Farm News


Farmer John Writes: Done, or Just Getting Started?

Holiday Season Week 4, Deliveries of November 28th – December 2nd, 2023

This is the last week of deliveries for the 2023 season. We’re not exactly done. The last pack is done and the final deliveries are being made this week, so now we are starting to get ready for 2024. There’s not much time between now and when we start in the greenhouse in early March. If we aren’t fully prepared for the next season, our yields will suffer. Nothing is more important on a farm than timeliness. To be timely, all the machines have to be inspected and made ready to go. All the buildings have to be inspected and readied for another season. Once the season starts, there is no time for machinery maintenance and building upkeep. Victor, Pollo and I will spend the winter preparing for what’s next.

the crew mulches next year’s crop of garlic with straw—in record time

To elaborate on the caption for this photo above: the crew of 8 probably did the mulching in less than half the time that it would have taken 14 workers to do it in prior years—maybe in 1/3 the time that 14 workers would have taken.

It is easy for people in our cushy culture to decide that it is exploitative of workers for management to have a high standard for their production; it is not. Our workers do not want to be held back; they want to shine, to go on to the next thing and blaze through that, and then the next thing. The way to frustrate and disempower our field crew is to coddle them, hold them back, get in their way. My standards for our workers’ productivity is so much lower than what they actually bring to the job. Pretty much every day, I go, “Huh, you are done already? Done? How am I supposed to keep up with you with field instructions?” They smile and laugh.

Joining Us Now is Like Mulching the Garlic the Year Before Harvest

If you haven’t already, sign up for 2024 now when we are still fresh in your mind. We’d much rather have you as our shareholder than someone tentative and new. Sign up for your 2024 share here. (Be sure to log in to your existing account if you are a current shareholder.)

Final Harvest of the Season

The spinach sweetened with the frosts.

a rare spinach harvest in late November

The Last Pack Day was Cold

For the last pack day, our many volunteers and crew members endured very cold temperatures. Bravo to all!

For your Review

Items we made available for customization for the last pack were:

butternut squash (supplemented with kabocha squash)
acorn squash
Brussels sprouts
onions (not available for customization—we just added one to every box)

We think these options made for a pretty good final Holiday Box.


Squash—we ran low on butternut squash. If you ordered more than one butternut, instead of another butternut, you will receive a kabocha squash.

Onions—we carefully graded our remaining onions and culled any with soft tops, discarding maybe 5 to 10% of the total amount. We put at least one onion into every box for the last pack, just because. Sometimes the onion served as Farmer’s Choice; sometimes it was just a free onion. Everyone received at least one onion.

The Final Pack of the Season

tower of Brussels sprouts, sweetened by numerous frosts

kale tops are especially sweet

kohlrabi displays its colors to packer Gabrielle

Nathan exalts in the last pack

end of the line

The H-2A Crew Departs

Concepcion is ready to take flight

The H-2A crew trickled away towards the end of last week. By Saturday, they were all on their way south, some by bus, some by plane.

Mayra, Ruben, and Antonio arrive in their home town in Mexico

What a fun, festive bunch of hard workers. It’s interesting when affection surpasses the boundaries of work, when the boss/employee hierarchy dissolves, and we are left with mutual love, respect, admiration and joy. I know—don’t date your therapist; don’t marry your doctor; don’t fall for your teacher or your preacher. 

My love for the workers is first and foremost. I tell them, “you are first my friends; after that my employees.”

My mother taught school for 35 years. She said in her last years of teaching, “I was told I can’t hug my kids. They can put me in jail if they want. Until then, I will hug my kids.”

Customer Service

The phrase “like sweeping the ocean back with a broom” comes to mind when I dive back into customer service, on top of my other jobs here as operations manager, head farmer, HR administrator, bookkeeper, fertility manager, etc. I know enough now about customer service to know that we need a full-time, highly qualified person doing it. As I wrote above about timeliness being of crucial importance in farming, this is also true of customer service.

The Weather

The weather is doing what it does—cooling, warming, gusting, drizzling, raining, flurrying. I never resent the weather—a lesson I could well apply to other areas of my life.


I don’t want to come across as a proselytizer for Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy or Biodynamics. If you have watched The Real Dirt on Farmer John, it is clear that the director Taggart Siegel and I did not tell viewers how to think nor what to feel nor how to live. It was important to share a story, and let the audience members make up their minds as to what to do with the story. This is also my approach to Farm News—to respect you, the reader, with your choice of how to experience my newsletters.

In my following references to Steiner, Anthroposophy and Biodynamics, again, I am not telling you what to think or do. I am just presenting what is of great interest to me, and which you might want to investigate. I am actually reluctant to present as much below as I do, because it might be perceived as a bit dogmatic or prejudicial (or delusional). My purpose is to give you a picture of what your farm and your farmer are up to as an essential component in truly healing, truly regenerative agricultural (and social) practices. There are many links interspersed below that will enable you to explore more if you are interested.

