to-do’s never stops, it only slows down or speed up! We love the things we grow and raise, even when they exhaust us. We love the produce from AO and the philosophy of the CSA model. Thank you for the opportunity to show my children where food really comes from.

    • Farmer John

      Beautiful from you, Megan. I sometimes think of the farm as a child, but maybe I should expand my idea to that the is like a whole bunch of children, with some needs conflicting with others.

  • Connor

    Thanks for the reminder Farmer John, only had to take two breathes reading the to do list

    • Farmer John

      I planned to post a reading of that paragraph online, but didn’t get around to it. Lists are fun to read, and (sometimes) fun to execute.

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