Farmer John Writes: This is Farming
Holiday Season Week 3, Deliveries of November 21st – 25th, 2023
For Some, This is the Last Week of Deliveries
Welcome to Week 3 of our 4-Week Holiday Season.
For some shareholders with a bi-weekly holiday season share, this is the final week of deliveries. Thank you for being with us this season.
If you are unsure of your delivery schedule, check the delivery calendar in your membership account.
Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Parsley—still bringing these frost resistant crops in from the field. I think this week is the last for the Brussels sprouts, last for the parsley, and not the last for the kale.
Kale—now giving kale tops, which include baby leaves—very sweet frost-enhanced kale.
Spinach—thoroughly sweetened by frosts. I think you will love it. However, the spinach is re-growth, so some of the tips of the leaves are cut, due to a previous harvest. Overall, I think the leaves look okay. However, there were a lot of weeds in the spinach. We don’t have time to remove all of them, so please do this sorting/grading yourself. Spinach from our fields in mid-November is a rare culinary treat.
Substitution: Carrots for Onions. The onions didn’t store well. They looked like they held up, but shareholders reported that, in spite of looking like good onions, inside, some were spoiled. I forgot to list carrots as a customization option for this week’s boxes, so am happy to have carrots available to substitute for onions.
Actually, just because, we are going to put a small bag of carrots into every box, whether onions were ordered or not. Carrots seem like a great addition to the Thanksgiving table; I’m glad to offer carrots.
Further Note on Onions: Upon closer examination and evaluation, we determined that a minority of the onions has turned bad, maybe one out of 10 or 15. We can’t throw out so many good onions on behalf of the bad onions. We are going to more closely evaluate the onions and discard what seems spoiled. We might miss a bad onion or discard a good onion—this happens in life. We plan to add onions as some of the Farmer’s Choice option to boxes next week. You might get an onion next week, and it will probably be a good onion.
Last week, the weather was mild. Sometimes this happens in November. We seized the weather, did a lot of harvesting and grading and work around the farm.
I’m kind of keeping up. It’s the toughest job on the farm, at least for me. Most shareholders are kind; some are merciless.
The last day for the H-2A workers is Friday, Nov 24th. They are the best crew ever.
Boni left last Friday to visit his brothers in the Northeast, whom he had not seen for 20 years.
“Thank you, John, for bringing me here,” said Boni. “I thought I would never see my brothers again.”
We did a couple of jobs last week that were long overdue—cleaned a fence line and repaired and re-stained the granary deck.
The fence line—when I came back from the film tour 13 years ago, my fresh eyes were horrified by how shabby the farm had become, and how unintentional and chaotic the fence line west of the buildings had become. I undertook to clean it and organize it, which required a large dumpster for trash and the scrapping of a lot of obsolete pieces of machinery and other steel.
13 years later, the fence line had again become more of a dump than a repository, lined with broken washing machines, disengorged cement columns, obsolete or dismembered farm machines, spare parts, rotting wood beams, etc. We undertook to clean and organize it again. The farm needs an inventory of building materials and spare parts, but the array had become overwhelming and the appropriateness of much of it had become marginal.
End of the Season
As we wind down the season, I think about the building maintenance and repairs that ideally should have been done during the season, but were not undertaken due to time constraints. As the weather turns cold, I resign myself to that some building projects will not happen (and maybe some will, dependent on weather). Machinery maintenance and upgrades can go on throughout the winter, thanks to our heated shop.
To do—15 years ago, maybe more, we built observation decks on either side of the cupola that sits on top of our corn crib. (We used to elevate our ear corn and oats into the cupola and down into bins for feed storage for our cattle and chickens.) The decks still need a staircase and railings to complete the lyrical plan. This winter? Maybe.
As shareholders, you are part of our farm. I hope I adequately convey to you the satisfactions and frustrations that attend the operation of this farm, that you at least somewhat experienced the joys of jobs accomplished and the disappointments of jobs undone.
This is farming—the done and the not-done and the kind-of-done and the soon-to-be-done-maybe.
Thanks to all our workers for the great season. Thanks to the weather, the fertile soil, and to the reliable equipment. And thank you to all of you shareholders, who make it possible for our farm to exist.
Farmer #1: Do you like your life? My wife wants to know.
Farmer #2: Like my life?
Farmer #1: Yeah, the life you live. Do you like it or do you just go through with it, kind of endure it. My wife wanted me to ask. She gets to the point of things.
Farmer #2: I’ll have to get back to you on this. Give me three to six days to respond.