Lloyd Nelson in Colorado makes Biodynamic preparations. Here’s a link to his work Biodynamic Source. I won’t delve into prep making for you, as it’s complex and seemingly exotic. The underpinnings of it are addressed in Rudolf Steiner’s eight lectures on Agriculture, given in Koberwitz (now in Poland) in 1924. 

Every year, about 70 people from the Fellowship of Biodynamic Preparation Makers converge from across the States to discuss and demonstrate prepmaking. There is a possibility that our farm will host an upcoming conference of prep makers. 

A distinguishing feature of our farm is that it can host large groups in comfort in any season. The main barn loft can seat 60-70 around the stage. The granary can easily seat 25 people in the splendor of lazure painting and bountiful natural lighting. The greenhouse can seat probably 150 people. All three spaces are heated. 

We can’t put up all the prep-makers; we only have sleeping accommodations for 16, maybe 20 if we stretch it. Our farm can sleep that many people? Yup. If I wasn’t so busy farming, I would facilitate more social life on this farm. Farms aren’t only for production; they also can serve as centers of social and cultural life.

When Lloyd’s Biodynamic 500 soil preparation (buffalo horn manure) arrived here a few weeks ago, it was accompanied by his drawing of the American buffalo. The prep is made from buffalo manure, so it has a special quality of indigenousness to it. 

Lloyd’s depiction of the buffalo, and a small jar of Buffalo Horn Manure, enough for several acres

When I was little, there was still an ancient-seeming buffalo watering hole on the farm, or maybe it was more of a mud bath. It was about 60 feet long, 30 feet wide, and a foot and a half deep. Eventually, it got filled in from plowing and tilling. No trace of it has survived, other than in my memory and my imagination.

Biodynamics Worldwide?

There are many ideas for how to save the planet: veganism, vegetarianism, vertical farming, electric vehicles, hoovering carbon out of the sky, bicycling, walking, carpooling, breatharianism, recycling, protesting, fashioning fashion out of natural materials—this list is a teeny taste of what is out there for our planet’s salvation. Since this is a very materialistic age, it’s not surprising that much of the support or evidence for these planetary enhancements/salvations is couched in material terms, expressed in data, graphs, charts, etc. Maybe the problem needs to be approached more cosmically, more spiritually. Are we going to solve these problems with the same kind of thinking that caused the problems?

My new friend Sundeep said to me, “It is much easier to have Biodynamics accepted in the East. The people in the East go by feelings and intuition. They hear about Biodynamics and right away they want to do it. In the West, people need evidence, studies, charts; they are much more in their heads. It is much harder in the West.”

Does Weather Matter? Does Soil?

I will include one example of ecological reasoning here: vertical farms. The idea is (was) to raise vegetables in or near the city with artificial light and nutrients, keep the produce local, provide meaningful jobs to the urban folk (and robots). Millions upon millions of dollars poured into this alluring picture. Now a wave of bankruptcies for these projects has started. Soilless, robotic, crop production? Is there a soul in that? Does weather matter? Does soil? Read about the challenges and bankruptcies about this good idea to save the planet. Read more, here

Sundeep Kamath and the Planet

I mentioned Sundeep in a recent issue of Farm News. When Sundeep visited the farm last week, he told me that he had found his calling in 2009 and has been content ever since. What is his calling? To be an emissary for Biodynamics, and to encourage and facilitate the application of Biodynamic preparations throughout the world.

Let’s go to the inspiration for this life path for Sundeep: Rudolf Steiner [said], “The benefit of the Biodynamic compost preparations should be made available as quickly as possible to the largest possible areas of the entire Earth, for the Earth’s healing.” 

There were other people at the recent Biodynamic Conference in Colorado who are fully committed to the Biodynamic preparations. Sundeep takes this commitment from continent to continent—advising, facilitating, training. This is his life. The Biodynamic path resonates deeply for him (and me). Just because it is a bit esoteric does not mean it’s wrong, misleading, or misguided. Just because data driven evidence for vertical farms seems sound does not mean it’s right or employee friendly or earth friendly.

Farmer John and Sundeep (I loved Sundeep’s green shirt, so he gave it to me)

Sundeep visits the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, twice a year, and often presents on his work with farms to groups there. The Goetheanum is the worldwide headquarters for Rudolf Steiner’s body of work called Anthroposophy. 

Sundeep said to me, “I think Angelic Organics is the largest CSA farm in the world. I will work to have you and Haidy invited to the Goetheanum to present on your CSA, which is so well-managed and so productive.”

He declared, “The future of small farms is Community Supported Agriculture. Small farms cannot compete in the wholesale markets, cannot supply the Walmarts and the Whole Foods. Their farming products and their culture need to be localized.”

