Farm News

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Farmer John Writes: The Middle of Somewhere

Extended Season Week 2, November 28th – December 3rd, 2022


Welcome to the Last Delivery Week of the 2022 Season

A reminder to our extended season shareholders: since we condensed our extended season from the usual four weeks to two weeks, this week is the final delivery week of the 2022 season.

Make Sure that You Take the Right Number of Boxes this Week

Another reminder: if you are signed up for a full extended season share, you will receive two vegetable boxes this week. If you are signed up for a half extended season share, you will receive one vegetable box this week.

Brussels Sprouts Shortage

Upon sorting though our inventory of harvested Brussels sprouts, we had to discard many for being minuscule, spongy, or spoiled. If you ordered Brussels sprouts and do not receive them, our apologies. We will make sure to substitute with another item of similar value, probably a delicious carnival squash.

Your Empty Boxes

If you receive home delivery, please remember to leave your empty boxes where our driver can retrieve them. Regarding the last box(es) of the season that our driver will deliver to you this week, keep them until next season if you have signed up for next season, or re-cycle them. We cannot return to each home delivery address to retrieve boxes after the delivery season is over.

If you pick up your share at a community pickup site and you have our vegetable boxes at home, please flatten them and return them to your pickup site for our driver to return to the farm.

Thank You from Our Crew to Our Shareholders

I want to elaborate a bit on the spirit of thankfulness in last week’s Farm News, Thank You to All.

Your support of Angelic Organics has made life easier for our H-2A workers from Mexico. I asked one of our workers how much money he had saved out of his earnings here. 

“Pretty much all of it,” he said, “My wife works, so she took care of the bills while I was gone.”

“What are you going to do with it?” I asked. (Yes, I am often direct with people, especially when they are friends, like this person is.)

“Build a house.”

“What’s that going to cost?”

“About $10,000 U.S. My father-in-law will provide the land.”

“What kind of a house?”

“Small—2 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, bathroom.”

“Fabulous,” I said.

Shareholders, you have helped to get this farm worker and his family into their own house. Blessings on you. 

Thank You to Our Many Pack Volunteers

For each of the two weeks of the extended season, we are actually packing a few more boxes than we packed in one week during the regular season. That’s fine with us, as it’s getting the season finished earlier and mostly before our H-2A workers return home to Mexico.

Even as the days have turned colder, we still have many volunteers showing up to help pack boxes. It’s very uplifting to have their conscientious help throughout the season. Many of them have been volunteering for years here to help with the pack.

our faithful pack volunteers brave the cold

Heading up the pack volunteer program is the heroic and affable Don Glasenapp, who cheerfully and enthusiastically rallies and coordinates the volunteers, besides often making us laugh with his amusing insights and observations. 

our affable pack volunteer coordinator Don Glasenapp

Farm employee Amanda audits box contents

Farm employee Nathan supplies the pack line

Thanks to the Crew

We had a stellar crew of H-2A workers from Mexico this season, bolstered by Eduardo (also known as Pollo—here for 22 years), Victor (here for 12 years) and Bartolo (here for 7 years.) 

the crew enjoys Thanksgiving cherry and apple pie in the barn kitchen provided by my sister, Carol Krupke

My sister, Carol Krupke, provided a traditional Thanksgiving meal for the crew. This was a first for most of them.

In addition, I sponsored a Mexican end-of-season feast for them last week, prepared by exemplary 2nd year H-2A workers Concepcion and Maythe. They served flautas with salsas, tortillas de papas (potatoes), spaghetti with sour cream and cheese, horchata (rice drink), and Mexican hot chocolate. Cheesecake was prepared by convivial, bilingual Ilse. 

After the superb and hearty meal, I showed the crew several videos of them working in the fields throughout the season.

Then I screened the feature documentary The Real Dirt on Farmer John, which most of them had not seen. It is subtitled in Spanish.

Film Discussion

After the film screening, we had a discussion. The discussion went in several directions, but what stands out in my memory is the question, “why did you make it?” (I’ll add here that I didn’t personally make the film; it was a collaborative effort.)

 I replied, “To encourage people to keep going.”

“Here was a farm, dead, ruined, destroyed. 

Hardly ever does a lost farm come back to life today. I had a redemption story to share, a resurrection story. Why did the farm come back to life? Because I kept going. You never know what’s around the corner–what’s next—and you will never find out, unless you keep going.”

I continued, “I think the best example of what I am talking about is the immigrant housekeeper from Bangladesh who cleaned my hotel room in Sweden. I gave her tickets to the film for her and her two daughters. (The film was screening at a film festival in Stockholm.) The next day, she came to clean my room again. She said, ‘I think you have no idea of how hard my life is, how hard it has been to go on in life. The film gave me hope that maybe life can get better. Thank you.’”

I never wanted to make a film about my life, never really wanted to be in a movie, to see myself on the big screen. I knew it would be a crazy amount of work to be in the film, with the filming going on and distracting me for years while I was running the farm, but I figured it was a story worth telling in this age of despair.

Tears

Watching the film again and having a discussion afterwards prompted me to reflect to myself more broadly on the film.  

A person approached me shortly after the film came out—that was in the winter of 2005—and said, “I was one of the twelve jurors on the Sundance selection committee for documentaries, and I fought so hard for your film. It was supposed to be in Sundance. I failed. I’m not supposed to tell you this: your film lost by one vote.” She threw herself into my arms and cried. I cried along with her.

Through our tears, I said, “now I will have to work so much harder to get it out to the world.”

“I know,” she wailed.

The film was nevertheless seen by millions of people in many countries throughout the world and garnered 31 festival awards. Many thousands of people saw the film at the several hundred screenings that I personally presented. Many laughed. Many wept, some from sadness, some from joy, some from both. The audience members sometimes swaddled me in long, long hugs after the screenings. Some shuddered and even convulsed in my arms. 

For example, after one screening, four tall handsome men maybe in their early forties approached and stood in front of me. One of them was sobbing, shaking. His friends looked at him, then at me, then at him. We were all just standing there with the one guy being in a breakdown. One of them finally said, “we’ve never seen him cry before. We’ve known him over twenty years and he has never cried.” 

