Farmer John Writes: Farm Love
Holiday Season Week 1, Deliveries of November 7th – 11th, 2023
Welcome to the Holiday Season
This is Week 1 of the four-week Holiday Season (formerly called the Extended Season).
Only shareholders who are signed up for a holiday season share still have deliveries in 2023. Check your membership account if you are unsure about your deliveries.
The frosts were not as bad as forecast this past week. Fortunately, at the last minute, I decided to leave some Brussels sprouts in the field to sweeten them further—the kale, too.
Still behind—sorry. Choreographing harvests during variable fall weather is a preoccupation for me. We chip away at customer service, staying current mostly, but still facing a backlog of emails from the more distant past. I will be presenting at the Biodynamic Conference in Colorado—away from Nov 8 through Nov 12—so will only be intermittently available to emails from shareholders then.
I will probably write shorter versions of Farm News for this Holiday Season.
Discontinuing the hard copy version of Farm News has made it easier to expand the electronic version. The reason is that when we also published the hard copy, I tried to make the electronic version appropriate to the constraints of the two-page hard copy, keeping the complementary issues mostly in scale with each other (though the electronic version did often substantially exceed the hard copy in scope and in numbers of photos).
Anyway, as much as I enjoy writing Farm News, the lengthy version gets in the way of other things that need to be done. We’ll see how much restraint I bring to the writing over the next four issues. For this issue, I feel I exercised the right amount of restraint.
With the exceptions of kale, Brussels sprouts and popcorn (and maybe parsley and Swiss chard), all the remaining crops scheduled for this season’s deliveries are in storage. That’s why, for the most part, they are called storage crops—carrots, potatoes, squash, cabbage, onions, garlic, celeriac. (Lettuce isn’t quite a storage crop, but what remains is mostly Romaine, which stores comparatively well.)
There have been years when we have run low on the extended season crops. Let’s be thankful for the extraordinary bounty of this season, during which we have packed most boxes full and sometimes more-than-full and sometimes have even double-boxed shares, because of the bounty.
We have received many notes of appreciation this year, and many of these are directed to our crew. I often pass these warm acknowledgments on to the crew.
On the Day of the Dead, last Thursday, we received from shareholders a package in the mail with an envelope for each individual crew member containing a thank you note and a twenty dollar bill. A Day of the Dead fiesta was scheduled for that evening, to which I was invited. After dinner, Mayra read the message of appreciation to the crew and then we presented the gifts.
It was an emotional experience for many, for them to be recognized and praised for the work they do. Executives, yes; movie stars, yes; sports celebrities, yes…farm workers—seldom.
After the presentation of gifts, we discussed the Day of the Dead. Most of the people at the fiesta that evening celebrate the Day of the Dead and honor their relationships with their passed loved ones. I pointed out that love and appreciating one another was being practiced that night, not just by the living for the dead, but also by the living for the living.
Our shareholder benefactors were so thoughtful—so attentive to detail—that they even included a few blank envelopes with extra twenty dollar bills and thank you notes, in case they had overlooked somebody. It turns out that Mayra’s husband, Aldo, who was visiting Mayra and helping here for two weeks was not on the initial list, but it was easy to include him with a gift because of our shareholders’ thoughtfulness.
From Other Thankful Shareholders
“I truly appreciate learning about the great and hard working crew. So glad to be in partnership with these people and I wish them and their families the very best. It is good you take the time to get to know them on a personal basis and then share that information with us. It is a great connection to the land and people for those of us who do not farm for a living.”
“My family and I are so grateful for the labor and care of the whole team. I am happy that through the farm the crew can provide for themselves and their families in Mexico. Welcome Boni! I hope this was a good experience and you are able to return. Farmer John, thank YOU for interviewing everyone. We enjoy learning about a bit about each person – feels like a farm family that contributes to the health of the farm and our families.”
Look what arrived at the farm for a beloved member of our H-2A team.
I won’t disclose whom these flowers and the chocolates were for; I’m just sharing that last week was an extraordinary week of love and appreciation on the farm.