“Look at the struggles of small farms today—throughout the world,” he lamented. “It is tragic!” 

Sundeep added, “Also, I think that you should present on the evolution of your farm’s beauty and design; I have never seen a farm so developed as an individuality, so personalized.” 

I would love if Haidy and I present on my life’s work at the Goetheanum. As I have mentioned in a prior newsletter, it is through the mysterious workings of the Goetheanum that Haidy and I discovered our destiny of togetherness. Will we present at the Goetheanum? Some things happen; some don’t.

Important to Know about Rudolf Steiner (shared in Koberwitz during the Agriculture Course)

“I grew up entirely among peasant folk, and in my spirit I have always remained there―I indicated this in my autobiography. Though it was not on a large farming estate as you have here, in a smaller domain I myself planted potatoes, and though I did not breed horses, at any rate I helped to breed pigs. And in the farmyard of our immediate neighborhood I lent a hand with the cattle. These things were very close to me for a long time. I took part in them actively. Thus I do at any rate have a love of farming…”

― Rudolf Steiner

In Closing, Until Next Year

(In the spirit of the Holidays, I am only including nice comments from shareholders.)

“Dear John and Haidy all at the farm:

We are thankful for all the amazing variety of work you do to bring us our healthy food! We are thankful for hearing about your trials, for they become our trials too. And trials are to be thanked; they teach us patience and fortitude and compassion. 

Thankfulness is our sword of light!”

“Thank you for all you and your crew do! Our family thoroughly enjoyed our CSA crops this season (as we do every season).”

“I want to let you all know that the new name of “Holiday Season” for the culmination of a year of wonderful bounty, the product of so much hard labor now behind for the same year, really suits everything about participating in something that has always been a great part of human history: the desire for GREAT FOOD to spread around and friends to share it with, whether or not the friends are physically able to sit at the same table. I guess this gives a new meaning to being a “shareholder.” May God bless you with all the joy your hearts can hold, and then some more. Let’s give a toast to the coming Spring!”

“Thanks much for a great season. Let’s hope for another great season next summer. Best regards, happy holidays, and see you next year.”

“A big thanks goes out to your delivery person [Zdenek] he does an excellent job and we think you should know about it.”

“What a wonderful tribute to the people of field, vegetable bins, trucks, plows and tractors. Let them know that their faces and hopes live in the foods they have touched.  Let them know how very much I hope that their dreams come true. And let them know that this Thanksgiving this shareholder with think of them gratefully for their hard work and the sacrifices they have made to work in our fields.”

Thanks to all for being part of our breakthrough year, our 34th year as a Community Supported Agriculture farm.

See You Later,
Farmer John


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.

The Crops

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.

Victor backs up the last load of celeriac

holiday squash

The Weather

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.

Customer Service

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 Crew

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.”

Boni is my idea of how human beings should be for one another

The Work

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.

thoroughly decayed trusses for a shop addition that was never built

spare machinery parts and welding materials that made the cut for another 10 years, now stored in a truck bed

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.

cupola decks needs staircase and railings

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.

Farmer John


Farmer John Writes: Did I Like the Squeals?

Holiday Season Week 2, Deliveries of November 14th – 18th, 2023

The Crops

Beets—we decided to harvest our beets, even though they did not achieve the glorious sizes that you are used to. I just thought that, with the season nearing an end, our shareholders should have a taste of our fall beets. The leaves did not survive the frosts, so bunching the beets was not an option. Life goes like this sometimes.

Lettuce—the lettuce that we harvested a while back did not hold up well in storage. Storage of perishable crops requires its own vast area of expertise; I do not always succeed in storage methods. There is a Food Safety Modernization Act Safety Compliance protocol that requires that most crops not be in contact with wood surfaces, so we have to use expensive, unwieldy plastic liners inside of our wooden bins to keep the crops legally sanitary. Ironically, the plastic traps so much moisture that the crops often spoil faster than they otherwise would. 

I really don’t know the solution in some of these situations. Of course, we try to hold the crops in the fields as long as possible, then harvest them and store them for a short time, but this is not possible during frost season. The short version of this section is that there is no lettuce for the rest of the season; we had to discard it. Fortunately, we have lots of other crops.

Popcorn—shareholders have written and asked how to pop the popcorn. Arguably, the kernels are really hard to shell if you are hoping to pop them in a frying pan or a popcorn popper. It seems most people pop ears of popcorn in their microwave, like this.

Maythe’s arms organize the nicest celeriac in years

The Crew

I read some of the appreciative comments that we have received from shareholders this season to the crew. It is most special how many of our shareholders admire and acknowledge our crew. 

Also, I played this cute video of a young indigenous woman’s journey to independence for our crew, since both Maythe and Bartolo are from that area of Mexico and speak that language. 