The crying man finally said, in an almost incoherent way, “I grew up in the Midwest. I hated it. It hated me, because I am gay. I could not wait to leave. Ever since, I have lived in San Francisco hating the Midwest. Until tonight. Tonight I saw the beauty of the Midwest, of the rural people, of the land. I saw the warmth, the hospitality, the heroism, and the love.” On the word love, he wailed and shook harder. It was catharsis. I am not sensationalizing. The film did something deep and real for many people. 

Did I like touring with the film non-stop for five years, a film rated B-grade because it did not get into Sundance, and therefore was likely not fated to get into the other five major film festivals—Cannes, Toronto, Los Angeles, South by Southwest, and Tribeca? I didn’t love it, because the film didn’t have the wind at its back that the Sundance acceptance would have provided it. But, I was privileged to be able to share my story of redemption with millions of people anyway, and to inspire many of them with hope and determination. For this I am most thankful. (A bonus of traveling with the film for five rather grueling years—I met my fabulous. most lovely wife-to-be Haidy in Sweden at the last screening of the tour. Remember from above: You never know what’s around the corner.)

When I later reflected to myself on the question of why we made the film, I reminded myself of a couple of other reasons why I am thankful it was made: 

1) I had been massively disparaged in my home community for many years, a sort of vindictive, self-perpetuating firestorm of hysteria that swept through this area (and beyond), instigated by a delusional neighbor. I wanted to tell my version of the story, the true version. A community should not create a lie and live by it; the lie will weaken the community.

2) I wanted people to see a farm as a living organism, a being, where nature and humanity converge to create food and fellowship and more life. I was weary of people referring to the drive between cities as being the middle of nowhere. Farms, I promise you, are in the middle of somewhere.

Your farm, Angelic Organics, is in the Middle of Somewhere. Thank you for helping it to be.

Warmly,
Farmer John

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Farmer John Writes: Thank You to All

Extended Season Week 1, November 21st – 26th, 2022


Welcome to the Extended Season

This week is the first week of our two-week extended season. Normally, our extended season is four weeks long, but this year we have condensed our extended season from four weeks into two weeks. This means that shareholders with a full extended season share will receive two vegetable boxes this week and two vegetable boxes next week, and shareholders with a half extended season share will receive one vegetable box this week and one next week.

If you are unsure of your delivery schedule for the rest of the season, please check your delivery calendar by logging in to your membership account.

the crew mulches our 2023 garlic crop in wintry weather

Next Week is The Last Week of 2022 Deliveries

Next week, the final delivery week of the season, we will likely be offering large amounts of acorn squash and potatoes, moderate amounts of butternut squash, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, garlic, onions and popcorn, and small amounts of a few other items. We usually have moderate to large amounts of 11 or 12 crops from which you can customize your share, but this time you will have moderate to large amounts of 9 crops to choose from. There will be plenty to go around and to provide the full value for your box or boxes, just not the variety you are used to choosing from. The last week of the season is usually a bit uneven from a variety standpoint.

If You Have a Full Extended Season Share

If you are signed up for a full extended season share, you will receive two vegetable boxes this week and two next week. When you receive your customization email for next week, be sure to customize both of your boxes by clicking on the orange boxes on the share customization page.

if you have a full extended season share, be sure to customize both of your vegetable boxes by clicking on the orange boxes on the share customization page

Make Sure that You Take the Right Number of Boxes this Week

If you have a full extended season share, you will receive two vegetable boxes this week. Make sure, if you pick up your share at a community pickup site and you have a full extended season share, that you pick up both boxes. They are labelled Box One and Box Two with your name on both. Please don’t overlook picking up both boxes. 

Your Empty Vegetable Boxes

If you receive home delivery, please remember to leave your flattened, empty boxes where our driver can retrieve them. Regarding the last box or boxes of the season that he will deliver to you next week, keep them until next season if you have signed up for next season, or recycle them. We cannot return to each home delivery address to retrieve boxes after the delivery season is over.

If you pick up your share at a community pickup site and you have our vegetable boxes at home, please flatten them and return them to your pickup site for our driver to return to the farm.

This Reminds Me

I promise that there will be a few extended season shareholders who won’t know that we have condensed all four weeks of the extended season into two weeks. It’s a lot of work to handhold confused shareholders after we go to the effort to communicate clearly via email which does not get read. (Am I complaining? Yes. Does this apply to you? Probably not, because at this very moment you are reading what we write.)

Some shareholders don’t read the hard copy or the electronic version of Farm News. Some also don’t read their share customization emails.

From the Shareholder Agreement: “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.”

Brussels Sprouts

We rescued some of the Brussels sprouts from their slow development this season. We harvested the larger ones, which really are not large; they are just large by comparison with the others. The crew spent many, many hours cleaning the dark leaves and wrappers off of some of the harvested sprouts. I finally decided they would never get the job done, even if they stayed with it for days. So, I am asking you, the shareholder, to clean the dark leaves and wrappers off of your sprouts. You can feel like you have suddenly joined our harvest team for a while. The Brussels sprouts have endured several frosts, so they should be quite sweet from our field, a treat you probably won’t experience with Brussels sprouts from afar.

In Case You Wonder about Your Acorn Squash

If you receive acorn squash this week and wonder about the discolored, sometimes soft spot on the shell—that’s where the squash was touching the ground as it matured in the field. We have cut open a few of these squash to evaluate the quality of the flesh, and they have all passed the quality test; they have all been fine inside.

Potatoes

We had a good crop of potatoes this year. We usually make three-pound bags of potatoes for your shares, but this season we often made four-pound bags for you.

potato person

Kale

We might run out of kale for this week’s pack—might. If you ordered kale, and it is not in your box, we’ll put in an extra lettuce, or something else of which we have extra.

