Farmer John Writes: From You to Us and Back Again
Harvest Week 2, Deliveries of June 27th – July 1st, 2023
From the East
Our last big rain was from the East. I like to think that you shareholders sent it, as most of you live east of us, towards Lake Michigan. Rain from the East is different; it feels more cleansing, more purifying. After it’s over, the air is cleaner, fresher than after normal rains; the air is like what I remember from childhood.
Rains from the East are often deluges. We had one when I was maybe three years old—4 1/2 inches in one hour. It might have been more than 4 1/2 inches; maybe our rain gauge only registered 4 1/2 inches, and then it overflowed. The creek north of us overflowed that afternoon. It’s usually five to ten feet wide. After the rain, it was maybe two-hundred feet wide in some places, raging. I was perched on my dad’s shoulders as he ran towards it. I wondered if he was going to stop. My mother filmed it. Out of the one-hundred-or-so 8 mm films that she shot, this was one of the family favorites. We named it The Flood.
Our mother said, “that’s the way it is when the storms come from the East. They don’t want to stop. The weather likes to come from the West, but when it comes from the East, the weather from the West pushes up against it and holds it in place. The big storms come from the East.”
The day after we got the big storm from the East a few weeks ago, we got another storm from over there. The East is over there, not out there, like the expansive West that just goes on and on, maybe forever. The East, for us, stops somewhere in Lake Michigan. From the East, we’ll some days get the smell of fish from Lake Michigan, but conditions need to be just right. When my grandparents moved here in 1910, Dad said that settlers still talked sometimes about how they could smell the smoke from the Chicago Fire many years earlier, but you won’t smell fish or fire from near the Lake without the wind carrying it in an unusual way.
The day after the big storm from your way (that’s if you live over that way), I saw clouds building up in that direction. Clouds that form in the East are usually teasers; they are a storm that missed us maybe, or that formed after passing over us, and then burst.
So, this darkness formed in the East—remember, this was the day after the gargantuan storm—and I thought it’s raining over there—it missed us. I just wasn’t agile enough to think it was the second day in a row when we would get a pounding storm from the East. The air after that second storm was as pure as the 50’s, and it came with a rainbow.
A farmer neighbor came over a few days after these two rains, and he couldn’t stop mentioning how much from the East those storms were. Every sentence he spoke about the storms seemed to include a reference to the East.
Speaking of Floods
I got a flood of responses to the first issue of Farm News, A Murder, A Baby and A Ghost. It’s gratifying that so many of our shareholders appreciate the lives and dedication of our farm workers. I read the following three comments from shareholders to our crew in English, and then they were translated into Spanish by Victor or Mayra. (Another shareholder comment was actually written and read out loud to the crew in Spanish.)
“LOVED the interviews with the workers!! It was fascinating to hear about their lives. Please thank them for all they do. My spouse is Mexican-American so perhaps that is partly why I loved the interviews so much. It sounds like your people are awesome and I wish them all the best!
“Thank you so much for introducing your wonderful migrant workers. Their stories were so moving. I’m so glad that you are able to provide them with much-needed work in such a beautiful location.
“To the H2-A workers,
I enjoyed learning a little about each of you. I am thankful that you are here and helping to grow the items in our box. I am also happy to know that by buying a share and supporting the farm I am helping you to improve your lives.
A friend suggested to get A Murder, A Baby and A Ghost out far and wide, to confront the negative stereotypes some people have about Mexican immigrants.
Speaking of Reading
This might seem implausible, but it’s true: some of our shareholders take home the wrong labeled box from their delivery site.
We have sent emails requesting that shareholders pick up the correct box with their name on it, but whoever takes a box with the wrong name on it is probably not a dedicated reader. There certainly are shareholders who don’t read much of what we write to make the shareholder experience and farm experience more rewarding (this includes not reading Farm News), and I am quite sure there are shareholders who read none of what we write.
You would think that, even if a person refuses to read what we write, it would not include refusing to read the label on his or her box. It’s just a shame when we get an email from someone who didn’t get their box to which they have been so looking forward, because someone just randomly took a box and ventured home with it.
This is from our Shareholder Agreement, which shareholders must agree to in order to become a shareholder:
If I don’t read all of my correspondence from the farm and if I don’t read the weekly Farm News, I am not fully participating in the Angelic Organics Community Supported Agriculture program. I will make sure to read Farm News so as not to burden the farm office with extraneous questions.”
I suppose a person could just skim the Shareholder Agreement and sign it, the way I read the 20-page agreement which, once I agree to it, I am entitled to use Microsoft Word.
Not a Bus Route, Not a Plane Schedule—It’s a Farm Truck on a Mission
We publish a time by which your delivery to a community site is likely to arrive. This time has a cushion built in, because Zdenek, our driver, might have a truck problem or might encounter a traffic jam or a parade. We don’t want you to get to the site before our driver arrives there. It’s a generous cushion of time between when we think he will arrive at your site, but this can present a problem if Zdenek arrives early at your site. What if he arrives at your site an hour earlier then we project, and your pickup time is two hours after his early delivery time, and it’s a hot day and your share is sitting there in the heat, feeling forsaken?
Now Zdenek can text and email you when your delivery has arrived. You can go pick up your box then. This announcement from Zdenek overrides the published pickup time. It’s a great convenience and one that we hope you utilize. However, some shareholders do not receive texts or emails, so we publish a default pickup time, for those who don’t get texts or emails, or in case Zdenek encounters an obstacle in getting a text or email to you.
To summarize, there is a published official pickup time for your site, and then there is also a notified time for pickup which might be considerably earlier than the official pickup time.
And please remember, if Zdenek arrives consistently early at a site, and you consistently get a notice that your share is there early, this does not mean that he will always be delivering to your site at that time. Wait for Zdenek’s notification; if you don’t receive it, go to pick up your box after the official time has come for your box arrival.
Last Week’s Radishes
Some of last week’s radishes were pithy or spongy. If you received such radishes, sorry. This week’s radishes are from a later seeding, and should be succulent.
The crops are growing fast these days. Beets for your box this week are glorious. (If you have an aversion to beets, try ours—they might change your mind.)
Kohlrabi has sized up and is ready for your kitchen.
The lettuce is pristine.
Spinach has held up well in the heat.
Chard is very nice.
Arugula is flavorful but a little rough. Last week it was perfect, but arugula has a narrow harvest window for optimal quality, especially in heat like we had recently. I still wanted you to have it this week, as I think you will find it delectable. If it is a little limp, mist it lightly. Dry with paper towels. Arugula is very popular with our shareholders.
Some of the cilantro bolted, but the leaves are still rich with cilantro flavor, so we harvested it for some of this week’s deliveries.
Broccoli is barreling at us—lots to give next week.
You sent us rain. We’ll send back food.
Check Out Our FAQ’s
From an email titled How to Have the Best Shareholder Experience sent out to all shareholders a few days ago, I am highlighting this FAQ’s feature, because you can take some of the burden off of our office staff by determining if one of our FAQ’s has the answer to your question or concern.
“Consult Our New FAQ’s
We have a new great resource for our shareholders which is our new FAQ’s page. If you have a question, please consult the FAQ’s first before emailing the farm. The FAQ’s cover a range of topics from how to customize your share to how to reschedule a delivery.
Pro-Rated Shares are Available
Tell your friends that we still have shares available at www.angelicorganics.com. Thanks in part to the rain you sent us, the crops are astounding this year, and we want to share the bounty.