Well, so I thought. The video claimed to be in that language. Maybe there are numerous dialects of that language. Bartolo recognized one word in the whole video; Maythe recognized none. So much for a special moment.

At the Biodynamic Conference last week, I met Betty LaDuke and learned about her paintings of farm workers that she paints right in the fields. She is excited to soon read the accounts of our farm workers in Farm News.

This ebullient message of gratitude just arrived from a shareholder, which I will soon read to the crew (with translation):

“What a wonderful tribute to the people of field, vegetable bins, trucks, plows and tractors. Let them know that their faces and hopes live in the foods they have touched.  Let them know how very much I hope that their dreams come true. And let them know that this Thanksgiving, this shareholder will think of them gratefully for their hard work and the sacrifices they have made to work in our fields.”

The Weather

Mild. Occasional rain. Overall, kind to our workers and to our pack volunteers.

Customer Service

I’m writing this on the plane back from Denver where I presented at the Biodynamic Conference. I did a little customer service when at the conference, but hey, it was a conference. 

The Biodynamic Conference

The conference was quite the convergence of personalities and initiatives. (In case you’re wondering, my wife Haidy didn’t join me at the conference because she’s going through some health challenges.)

Sara and Symbria Patterson from Red Acre Farm, whom I presented with and whom some of you met at our Field Day, were their delightful, animated, entertaining selves. I have never known anyone with their energy, except my mother, who outworked our young farm interns two-fold when she was in her mid-70’s. She had so much energy that people her age could not come to terms with it. Remembering now, our farm interns also could not come to terms with her; they were offended that she so outworked them, not motivated, not inspired—offended. Some of you knew my mother.

Back to the Pattersons and our presentation. Sara is eloquent. It just seems to come naturally. She is urbane, poised, and so down-to-earth at the same time. I feel joy and awe when I listen to her. And her mother, Symbria, our moderator, is so quick-witted and funny. She seems able to summarize in a second what might take most a minute just to ponder. How do they do it?

The Pattersons and I study a photo of young Farmer John with his cows

more revealed photo of young Farmer John with his cows

The Movie

The feature documentary, The Real Dirt on Farmer John, directed by Taggart Siegel and chronicling 50 years of my life, has mostly gone dormant for others and myself. However, at the recent biodynamic conference, it was still living in the hearts of many. I was a bit blindsided by the number of requests to pose for photos with film fans, and also the number of people who said it was the best film they had ever seen, also that it had helped some of them choose to go forward with a career in agriculture. 

When the film was making its way in the world, occasionally I was received like a celebrity. I wouldn’t say I especially loved this, but it certainly made it easier to enter into social life in my travels. Fame, for me, had the one advantage of not having to prove myself from scratch in social situations. Other than that, I found it a bit of an irritant. (Well, okay, sometimes it was fun to receive standing ovations and to be besieged by squealing fans, but I wouldn’t want to do it for a living.)

With a Real Dirt fan at the biodynamic conference

I met a man from India named Sundeep at the conference. For years, he had headed up a Biodynamic training program for the Biodynamic Association of India, and had always had his students watch The Real Dirt


He had them watch other farm films, too, but said they were gloomy and The Real Dirt was hopeful. Sundeep travels the world in support of Biodynamic initiatives. He had recently been in Germany at a Biodynamic/Demeter research center, where he was shocked that the heads of research there had not seen the film. He had them sit with him and watched the movie, one month before encountering me off the screen. He was shocked to see me in person. Sundeep might visit the farm soon.

Biodynamics and Our Earth

Biodynamics could do great things for the earth, but it’s under-recognized and underrated. Years ago, one season I devoted most issues of Farm News to Biodynamics. This awareness campaign did not seem to help the movement to gain traction. Biodynamics and Rudolf Steiner did, however, get a bit of coverage in The Real Dirt and my now out-of-print cookbook. Both of these got pretty far out into the world. 

At the conference, it was deeply recognized and lamented that Biodynamics had not gathered adequate momentum as a movement. There are many plans and hopes in place now to make it more honored and more prevalent.

They Farm

This is a good place to acknowledge that many people who have worked at Angelic Organics (and/or seen the film) have gone on to become farmers. 

Eric—one such person, Eric Landowne, was at the conference. Eric is  now running a farm with his wife for a Waldorf School in California. He is just as adventurous, sweet and funny as he was back when he worked for Angelic Organics 30 years ago. I had not seen him since.


Eric is still fun

Sara & Symbria Patterson—I was so moved to receive this email below, The Weekly Weed, from Red Acre Farm—not so much because it makes me seem special, but because the Pattersons are so special and because they so freely make other people special. The Pattersons’ first interest is the people around them, how to care for them, how to support them, how to serve them, how to love them. Notice below how their lives are all about community, and community is about them.