The Challenge of Projecting Crop Availability for Your Share Customization

For this week, we now have 5 bins of kale left with reportedly 200 kale tops in a bin, but we offered 1100 tops of kale for this week before we knew how many would be left over from the previous week’s pack. (All the kale is now in storage to protect it from the current hard frosts.) Maybe the person packing the kale last week came upon a few kale tops that were simply too small to count as one each, so she doubled up the kale and put two small tops into the box to correspond to one regular top. So, maybe there were 1100 kale tops, more or less, available when we did the projection, and then maybe the volunteer justifiably paired some of the tops last week, and therefore we should have offered less kale; we just did our best estimate. Getting exact with some of the crop projections would be way too complicated and way too time-consuming. Sometimes we are over; sometimes we are under.

Also, are there really 200 tops in a bin? The crew counts them as they are going into the bin, but there has to be a little leeway for counting error.

A shareholder confronted us with a refund request in part because she didn’t like that we on occasion do substitutions. We’re not making car parts or breakfast cereal here; we are a farm where estimates and facts don’t always line up.

Protecting the Garlic

The last outdoor activity for our crew was mulching next year’s garlic (which we planted this fall) with straw on a very cold, wintry morning. The mulch protects the garlic against hard freezes in the winter. We have never had a garlic crop failure, and I suspect that a big part of the reason why is that we have always mulched the garlic. Between the straw and the labor, it probably costs a couple of thousand dollars to do the job, but garlic is one of our most treasured crops, and we treat it accordingly.

We Are Thankful

In the spirit of Thanksgiving Week, we have much to be thankful for at Angelic Organics. The season has been most bountiful. The farming equipment has for the most part been cooperative, and when it hasn’t been cooperative, the expenses to get it to cooperate have been less than usual. The crew has been fabulous and fun. The crew has been so hard-working and efficient that we have been able to achieve a bit of building restoration during the last weeks of field work—painting, window replacements, siding repair, staircase rebuilding, and more. Our pack volunteers have been plentiful, conscientious and of good cheer. And we are mindful that we have soil, weather, seeds, and a beautiful farmstead for which we are most thankful. And of course, we are thankful for our wonderful shareholders.

Many of Our Shareholders are also Thankful

We have received many notes of praise and appreciation from shareholders, such as:

“Hello Angelic Organics,

I LOVE the vegetables and your farm!

If I am around next year I will order, and am willing to pay full price.

Thank you so much for the great vegetables!!

:)”

“Just dropping a note to say thank you for the wonderful broccoli in our

last delivery, and thank you for several years of fresh-from-the-earth
vegetables!”

“Thank you for all you do.  Through the years I have learned much about
farming, the hardships, unpredictability, and the hard work that I admit
I took for granted before joining Angelic Organics CSA, and I have
learned to love a few veggies that I had never tasted or just thought I
didn’t like!”

“Thank you for all you have taught me, and for all you endure in your
never-ending work to provide fresh amazing foods!”

If the farm could speak, I am sure it would also share its thankfulness this week.

Warmly,
Farmer John

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Farmer John Writes: Life Wants to Happen

Harvest Week 20, November 14th – 19th, 2022

Here we are, the last week of the main season. Year after year, the season is always a new adventure at Angelic Organics, and I hope it is also a culinary adventure for you.

Important: if you do not have an extended season share, then this is your last delivery of the 2022 season. If you are unsure about your delivery schedule for the rest of the season, please check your delivery calendar in your membership account.

Crop Report

Popcorn

For those of you who are receiving popcorn this week, shell it and pop it like you would regular shelled popcorn from the store. It’s not easy to get the kernels off by hand, but it is a fun challenge, and it can be done. But first, do a popping test to see if the kernels are dry enough to pop. If not, let the ear or kernels dry for a couple of weeks and try again. If you use a microwave, place an ear in your microwave on high for two or three minutes. It’s fun to watch it pop, but it can be a bit messy. For less fun and more tidiness, place the ear in a brown paper bag in the microwave and pop it. Here is one of many videos on the internet that demonstrates the tidy method of microwave popping in a bag.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts have been very slow this season. We might have some for the extended season deliveries, but they have been doing even more poorly than the broccoli.

Last of the Lettuce

We made the last of our lettuce available for this last week of the main season—not enough to go around, but nice heads for some of the lucky shareholders.

Chinese Cabbage

Maythe and Concepcion harvest and band Chinese cabbage before the really hard frost; Antonio and Victor in background

Free Broccoli

Some of the fall broccoli did not form heads, in spite of the late fall. However, there was enough to give everyone this week a beautiful free head of broccoli. It’s our way of celebrating the bounty. Whatever the size of your broccoli head, it was probably half that size three days before we harvested it. It grew exponentially in those last few days of warmth we experienced. This may seem implausible, but it is so.

And More

You can see from your share contents that we have been quite blessed with abundance and quality.

Trees

We did some overdue cutting of dead trees last week. With our boom lift, it’s now much easier, safer and faster to bring trees down. The main trees we felled were two ash trees that had been dead for years in the yard of the converted one-room limestone schoolhouse where Haidy and I live. These were the two trees that we turned into pumpkin trees this fall.

the pumpkin tree

Like millions of other ash trees in recent years, our ash trees succumbed to an invasion of the emerald ash borer. I suspect that otherwise they would still be thriving. The one closest to the schoolhouse was thoroughly spongy from the borer damage. I am surprised that it stayed upright as long as it did. As we were deciding how to fell it, we noticed that it was swaying in any slight breeze. We could actually jiggle the enormous tree a bit just by pushing on it. After tying a strap to it up high, Pollo and I tried to down the tree by just pulling on the strap. We were unable, but I think that if we had added a couple of other husky workers to the pull, we would have toppled it by hand. We did not cut it at the base ahead of toppling it. Our John Deere pulled it over with almost no resistance at all.

the pumpkin tree is gone

The school was built in the 1840’s. I suppose these ash trees were planted sometime in the 1800’s.

