Farmer John Writes: Fun Field Day on Saturday, Sept 17th

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 9, August 29th – September 3rd, 2022


Fall Field Day for Shareholders

Shareholders, come to the farm at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept 17th for our Fall Field Day! Details can be found at www.angelicorganics.com/field-days-for-shareholders/.

Enjoy Live Balkan Gypsy Dixie Klezmer Music by Jutta and the Hi-Dukes

Terran, Zoï and Jutta

Fall Field Day Schedule – Saturday, September 17th

11:00 am: Arrive at the farm
11:45 am: Jutta and the Hi-Dukes Concert on the stage in the main barn loft
12:30 pm: Potluck Lunch—please bring a large dish to share
2:00 pm: Barn Dance in the barn loft gallery led by Jutta and the Hi-Dukes

Plus all the other activities that make our Fall Field Day special: hay rides, free pumpkins and gourds, free flowers and herbs from the U-pick garden.

You can find the full schedule for the event here: www.angelicorganics.com/field-days-for-shareholders/

Contributions are welcome to help cover the cost of the entertainment.

The Angelic Organics Shareholder Directory

I located Jutta and the Hi-Dukes in the Angelic Organics Shareholder Directory:

Looking for Entertainment? You can find them there, too, if you join the directory at https://directory.angelicorganics.com/join. (Note: the directory is only for current members of our CSA.)

Check out Jutta and the Hi-Dukes’ Website

www.hidukes.com
www.hidukes.com/videos
www.hidukes.com/barndance

Remember

  • Concert on our new stage in the barn at 11:45 am
  • Barn Dance in the barn loft gallery at 2 pm
  • Contributions are welcome to help cover the costs of the entertainment 

For More on our Field Day

Learn more about our Field Day at www.angelicorganics.com/field-days-for-shareholders/

Please bring a generous dish for the potluck, as we usually get a big crowd at Field Days when we offer entertainment. 

Crop Report

The crops are pretty much all splendid this year. The heirloom tomatoes are ripening fast now. Regular tomatoes are turning red. Fennel is looking splendid and mature. Leeks are ready earlier than usual. There are ample peppers, eggplant and carrots. Several fields of beautiful sweet corn are still coming on. We have an enormous amount of onions curing indoors. A beautiful garlic crop is also curing. I could go on, but this seems like plenty for you to absorb in one paragraph.

Bartolo washes first leeks of the season

Deliveries

The farm has two delivery trucks that have been broken down for most of this season. We have been renting from Ryder a van for home deliveries and a refrigerated box truck for site deliveries. Figure $2,500 per week for 8 weeks so far for both trucks combined, or about $20,000, plus over $5,000 in repairs for our refrigerated box truck (not back yet—soon) and well over $1,000 in repairs on our farm home delivery van, plus dozens and dozens of hours in the shop; diagnosing its elusive problems. To really complicate matters, at times, Ryder did not have a rental box truck available for us to deliver to community sites, so we had to rent 2 vans (and hire 2 drivers) to deliver to community sites, a job usually done by one truck and one driver. It has cost us upwards of $30,000 in unanticipated expenses to deliver your vegetables this season, plus numerous headaches trying to figure out how to even make your deliveries, and numerous additional headaches while we diverted our time and attention from farming and put our attention on deliveries.

Some years I have relied heavily on Ryder to provide rented transportation, the idea being that Ryder satisfies the essential purpose of a delivery truck—not the truck itself, but fills the need for the delivery service–always (in theory) promptly sending service technicians out on call to keep their truck on the road and/or ready with a truck to swap to keep those deliveries timely. I think Ryder hopes to be that service-oriented, but—you have heard of supply chain issues and labor shortages—last year strategic parts needed to make our rented truck go were simply not available, so the Ryder trucks were frequently down. Same is true of this year. The trucks we have rented from Ryder to take the temporary place of our aging trucks have been quite unreliable; not starting due to a dead battery, reefer unit not functioning properly, flat tire, etc.

In growing your crops, we can be maybe a day late with a seeding, tilling or transplanting operation, maybe even two days, though that much lateness will likely make us wince and squirm. Also, we have multiple systems and machines for getting things done on the farm, redundant systems and machines in many cases, so we can improvise and move forward quickly. Things must always be done in a timely way on a farm, but not to the hour, like with deliveries.

We have maybe an hour—maybe two hours—of grace making share deliveries before someone is missing their delivery and calling the farm wondering where it is. We should not be relying on unreliable trucks to make our deliveries (though note that supposedly reliable rental trucks can also be unreliable.)

The farm is always in need of upgrades. I prioritize the money that is available for these upgrades as best I can; it’s really a dance with rust, weather and capital, choosing what to repair, what to replace, what to label “maybe that machine will give us one more year of service.”

A new refrigerated box truck is about $130,000 and probably not available until the start of next season if I order it now. A new refrigerated van for home deliveries is upwards of $70,000. 

Of course, there are people who will advise us to buy affordable used trucks. Used trucks are not affordable if they cannot reliably make the deliveries. Delivery problems impact every aspect of our farming operation. When we are wrestling with untimely deliveries, we should be in the fields tending your crops. Deliveries are not our core activity; farming is.

We appreciate the dedicated and reliable service of our two delivery truck drivers, Zdenek and Jeff. We often receive commendations from our shareholders acknowledging our drivers. 

Victor prepares packing barn for painting; building upkeep is another major farm priority

Overheard

Dad: “My daughter has the farming bug. Any advice for her?”

Farmer: “Have a big chunk of capital to start out, and have a deep pocket to draw from after that in case of emergencies. Many unexpected things will happen. And there are huge, ultra-efficient, highly capitalized operations out there that are determining the price point at which your daughter will be selling.”

Warmly,
Farmer John

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