From Red Acre Farm’s “Weekly Weed” newsletter:

“I am grateful to be writing the Weekly Weed from Boulder, Colorado, this morning. We are here for the National Biodynamic Conference. In 2012, at 17, this would be the first Farm Conference I would attend, and it holds a special place in my heart. I only learned about the Conference in 2012 a few weeks before it happened. My Mom suggested going next year, and when I saw it was only every other year, I thought I would be too old and we HAD to go. What became the burning desire to get there was the fact the farm day was at Angelic Organics with THEE Farmer John. I had seen his film and knew about his Farm and the trails he blazed for Organic, Biodynamic, and CSAs. It was far away ( Wisconsin ) and only year three of our Farm. We had zero resources. Or did we because we had a community?

So we asked our community. There was no official “GoFundMe.” We put a jar out asking for donations on Wednesday’s share day pick-up. The ask was urgent as we needed to leave on Monday. Our CSA members were generous and encouraged us to send an email out. I explained this was for my education because I wanted to stay here and be a local farm and farmer for this community. I had a bare-bones ask, $1310.The cost of the Conference for myself and my Mom was $ 710. we would pack our food, drive our about-to-break-down van, and sleep in it—$ 600 for gas. My Mom was willing but not in love with the idea that we would sleep in the van and bring our own food. 

Even as I write this now, I tear up. The support was overwhelming. Within three days, we had over $6000. We had people offering their sky miles so we could fly. It was probably not the best idea for a So Cal. girl and her 17-year-old daughter to drive to Wisconsin mid-Nov. People called and offered their credit cards, asking if we had enough because they didn’t want us sleeping in our car. The Springdale farmers market I was selling at then even donated and said we want you to come back and teach a class in our community with what you have learned.

As a 17-year-old girl, that much support from that many people who cared about what I was doing, cared about my business, and wanted me to be successful was extremely empowering. With way more money given than I had asked for, Mom was willing to fly and was totally ready to sleep in a hotel. I told her these people gave me this money for education. The money is going to be used for education only. Never mind getting there, eating, or having a place to stay. The money donated is going to be our education fund. We are still going on the cheap. We packed our food, drove across the country in November, ate out once, and only spent two nights in a not-so-nice motel.

Our community invested in me, us, and Red Acre, and their investment has paid off. We were able to stretch that money by attending four different farm conferences, one being Eco-Farm. Because of that, I came home and told my Mom we needed to have something like this in Utah. A few years later, we founded Red Acre Center and hosted The Utah Farm and Food Conference, coming up on its 8th year. The Center just launched a farmer’s training program. We started two farmers’ markets. The Farm is a hub for community events with a thriving full-diet CSA model. The list goes on, but the point I really want to make is it is all because of you!

The last National Biodynamic Conference was in 2019, and I am excited to be here again, attending with Tk, our director of Botanical Affairs, and my Mom, Symbria, representing the Center. We are not sleeping in the car and only brought snacks. Things have changed. At this Conference, I am honored to be one of the speakers, and with that celebrity/ rock star in the farming world, Farmer John from Angelic Organics, we will present together on Saturday.

Some of you reading this letter have supported me since the beginning and still support me/us now—this Farm is truly a community supporting agriculture. The Farm is our and our crew’s only source of income. We wouldn’t be here without you. We hold dear our current and past CSA members. We are wild about those who volunteer, show up for events, place orders, and shop for veggies at the Farm Stand or the farmers market. And crazy about those who follow us on social media, receive our email, The Weekly Weed, stop by as you drive through Cedar on the I-15, send messages of support, tell your friends about us, and those who book a Farm stay in our Airbnb. I could not and would not want to do this without this community. We are accepting and giving grace and gratitude.”

~ Sara Patterson

Farmer John


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 Weather

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.

Customer Service

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.

Farm News

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.

The Crops

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.

cabbage headed for climate control

Pollo washes your carrots

The Crew

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. 

appreciative notes from our thoughtful shareholders

in Spanish and English, the shareholder note of appreciation

after the presentation of thanks, back to the grill on a cold, breezy Day of the Dead evening

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.”

More Love

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.

Farmer John



Farmer John Writes: Great People

Harvest Week 20, Deliveries of October 31st – November 4th, 2023

It’s The End of the Season for Some

This week, Week 20, is the last week of deliveries of our main season. After this week, we still have four weeks of the extended season for those who are signed up for an extended season share.

Haidy and I are not so keen on the name Extended Season and will probably change it to Holiday Season. Extended seems like over-extending one’s stay, or one’s credit card, or one’s tax payment. Holiday Season—now that’s more like what it is.

Check the delivery calendar in your membership account if you are unsure about your deliveries for the rest of the season.