Angelic Organics farm is situated across the road from the schoolhouse. My dad attended the school in the early 1900’s. He occasionally mentioned how much he liked those ash trees. A woman who grew up next door also attended grade school there—that was in the 1930’s, when my my mother taught there. She showed up a few years ago with her daughter for a picnic under one of those ash trees—the one further from the schoolhouse (referred to as the other pumpkin tree below). She just laid out her blanket and had the picnic, didn’t ask anyone if that was okay, didn’t introduce herself. I guess she felt like the tree belonged to everybody who had attended school there; it was part of the commons.

the other pumpkin tree

elevated by our boom lift, Pollo saws pieces of log off of the other pumpkin tree

the other pumpkin tree is gone

There was once a third ash tree in our yard. I wrote about this drama in Farm News several years back: a storm was approaching, the wind was picking up and the windows were open in my truck in the driveway. Kimberly, my farming partner at the time, was about to head out and close the truck windows when she became fearful of the wind blowing a tree over on top of her. I scoffed and said it would be almost impossible to get a tree to fall on oneself, even if that was what one wanted. She paused a few seconds to take that in, then mustered her courage and ran out the door to close the truck windows. Fortunately, she had paused to hear me proclaim that it is almost impossible to get a tree to fall on oneself, because with that amount of delay the third ash tree snapped off in front of her, not on top of her. She would probably have been crushed without that delay.

Notice that a cedar tree is growing out of the stump of the other pumpkin tree. Life wants to happen.

ash tree begets a cedar tree

the replanted cedar tree

Update on the Shop Color

In last week’s Farm News, Its Own Spiritual Force, I wrote about choosing a paint color for our machine shop. After enduring several years of glaring white on the overhead shop door, we painted it last week. I think the expanse of red and the detail of marigold do a good job of subduing the pulsating Mixed Veggies color.

striving for balance

Our Charismatic Driver Zdenek

Many of you have had the fortune of encountering Zdenek. He is the source of much entertainment when I encounter him in the mornings before he leaves to make deliveries, bubbling with jokes, wisecracks and laughter. I am sure he has entertained some of you, also. He probably won’t be driving much for the extended season; Nathan will be doing many of the remaining site deliveries.

Zdenek is dressed for a warm November day

Overheard

Retired dairy farmer:

“Knees gave out in ’98. Sold the cows and four days later the barn blew down.”

Thanks

Thank you for being with us this season. Extended season is coming next, for those of you who signed up for it.

Warmly,
Farmer John

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Farmer John Writes: Its Own Spiritual Force

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.

Spinach

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

Warmly,
Farmer John

 
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Farmer John Writes: Freezing in the Heat of Summer

Harvest Week 18, October 31st – November 5th, 2022


If You Customized Your Share with Spinach this Week

Because it’s time consuming for our crew to remove all the weeds from your spinach, you might get extra weeds in your spinach this week. Also, you may receive a few frost-damaged leaves. Please join our farm team in extracting weeds and damaged leaves from your spinach. (Having gone through a couple of frosts, the spinach should be extra delicious this week.)

our tractors want to work

Shoveled Out a Horse

My mom talked about a winter in the 30’s, when she lived one township west of here. The township had no snow removal equipment. Neighbors were expected to shovel the snow off the road. It seemed all it did was snow that winter, with neighbors shoveling and shoveling. My mom was riding her horse Daisy home from school one afternoon and got her horse stuck in the snow. A neighbor shoveled her and her horse to freedom.

A fellow was at Angelic Organics this fall. He hadn’t been here since 1976. 

“I lost my car here,” he said.

“Oh, that was you?” I asked. 

“I went home from the barn party with some friends. I came back a few days later to get my car. We couldn’t find it.”

“It was over there buried under the snow.” I gestured to the north part of the farmyard. “All winter, we couldn’t even see the outline of it, but we knew it was there. It didn’t emerge until spring.”

Winter of 1976—relentless snow and cold. My neighbor Wayne Bliss came with his huge bulldozer (Cat D-9 maybe?) again and again to plow us out.

the neighbor’s bulldozer looked a bit like this

The snow got deeper and deeper. It engulfed the fences. The snow was the kind that sets up almost like concrete. You could walk right on top of it. The Black Angus cattle just walked over where the fence used to keep them in, up the hill to the South. Eventually they were just black specks against the snow. Then they disappeared over the horizon. 

Sometimes, I lay in the snow in the hog lot, trying to unfreeze the hog waterers with a Bunsen burner—couldn’t. The hogs would have to eat snow, I decided. What more could I do?

The cold went into my bones, stayed there for at least ten years. No matter how hot the summers got, my bones were cold inside—a weather trauma, I suppose you could call it. I was freezing all summer long, year after year, dreaming of big snow removal equipment. I have some now; it will handle snow chest high. We hardly ever get snow chest high, but if we get it, we’ll be able to clear it out.

Some of you probably remember that winter.

I’m bringing it up, because I just read a prediction based on some complicated La Niña data that we are in store for such a winter coming up. I felt my bones going cold reading it. I generally don’t take the upcoming season’s weather predictions to heart. I’m not predicting such a winter again, but we will be prepared.

Weather Rules

This week looks like it will be warm and dry. We are usually too busy in the fields when the weather is nice to do outdoor maintenance. This fall, we have found time to do a lot of detail work on our outbuildings: inspecting, replacing and caulking trim; replacing damaged windows; re-aligning eaves troughs; strengthening staircases and railings; adjusting hinges and latches; and painting. Many of my crew members are highly competent and fast at doing these upgrades.

Ruben power washes the machine shop to prepare it for painting

Seems Fine at First

I’ll add that, when I look closely at the hundreds of walls and windows and doors here, I understand why farmsteads are allowed to go into decay. Building upkeep is an enormous expense; it typically runs over $100,000 per year. It’s interesting to note how mistakes made in construction years ago gradually reveal their flaws. Neglecting to caulk a window frame, joining boards improperly, not diverting ground water away from a building, using undersized fasteners—you can get away with these things for a while, like you can get away with the beginning of bad habits, but eventually they will taunt you and reduce you.

Your Farmer is an Anthroposophist

This past weekend, I read about the following encounter. As a lifelong farmer on the same farm, I am deeply familiar with the Farmer Zeltner stream below. As an anthroposophist for over 30 years, I am uplifted by the Rudolf Steiner stream. (Rudolf Steiner is the founder of biodynamic farming which we practice at Angelic Organics.)

