Farmer John Writes: Its Own Spiritual Force

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Harvest Week 19, November 7th – 12th, 2022

For Some of You, This is Your Last Delivery of the Season

If you receive a bi-weekly share on the odd weeks (that’s this week, Week 19) and you don’t have an extended season share, this is your last week of deliveries. Thank you for being with us this season.

If you are unsure about your delivery schedule for the rest of the season, check the delivery calendar in your membership account.

Free Broccoli This Week

The broccoli this season got off to a very slow start, partially because of the cold spring, but also—just to show how interconnected things can be—because we had so many problems with our delivery vehicles. As you know, deliveries have to happen no matter what, and our attention went into finding and cobbling together rented delivery trucks while trying valiantly to get the farm’s delivery trucks operational. We simply got behind in the greenhouse, since we don’t have infinite staff and infinite resources to make everything happen at the exact moment it should, if systemic problems occur.

The broccoli has been languishing—just the tiniest of heads forming slowly for weeks—and finally, with the unusual warmth of late October and early November, the heads started to grow exponentially. Last Tuesday, when Nathan and I did the harvest estimate for this week, I didn’t think we would have broccoli for this week (and maybe not have it at all) and suddenly, we/you have broccoli. 

late broccoli bloomer

Since we have this surprise broccoli, we will add free broccoli to this week’s boxes.

(Note for Monday home delivery shareholders: unfortunately, we weren’t able to add this free broccoli to your boxes, since your boxes were packed before we had this idea to add broccoli to this week’s boxes.)

Broccoli is one of the most popular crops we grow. I know a few shareholders will not appreciate receiving it, but overall, I think it will be received as a delicious bonus. In addition, for those of you whose share subscription is ending this week, you will have a last-minute experience of our fall broccoli.

think there will be enough sizable heads of broccoli for everyone this week. It’s a little hard to judge, with some heads about full size, and many others still sizing up. If we are short broccoli, we’ll put another free item into your box, so you don’t feel overlooked.


We offered spinach for this week. As I mentioned in last week’s Farm News, the spinach will probably have weeds in it and also some yellow leaves. Due to work demands here, we will lean on you to pick through it and extract premium spinach leaves from the mix. Many of the leaves look top notch.

Like, not Love

For several years now, we have had a Spanish colonial color theme here at the farm, due to the more than 50 times I have visited Mexico, especially San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato. I strive to infuse the farm with the spirit of that festive color scheme. Color makes a difference, like the words we write or speak. Color, like language, is its own spiritual force.

Painted in 2017: Corn Crib (farm office)

Read more about choosing colors for the farmstead in A Bath of Light, Farm News Week 17, 2017.

The machine shop we built a few years back was painted with a pale color called Nacho Cheese. It was the wrong color choice. The shop presents the most expansive walls of any building on the farm. Besides, it encloses the southern boundary of a sort of courtyard of farm buildings here: farmhouse to the east, office to the north, barn to the west. The shop is a mecca for robust activity: welding, wrenching, hammering, straightening, torching, bending, drilling, grinding, assembling, etc. The light yellow of the Nacho Cheese misrepresented the rustic purpose of the shop. In addition, that pale yellow paint began to peel and discolor early on. (Normally, I purchase the best, most enduring paint available, but in this case, I suspect that someone selected a lower quality paint.) A few years back, we attempted to paint out its discolorations with sorely mismatched paint, resulting in what looked like a shop with a foreboding disease.

Because we have had a long warm fall, and I have some fast and excellent painters on staff, I decided to paint the shop a new, more appropriate, more harmonizing color. There are many yellows, reds and oranges on the farm buildings today, so we decided to go with a green for balance. What green, though? There are hundreds to choose from.

We first used a painting app to choose color candidates amongst the many colors offered in Behr Marquee quality paint. 

Then we selected several greens to actually try out on the shop wall (along with a few blues). An interesting detail about selecting a color this way, against a background of a very different color—in this case, Nacho Cheese— is that the background will contextualize the color you are considering, and skew its effect somewhat versus what it would look like without a contextualizing background color. As much as one tries to ignore the context, it is still not completely possible to ignore it, and it will skew the color selection.

We finally decided on a green called Mixed Veggies. (I wasn’t lured by the coincidental name, mind you. Or was I?)

Mixed Veggies color is on the left

At first, this Mixed Veggies color, as we were applying it on the expansive shop walls, seemed lively, robust, cheerful, and a bit mysterious. Victor and I, and some of the others on the crew, thought, or pretended to think, that it was a fine color (even though someone else on the crew said it was a sad color.)

at first, we thought it was the right color

As more and more of the paint was applied, it seemed like it wasn’t really on the same color team as the other buildings. It seemed like it was pretending to be part of our farmstead team, but it really wanted to stand out, perhaps stand above, like a skyscraper that looks down on a vintage cityscape. The skyscraper has a few design flourishes, gestures to the past, that lamely pretend to harmonize it with the cohesive cityscape below; ultimately, it fails.

“I like it, but I don’t love it,” I said to Victor.

“I like it, too,” replied Victor. “But I don’t love it, either.”

Haidy barely liked it.

The shop now seemed too independent, too self-centered.

After the shop was mostly painted, the green started to glow a little, even pulsate, as though it could have been named Mixed GMO Veggies. 

Haidy pointed out that it seemed a bit neon. She showed me pictures of The Hulk, wondering if the green of our shop might be close to the Hulk’s green.

I started to wonder if the paint mixer at Home Depot had slipped a bit of LSD into the formula.

our glowing farm shop today

Fortunately, the plan was to put on two coats of new paint. I think I will wait until next year to decide on the color of the second coat. Maybe by then I’ll love Mixed Veggies

Farmer John

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  • Juvy Halili

    Hi Farmer John!

    I worked as a chemist for Behr Paint and have been a shareholder for two years. I always look forward to your newsletter and they’re a highlight of our week (my roommate and I share a biweekly CSA box) along with our bountiful produces . I was totally excited over the fact that you used our paint to paint your farm shop. Hopefully you do end up loving Mixed Veggies!



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