The Weather

Last weekend, the weather turned from pleasant to cold, freezing cold, below-freezing cold. This posed a dilemma, because many of our crops that are still in the field can stand below-freezing cold, but not way-below-freezing cold—low 20’s, maybe even the upper teens. The crops vulnerable to that much cold could be kale, chard, celeriac, cabbage, and broccoli—probably not parsley, not sure. Probably not Brussels sprouts, depending on what web page I land on to investigate frost tolerance. About lettuce—it will not survive that much cold. If covered and the cover touches the lettuce leaves, those leaf tips will freeze and blacken. So we harvested a lot of lettuce last Friday. It will store well, especially the Romaine, of which we have a lot.

Of course, it’s not so hard to manage this freezing weather, if we are just managing harvest for the last full week of the season; we could just bring it all in a bit early. But, we have an additional 4 weeks of extended (holiday) season to anticipate. (That’s a little more than half as many boxes per week as we deliver during the regular season.) Many crops are already in storage, of course, such as onions, garlic, potatoes, squash and carrots..also Daikon. But what about the crops that sweeten with some frost or die with too much frost, such as kale, chard, broccoli and cabbage…even Brussels sprouts if pushed too far into the frost? 

The forecast depth of frost is a mystery, of course, because it won’t kill these crops I just named unless it’s a really hard frost, but it’s impossible to know how low the temperatures will go and for how long those temperatures will stay that low. If we tried to bring all these crops in…uh, I don’t think we have the bins, the help, and the cooler space, but we did expand the harvest before the cold hit by late Saturday afternoon.

Complicating these decisions—there is a gigantic amonout of conflicting information about vegetables on the internet; it’s a bit like reading or watching the news.

Please Ponder

At what point in time does the crop belong to the shareholder? Does it ever belong to me? When I fret over a crop, such as above, mindful that a certain level of frost will sweeten it and an extreme amount of frost will ruin it, is it mine if it is ruined and the shareholder’s if it is saved? I have brought this up in Farm News before, but I find myself examining it again, as there is so much at stake with the crops still in the field in light of the upcoming frost. 

When I offer you crops in the customization email, I only offer crops that are there. I don’t offer crops that froze and that are not there. However, the frozen ungivable crop is part of the CSA share. We know that in the transactional model offered through CSAware, the only crops that can be offered are the ones that are available, not the ones that failed. How many shareholders would choose to receive a phantom, ungiveable, non-existent crop that their money paid to grow? I’m not trying to be cute here; I’m  just examining the CSAware model that we use vs the concept or philosophy of CSA.

To take this a little further, it’s ironic that that the farm will give a credit for a substandard item, such as a bad melon. The money for the CSA share grew that bad melon; the shareholder’s money grew the bad melon. Again, not trying to be cute or cagey here—it’s just something to think about.

Customer Service

Emails pour in daily from shareholders. I am having trouble keeping up, as I am also managing harvests and navigating upcoming frosts. The surge will eventually subside. We plan to be better staffed next year to manage the large volume of emails that come to the farm.

One shareholder suggested that I spend less time on Farm News and more on customer service—interesting suggestion. It reminded me of a shareholder who a while back said to only write about the crops and that my stories were unwelcome. Then there was the shareholder who said he liked the newsletters even more than the boxes of vegetables. 

The Crops

Most of the crops are too beautiful to sacrifice to the frost. However, due to labor, time, and storage constraints, we had to do some triage. Hoping the chard can survive the cold; it probably will. We couldn’t harvest and store all of the kale—it will likely survive. Most kale information on the web says it will hold down to 15 degrees; some web info says only to 24 degrees. We decided to leave the kale in the fields to sweeten along with other crops that will sweeten with frost (or die with too much frost). There’s so much conflicting information.

The beets were too small to bother harvesting, and their leaves were speckled. I know a lot of shareholders love our beets—sorry. We got them planted later than we should have and they didn’t really size up. Maybe they will still grow a bit, probably not.

Concepcion and Bartolo (foreground) save lettuce from the hard frost

Lettuce—lovely, grew fast in the former warmth.

Arugula—not pristine, but fine enough for late October. The crew was taking out the bad leaves, but I had them be less fussy, because we were running out of time for being ready for the pack.

Cilantro Substitution—Parsley—we harvested the cilantro days early, due to weather concerns. It held up poorly in the cooler, so we discarded it all and are substituting with parsley. Cilantro and parsley have in common that they are both herbs, otherwise they are not that similar.

Carrots—long, orange and aromatic.


Popcorn—should be dry enough to pop. If not, fold the husk back and dry for a few days. The ear is longer than the husk on many—a little unsightly, maybe. We  cut off the some of the barren, damaged tips.

Brussels sprouts—we endeavored to strip the black outer leaves on some of the sprouts last week, took way too long. It would have cost over $1,000 in labor to clean them all, so that job is for you, our helpful shareholder. Some stalks have very few black leaves, anyway. These are some of the biggest sprouts we have ever grown.