“When the anthroposophists laid the foundation stone for the Goetheanum in Dornach, a village near Basel, Switzerland, on 20 September 1913, many anthroposophical Society members naturally began settling near the site. Many were well-off and did not have to work for a living. They had time to listen to Rudolf Steiner’s lectures, money to follow him on his lecture tours, and enthusiasm to do some artistic work now and then. When they got too tired, they went for nature walks in the Dornach area. To the ordinary people in Dornach, a farming village, those anthroposophists were just odd, a bunch of rich idlers. They had little faith in the whole “temple” thing and allowed themselves to be influenced by the local clergy. Perhaps not all farmers are naturally suspicious of city people, but that was certainly the case with the father of Mrs von Arx, a midwife from Dornach. She recalled the following event from her childhood, around 1914. Her father, farmer Zeltner and a barrel-maker in Oberdornach did not like those anthroposophical idlers much and regularly treated them rudely. One day he was mowing his meadow along Melcher Road. A stroller approached him slowly and spoke as he passed by the mowing farmer:

“Tricky work you are doing there.”

Zeltner, already bathed in sweat, replied rather harshly:

“What do my lords understand about that when they have nothing to do but walk around?”

The other man replied, “I used to do that too.”

“Yes, I can see that,” Zeltner mumbled. But the gentleman spoke calmly:

“When I was little, I often mowed down a steep railway embankment for our goats.”

He stepped up to Zeltner, took the scythe out of his hands and began mowing precisely according to the rules. Farmer Zeltner paused: “Well, damn, he can do it too!”

Thereupon they started talking about the grass, about which herbs were the best for good milk. The strange gentleman turned out to be as good a connoisseur of all grasses as farmer Zeltner. He inquired whether there was milk in surplus and whether it was sold. When this was confirmed, he had milk collected from the Zeltner family every day from then on.

That gentleman was Rudolf Steiner.”

Source (German): Erinnerungen an Rudolf Steiner by Hans Kühn (page 506); Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

drawing of farmer Zeltner by Jopie Huisman

Warmly,
Farmer John

2

Farmer John Writes: How Does Anything Happen?

Harvest Week 17, October 24th – 29th, 2022


We’ve had a few warm days recently. Maybe the weather will get the broccoli to form heads. Maybe not.

We are fortunate to be blessed by an abundance of many other crops, so scarcity is unlikely. This late in the season, it looks like we will still offer a bounty of head lettuce (which is not covered for frost protection) and spinach, amongst many other crops.

Bartolo washes beets

Our U-Pick Garden is Closed

With the recent frosts, our U-Pick garden is now closed. I hope you were able to enjoy some of its bounty this season.

A Festival of Pumpkins

Haidy and I have two deeply dead ash trees in the yard of our home. We plan to fell them soon, but before that, these two trees requested to host a festival of pumpkins. How did they make this known? And how do I register such impulses? It’s a mystery, how things come about, what guides them, what prompts them into being.

the ash trees’ final request—a pumpkin festival

orange

How Does Anything Happen?

Recently, I have been pondering how things actually come about. I know that things come about through a confluence of will, need, inspiration, circumstances, discipline, resources, etc., but is there even more than that which manifests certain things into being?

I planned to install pumpkins in our dead ash trees with the same amount of determination that I bring to many other projects. Many of these other projects don’t happen; however, this one happened. Before it happened, I thought it has to happen. It must happen. It won’t happen. I have too many other things to do; it’s not that important to install pumpkins in trees. 

But then, last Friday morning, we took the boom lift from the farm up to our home, along with a trailer full of pumpkins, and the installation happened. Fine. Nice. However, the accomplishment led me to a review of many of the things I plan to do and don’t do, and also many of the things I plan to do and actually do. I don’t really have any answers for why certain things happen and others don’t.

Of course, I do a lot of farming things because if they don’t get done, you don’t get food in your boxes, but many other things are optional—they can get done or not get done. And I do a lot of these optional things (many people remark that I do a huge amount of these optional things) but as far as I am concerned, I only do a smattering of these optional things. And the ones that get done, why them and not others?

I reflected on unfinished projects, projects I fully intended to finish years ago. I thought about projects that seemed essential to complete years ago that I have basically forgotten about. I thought of projects I never planned to do, and I suddenly did them, some of which were huge projects, some of which I later realized were essential, some of which I later realized would have been fine left undone.

What gets done? Why? I don’t know. I just think it’s interesting to notice what happens and what doesn’t.

Where Are My Glasses?

Before I go to sleep at night, I put my glasses on a shelf on the side of the bed where Haidy sleeps. At 5 in the morning, I went to retrieve my glasses from the shelf, but they were not there. Hmm, I must have placed them somewhere else, but where? (It was going to be hard to find them without my glasses.) I looked and looked, because I really cannot do much without my glasses; the world is a blur. My wife was sleeping deeply and would not have been keen on my waking her up to help look for my glasses, so I left her alone.

After much searching, I decided our cat Elmer had run off with them. Actually, by the time an hour of more and more desperate searching had passed, I started to think that Elmer’s eyesight was fading and that he needed glasses. (I don’t pretend to be rational in the early morning.) I kept imagining Elmer wearing my glasses, and I sought him out just to make sure this was not the case. However, I kept thinking he had something to do with my missing glasses. Perhaps he had decided they were a mouse, and run off with them.

Elmer’s eyes seem fine

After an hour-and-a half of searching, I was about to call one of my employees to help me look for the glasses.

I decided to take one final look for them in the bedroom. I noticed that my wife had rolled over. Where she had been sleeping lay my glasses. Elmer had slung them off the shelf; they had fallen on the bed, and then my wife had rolled over on top of them. Just before I gave up on my search, my wife rolled again, exposing the glasses. It had never occurred to me to look under my wife for my glasses, as in “oh, yeah, my glasses must be under my wife.” I suppose the lesson here is that one never knows where something is hiding, and that whatever you are looking for, it might be underneath your partner.