Kohlrabi—final harvest this week.

glorious kohlrabi

Daikon radish—might require a little excavating and shaving, but then, yum. (Hopefully, we will have enough. Might run short this week, in which case we will probably substitute with onions.)

Daikon colors

Celeriac—brought in a final trailerload from the field on Saturday.

Is this a lot of celeriac? Probably for some…

The Crew

The crew generously agreed to work all day last Saturday, even though, before the frost scare, I had offered them all of Saturday off. Sometimes they get to laughing and have a hard time stopping—me, too.

fun friends, Maythe and Concepcion—their 3rd year back on the farm

Ruben and Pollo restore the peeling Spanish colonial colors on the farmhouse

Our H-2A Workers

I interviewed seven of our eight H-2A workers for the first issue of Farm News this season, A Murder, a Baby and a Ghost.

I am now adding the interview with Bonifacio who joined us during the season, and further below, I am including photos of Maythe’s family farm in Mexico.

Bonifacio (Boni for short)

To remind you, Boni is the one who said early one morning, when I asked him why he was so happy, “God gave me the choice to be happy or sad. So I decide to be happy.”

(The following interview was translated by our bilingual whiz, Mayra.)

Farmer John: Is this your first time in the USA?

Bonifacio: Yes.

Farmer John: What jobs have you done?

Bonifiacio: I have worked with corn using tractors.

Farmer John: Where?

Bonifacio: In Zinapecuaro, Michoacan.

Farmer John: Tell us about your family.

Bonifacio: My family has been always in agriculture. We are 12 brothers and sisters. Some are in the USA. I never wanted to come to the USA illegally, so this program was my chance to come legally. My brother works in Mexico and grows vegetables.

Farmer John: You have a wife and kids?

Bonifacio: Yes, Maria del Carmen is my wife. Cristopher has 15 years, Angel 17 years, and Estrella 19 years. They are stepsons and a daughter.

Farmer John: What was your early life like?

Bonifacio: My childhood was kind of hard. My parents were poor. It was hard to feed all of us. I started working in the fields irrigating. I went to school but had to drop out in fourth grade. My parents didn’t have enough money to buy uniforms.

Farmer John: How do you like it here in the United States?

Bonifacio: I like to be here, because we have more opportunities than in Mexico.

Farmer John: How much do you make in Mexico?

Bonifacio: I make like 1200 pesos a week. It’s like 60 dollars a week.

Farmer John: How many days a week?

Bonifacio: 6 days a week.

Farmer John: That’s ten dollars a day. Any surprises here in the United States?

Bonifacio: With the work I do here, I feel like I went back in time. Here we don’t have chemicals.

Boni harvests organic cilantro

Farmer John: What are you going to do with your money from here?

Bonifacio: It’s for my kids for school. I don’t want them to have the same past that I had. 

Farmer John: Are you going to see your brothers in the Northwest?

Bonifacio: I would like to see them if it won’t cause any problems.

Farmer John: I don’t think it would be any problem.

Bonificio: Its been 20 years since I have seen them.

Farmer John: Do you connect with them on Zoom?

Bonifacio: Only with one.

Farmer John: I hope you make the visit happen.

Bonifacio: Thank you.

Farmer John: Is there anything you want to add?

Bonifacio: One thing–I like to learn different things. My dad is a person that would get only one job. I like to do different stuff in the fields–mechanical stuff, irrigating, all sorts of things.

Farmer John: When you are back in Mexico, what are you going to do?

Bonifacio: I made an agreement with my past boss that when I get back, I would work 30 or 40 acres, only corn. My job down there is to clean out the channels and do the irrigating. In April I will seed the corn. We use a machine to seed corn. I started working with my dad at 7 years old with a horse. We had to harvest by hand.

Farmer John: My mother picked a lot of corn by hand, too.

Bonifacio: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here. I am really thankful about it. I am glad I met all of my group.

Farmer John: Thank for your good work. You have a great personality.

Bonifacio: Thank you so much for everything.


Maythe is a most delightful addition to our farm team—hard working, fun, willing…

Maythe and celeriac before the frost

Refresher from Maythe’s interview in Week 1 Farm News:

“My mom doesn’t speak Spanish. She speaks Chinanteco, a native language. I am more familiar with Chinanteco. I dream in my language. There are only a few people that speak Spanish in my town.

My town is like a different world; everything is different. There are 2,000 people in the town and everyone knows each other. Its name is Cerro Armadillo Grande Oaxaca.”

Photos from Maythe

Below are some photos from Maythe’s family farm in Oaxaca, Mexico, which were not included with Maythe’s original interview in Farm News, Week 1. Maythe will return to her farm for the winter. 


“Hello friend JOHN, good evening, I hope you like these photos. It is from the coffee that I am harvesting.