From Our Lakeview Site Host

“It was great to meet you and see the farm, greatly overdue, during Field Day!  What glorious weather we had that day.  I thank the hands we see, in the videos you posted, for the hard work of getting dirty, making the vegetables that grace all our tables. I thank the minds that conceived and planned it, the hands that planted, tended, and harvested those fields, and the folks that packed it up so nicely for us.”
~ Keith Fort

Warmly,
Farmer John

 

4

Farmer John Writes: Fall Crop Update

Harvest Week 16, October 17th – 22nd, 2022


When Approximate Meets Exact

I promised turnips for this upcoming week, but there are none; I miscalculated. Part of the challenge is that I do crop projections on the Tuesday prior to the upcoming week’s deliveries, and we still have a Thursday pack to harvest for before the deliveries of the upcoming week. We have to subtract that Thursday pack number from what is in the field, and then add in anything that might be in the coolers. It often works out fine enough, but not always, as is the case with the turnips this week. I am not sure what we will substitute with, possibly kohlrabi, which is probably ready to harvest.

More About Weather

After weeks of no rain, we got nice rains last week. That long stretch of no rain was very unusual for fall. My crew had dismantled our irrigation system many weeks prior, because rain for sure would be coming soon…not. 

I was especially motivated to have them take down the irrigation system, because grass had grown up around the aluminum pipe that supplies the water, and I was sure that someone would run over the pipe, if we didn’t pick it up, because you could hardly see it in the tall grass. Right away, I ran right over the pipe. I could only laugh at how right I had been. 

By the time the rain finally arrived, we were in a near-drought situation. Huh?

About that Rain

The rain made some crops jump, like the spinach. Well, the spinach did more of a leap than a regular jump. And the Brussels sprouts began to fill out nicely. To elaborate more on the Brussels sprouts, we expect a hard frost this week, which will sweeten them considerably—the cabbage, too, and the spinach, too, also the kale. These crops love a hard frost, unless it is too hard, in which case, they will die. This kind of farming is a bit of a tightrope. Good the hard frost is coming, unless it’s too hard. One of the distinctions of our crops vs those grown in frost free areas like the far West, is this sweetening due to (the right amount of) frost.

Winter Squash

Winter squash will barely survive a light frost, so we have now harvested it all. That was a lot of squash, wagon load after wagon load—the most squash by far that we have ever harvested ahead of a frost. It was a total harvest spectacle. I suggest an Olympic category for squash harvesting.

This is the best crew we have ever had–fun, hard-working, willing. And they show up for work on time, and, more often, early.

Concepcion and Maythe catch butternut squash

rain didn’t stop the squash harvest (photographed from the dry tractor cab)

I rewarded the crew with apple cider and warm apple cider doughnuts, and the next day with hot pizza.

Broccoli

We have two beautiful fields of broccoli that might not make a single head—the broccoli went in too late, as we were hampered by the cold early spring, and then later, we were besieged by delivery truck problems that got squarely in the way of seeding the broccoli in a timely way in the greenhouse. (These delivery problems were enormously distracting and pre-occupying. We are only resilient to a certain degree here.) In my imagination, which can tend towards paranoid, I could actually see this broccoli struggling into fall, fallen behind. Notice I did not refer to my imagination powers as clairvoyant; maybe they fit more into the realm of farmer wisdom seasoned by decades of living by the land.

We have never had a fall broccoli crop failure, and we might still get broccoli—might, even though we are running out of the right temperatures to mature it.  It seems like there will be enough crops to fill your boxes, though, even without broccoli.

More

We have a nice popcorn crop, awaiting a hard frost so the kernels will dry down more. Beautiful bok choy, beets, dill, more onions, more garlic, crazy amounts more of carrots and potatoes…

From a Site Host Recently

“Hi.  We have a few people that consistently think that they can pick up their boxes whenever they want outside of the [pickup] window.  They pick up on Friday, times vary between 6 am and 6 pm.  They do not text beforehand.  We had one person text late this morning stating that he didn’t get around to picking up his box yesterday and went to pick it up today, but it wasn’t there.

Can you please send out an email that people are to pick up their boxes during the [pickup] window unless prior arrangements have been made?  I am really getting tired of people thinking we are the grocery store that is always open, and they can get their vegetables whenever they want.

Thank you.
~ Site Host”

Friends, our site hosts are most generous to offer up their sites for hosting community deliveries. Please treat them with the utmost appreciation, courtesy and respect. (I know that many of you do this already.)

From our Shareholder Agreement:

Pickup Policies
If I am signing up to pick up my share at a community pickup site, I understand that I am responsible for picking up my share on my delivery day during my site’s pickup hours, which can be found in my pickup instructions link. I understand that the farm does not replace shares that I neglect to pick up. I understand that I have the ability to reschedule my own deliveries in my membership account, and that I need to reschedule my deliveries with plenty of advance notice.

If I won’t be able to pick up my share on my pickup day during my site’s pickup hours, I will contact my site host by finding their contact information in my pickup instructions before my site’s pickup hours are over to find out if a later pickup is possible. If I have not made prior arrangements with my site host before the pickup hours have ended, I understand that there is no guarantee that my share will be available for pickup after the pickup hours, and that my site host can donate my box.”

Thank you for following our pickup guidelines so that everyone has a better community experience.

Warmly,
Farmer John

2

Farmer John Writes: To Rain or Not to Rain?

Harvest Week 15, October 10th – 15th, 2022


Fall Farming

I was pressed into service last Saturday morning. Our crew was stretched thin this past week, with frost forecasts plus occasional threats of rain. We had to get the remaining tomatoes, peppers and eggplants out of harm’s frosty way. We had to harvest root crops in case the rain really did descend upon us, turning dry soil into mud, which then probably would not dry sufficiently to properly harvest the crops. These large tasks dominated the week, in addition to all the other necessary harvest activities to keep filling your boxes with ample variety throughout the week.

You Call that Driving the Tractor?

It dawned on me that morning, when I was trying to figure out who could drive the tractor for planting next year’s garlic crop, that I could maybe write this issue of Farm News while operating the tractor.

 

The tractor is self-guiding down the field, and then needs the operator’s input on the turns at the ends of the field. I would have about 35 minutes per bed of just sitting in the tractor seat, with nothing to do but write this newsletter, plus occasionally adjusting the tractor speed and less frequently, the planter hitch.

 

me writing Farm News

So, here I am, multi-tasking, mindful that the tractor is driving me for the most part. I am mostly just a passenger.

The Art of Not Knowing

Back to weather—I often write about this great mystery that confounds, perplexes, obstructs, blesses, destroys. We had a lot of carrots and potatoes in the ground this fall, nuzzled and snug in their earthen home, better than uprooting them and storing them in coolers. Of course, if it rains much, the outcome is completely different. They might rot in the cold damp soil, even to the point of dissolving, and our machines will have a terrible, perhaps impossible time, extracting them from the mud. (See Farm News, Week 19, 2019).

To rain or not to rain? That is quite the farming question. If it doesn’t rain, the carrots and potatoes are better off in the ground. If it does rain, especially if it rains a lot and for many days, we should have harvested the carrots. I have fought a lot of mud on this farm, and my strategy is preemptive: get the root crops out before the rain, even if it doesn’t rain.

Of course, there are armchair farmers who will say, only harvest the potatoes and carrots if it is really going to rain, and who this fall so far will say that we should have left the carrots and potatoes in the ground because it didn’t rain. There really are people who think and talk like that.

Harvesting Carrots Before the Rain that Didn’t Come

Harvesting Potatoes Before the Rain that Didn’t Come

The weather deserves at times to be regarded like the practicing alcoholic–capricious, unpredictable, and monstrous.

Or perhaps weather is more like the narcissist, doing everything its own way, indifferent to humanity, demanding the limelight. It figures out how to be constantly in the news and constantly discussed in temperature-controlled environments, where the biggest weather impact might be getting from the office to the car in the outdoor parking lot.

Weather is more of a celebrity than Kim Kardashian or Lady Gaga.

Weather, like cryptocurrencies, is linear, until it’s not. Sun begets sun. Rain begets rain. Rising cryptocurrency values beget rising cryptocurrency values. And then comes what is known as a reversal. Clouds cover the sky. The rain stops. Crypto crashes.

I like weather. It grows the crops.

Tomatoes: from Windfall to Shortfall

For those of you who customized your box with tomatoes this week—sorry, we ended up short of tomatoes. We will substitute, probably with sweet peppers.

Overheard by a Concerned Citizen

“Eight chicken legs with thighs for $4.99! This is a crime. Think of those poor chickens, the producers of the chickens, the people who butchered the chickens. Think of everything that goes into those eight pieces of chicken for only $4.99. Think of those people who do so much work for so little. Think of their lives.”

Warmly,
Farmer John

 

0

Farmer John Writes: Field Day Delight

Harvest Week 14, October 3rd – 8th, 2022


Our Field Day this past Saturday was a glorious event. Many shareholders visited the farm for the first time and glowed with enthusiasm upon taking part in the day’s activities. As noted in the invitation, shareholders enjoyed pumpkin and gourd picking, creating bouquets from the U-Pick garden, a morning concert of Balkan folk music in the barn loft theater by Jutta and the Hi-Dukes, plus an afternoon of invigorating folk dancing in the barn loft gallery, and a fabulous array of delicious foods for the potluck. We also gave out surplus tomatoes and the last of the sweet corn. And a nearby potato field was a source of delight for children and adults who uncovered buried potato treasures.

potato treasures

En route to and from the pumpkin patch, many kids enjoyed rides in the cab of the Deere tractor.

3 sisters enjoy riding in the big tractor

Field Day Reality Check

In addition, shareholders were presented with a farm reality check, when a tire on one of the hay wagons went flat in the pumpkin patch, this in spite of carefully checking and adjusting tire pressure on the wagons before the event. The farm crew responded rapidly with a fresh wagon replacement complete with properly inflated tires. It seemed like a pit stop from a high-end auto racing event. The whole episode did not even throw off our day’s schedule. Still, shareholders experienced first-hand that things can go wrong on their farm, in spite of the best laid plans. 

hay wagon tire

the crew rescues the ride in a jiffy with a replacement wagon

The point of the Field Day is to share the farm with our shareholders, to connect them more closely to the source of their food, to one another, and to those who grow their food. For those who attended, this mission was grandly achieved.

Morning concert:

Afternoon folk dance;  farm employees Amanda and Nathan dance up and down the corridor:

The Field Day requires a lot of preparation ahead of time and a lot of getting things back to normal. We don’t track the hours that go into it, but I suspect it requires about 200 to 300 work hours. It has quite the impact on field operations, the farm’s money ($4,000 to $6,000 for the recent event), and notably the biggest impact on my time. Normally, the upcoming issue of Farm News is ready a few days before the weekend, but this issue is being prepared today, Sunday, just a few hours before it has to be ready. This paragraph is more of a report than a complaint. The Field Day was a wonderful event, but it comes about in a context of major demands on my time, hence this issue of Farm News which has more photos and less text than usual.

Lunch Under the Storied Maple Tree

At the Field Day, we had lunch under an enormous maple tree.

the maple tree

I wrote about this tree in Farm News in 1994: “What Are You Going to do with that Stick?” Here is an excerpt:

[Friends and I were roofing the big barn in 1974.] We were still under the strong influence of the sixties, so we would roof for a while, and then come down and play some football or just mess around, then maybe go back up and roof again. This wasn’t the way farm people normally got work done, but it’s the way I farmed for a while.

On this particular May day, my roofing friend Stanley got out of his pickup carrying a stick about two feet long.

I said, “What are you going to do with that stick?”

Stanley said, “Stick? This is a maple tree.”

We planted it. When my mother got home from teaching school that afternoon, we were playing football. It didn’t set right with her that we were playing football instead of roofing the leaky barn. We would-be roofers were all giggling and trying to think fast on our feet and wishing we had been up pounding roofing nails when she drove in, at least for show.

“Stanley,” I whispered, “it’s her birthday today. Tell her that’s her tree.”

Stanley went running to my mother.

“Anna, I want to show you this tree I planted for your birthday.”

Stanley dragged her over to the little stick pointing out of the ground. He couldn’t get her to believe it was a tree at all, let alone her birthday present.

It’s getting to be the nicest tree in the yard now. On Sunday [back in 1994], the name of the tree popped into my head. Its name is ‘the tree that was my mother’s birthday present… pause… but not really.’

There I was on Sunday, leaning against ‘the tree that was my mother’s birthday present… pause… but not really.’

end of excerpt

So, there we were, at the Field Day this past Saturday, in the shade under a grand canopy of branches, from a tree that in 1974 was a stick, and that was (misre)presented to my mother as her birthday present to distract her from our lame roofing progress.

Odd how things come about sometimes.

Butternut Squash Already?

Our popular driver Zdenek brought over this butternut squash recently.  He said, “it’s been sitting on my counter for a year.”

one year old butternut squash from Angelic Organics

Warmly,
Farmer John

0

Farmer John Writes: See You Saturday

Harvest Week 13, September 26th – October 1st, 2022


Fall Field Day for Shareholders on Saturday, October 1st

We will be hosting our Fall Field Day for shareholders on Saturday, October 1st. We suggest that you arrive at 10 am to be able to experience all that we have planned. For details and a full schedule, go to www.angelicorganics.com/field-days-for-shareholders.

Pumpkins

Many of the pumpkins are turning orange, so the shareholders who come to the Field Day will have pumpkins and gourds to take home. (Some of the gourds might be a little under ripe.)

in keeping with the season

Flowers

Make sure to pick a bouquet from our U-Pick garden. It is sporting the brightest array of flowers ever.

Flowers in the U-Pick garden

Potatoes

Also, we’ll have some potato digging close to the farmstead, unearthing earthly treasures.

Balkan Barn Dancing & Concert with Shareholders Jutta & the Hi-Dukes

These eclectic Evanston-based troubadours of ethnic music are bringing their unique program to our Field Day on Saturday, October 1st.

The trio will do a concert set in the morning, around 11:45 am on our exciting new stage, and then more in the afternoon, capping the day off by getting everyone doing the fun traditional line and circle dances that go with their delightful, energetic music. Everyone can participate as the band will lead you through the simple steps! 

(Farmer John’s Note: We may have a logistical challenge making sure everyone gets their pumpkins and that everyone has a grand experience of the Hi Dukes. We will do our best. Come at 10 if you want to be in on the full range of events.)

The band’s amazing repertoire contains everything from medieval Danish songs to Danubian dance grooves. They paint powerful pictures in their own colorful way on mandolin, Bulgarian flute, guitar, and percussion accompanied by one to three singing voices. Wolves and rabbits, ravens and nightingales all abound in this magical tour of world music that includes Balkan, Gypsy / Roma, Klezmer, and Greek music.

The family group tours internationally and their ever-changing spectrum of sound transports souls of all ages across cultural borders. Terry Loncaric, an Illinois entertainment writer and poet, wrote, “Their artistry and sense of musical history is infused in their delicious tracks. I like [their] intelligent approach to music as well as the old world flavor of what [they] do.”

If you have not yet experienced this group, make sure to catch them here to find out why a music reviewer wrote “[Their] music is exciting and listeners will find it hard to keep from leaping up to dance” and why Earwig Music Company’s Michael Frank decided to sign them as his Blues label’s first world music act saying, “I imagine you will find Jutta & the Hi-Dukes as exciting as I do!”

Terran, Zoï & Jutta of Jutta & The Hi-Dukes

Find out more at:

www.hidukes.com/videos   

www.facebook.com/hidukes

~ Mostly written by Hi-Duke Terran Doehrer

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

Shareholder Comments

It’s nice to see Terran’s writing above, so I decided to include a sampling of other shareholders’ communications with the farm:

Shareholder Comment about “Farmer John Writes: Good and Bad

” ‘Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees, please.’

I can’t imagine asking, let alone, demanding a refund for imperfect produce?? Or because *I* failed to pickup??

This reasonable (hopefully non-entitled) shareholder says: keep growing what the earth provides and helping us enjoy it. We love what you do and we love our produce, blemishes and imperfections and all!” 

~ David

Shareholder Comment about “Farmer John Writes: Good and Bad”

“Farmer John et al, 

Totally in agreement with John Quintana and also your hard line and rewrite of the shareholder agreement….in awe that folks make these bizarre requests and probably more indicative of the antagonistic politics of the day rather than a reflection of your good & honest farming!

BTW, I’m constantly astounded at the breadth and quality of your produce, and your inimitable perseverance in the face of fickle weather, broken equipment and demanding shareholders!!!

FORGE FORWARD!” 

~ Nicole

Shareholder Comment about “Farmer John Writes: Good and Bad”

“My husband and I are enjoying our vegetables! Thank you! Every time I read your newsletter, I am amazed by how much more complex it is than what I had realized to get the vegetables shipped to us (every other week in my case)! It is truly a gift that you let us customize the boxes and I look forward to my veggie box each week! THANK YOU very much!”

~ K

Shareholder comment on post: “Farmer John Writes: Two Home Farms

“Great read!! and didn’t know this about Charles or Al!!

Loved reading this tho on my behalf.  My family are early American farmers from Indiana.  I’m in Chicago roughing it out with a career in sculpture & arts education…but aching to get a small farm & retire so I can garden & can like my Grandma taught me to revere!!

Thank you for sharing yourself with us.” 

~ Nicole

Shareholder comment on post “Farmer John Writes: Can You Hide a Mistake?

“Mistakes will be made, make no mistake.”

~ Liza

This Guy and I Should Form a Partnership

The CEO of Corn

say farewell to this season’s corn

As the Corn Season Winds Down, Feelings Rise Up

 

I hope to see you at the farm on October 1st.

Warmly,
Farmer John