– Maythe”

Maythe says it never freezes or snows at her family’s farm. I have been teasing her that all of us will show up at her farm for a week long fiesta this fall—just teasing (I think).

Thanks to All the Other H-2A Workers

Mayra, Antonio, Ruben, Concepcion, Jesus, and Gabriel—you are the best!


Lots of familial connections amongst our crew.

Mayra and Antonio are cousins.

they are friends since childhood

Boni is Antonio’s brother-in-law.

Boni and Antonio grade popcorn

Mayra’s husband Aldo is visiting for a couple weeks and is helping in the fields.

Aldo and Mayra strip back corn husks to provide autumn color to the box

Bartolo and Maythe are from the same part of Oaxaca and, in addition to speaking other languages, they speak the same native language, Chinanteco.

Maythe and Bartolo sort Daikons

Gabriel is Pollo’s brother-in-law.

Gabriel catches a melon. The ghost (scarecrow) photobombed Pollo, who is reaching for a melon.


Not only is our H-2A crew super hard-working, they also invite me to their parties/fiestas, where I feel like I am one of them, and where I remember how much I love Mexico.

shades of Mexico

There’s More

I can’t leave out other fun, hard-working farmmates: Pollo, here for 23 years; Victor, here for 13 years; Bartolo, here for many years; Zdenek, our truck driver; Nathan, our greenhouse manager, and my wife Haidy. Also, there’s our cheerful pack coordinator Don Glasenapp, and so many wonderful, dedicated, and interesting pack volunteers. Wow!

And to Our Shareholders

Without you, the farm and the food would be only a memory. Without you, there would be no lifeline to Mexico for the H-2A workers and their families, no Farm News, no Field Days, no U-Pick Garden, no weather report, no crop report, no crew report, no vegetables and herbs, and no CSA. Thank you for making all of this possible.

With Much Appreciation,
Farmer John


Farmer John Writes: What is There?

Harvest Week 19, Deliveries of October 24th – 28th, 2023

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.

The Crops

Fall Beets—slow going, even the ones that are covered. Next week will be warm. Maybe we’ll have beets.


Brussels sprouts—lots.

Broccoli—has not enjoyed the fall warmth, not sure what we still might be able to harvest. Much of it bolted.

Chinese cabbage—nice, big heads.

Chinese cabbage

Arugula, cilantro, dill, kale, chard—all flourishing…

Head Lettuce—The last head lettuce of the season was transplanted too late for my comfort. However, the fall warmth and the comfy row cover have combined to provide a nice crop of head lettuce. If not for the unseasonal warmth and the row cover, this paragraph would have been titled Had Lettuce.

Romaine lettuce grows tall under row cover

Daikon radishes—some of them got big this year. Big daikons make for fine cuisine.

the Daikon radish amuses Pollo

Watch One of the Best and Biggest Radishes is Daikon.


Interesting that some of our shareholders love our head lettuce but not our mixed leaf lettuce; some prefer our leaf lettuce. When we need to substitute one for the other, we will invariably receive objections to those substitutions.

I have on occasion sent emails identifying the substitutions, but not always. In general, we substitute when we need to, and giving shareholders a heads-up about a substitution often goes beyond the granular shareholder service I am able offer. 

While I am on this subject of customer service, I’ll mention that we get emails and calls at all hours and on all days of the week, often requesting immediate replies, as though we have a full time staff just doing customer service. Maybe these people have heard the saying a farmer’s work is never done.

Whose Garden is It?

A friend recently made the observation about the farm: “It’s the shareholders’ garden. If a shareholder went out to their garden and found a pepper with a spot on it, would they throw it out or cut out the spot? If they found a head of lettuce with a worm on it or a spot of mud, would they throw the lettuce out? If they picked up a smallish squash, would they discard it, because of its size? All the blemished produce belongs to the shareholders.”

A shopper might dismiss a pepper with a spot on it in the produce aisle, but once the spotted pepper is in their refrigerator, it falls into the category of acceptable—just cut out the spot. It’s interesting to consider by when the pepper in our CSA belongs to the shareholder—once it is examined upon arrival at their home and deemed acceptable, or when it is being packed, or before it is graded? Does the blemished pepper belong to the compost pile of the farm and the pristine pepper to the shareholder?

I mentioned last week in Farm News that I lowered our grading standards for peppers this month, because peppers in October are a bit like kicking up sand on the beach and unearthing a gold nugget. They are a rarity, but sure enough, we got complaints about these heroic peppers—not just their quality but also that they were out of season, and carrots should have taken their place.

peppers in October—huh? An unfolding legend

The Weather

Borderline balmy. Farmers often complain about the weather, but I like pretty much all sorts of weather. 

The Crew

The H-2A workers’ visas are good through Friday, November 17th, two weeks before our extended season ends. Will we be able to finish the season without them? Probably, because pretty much all the crops have to be in storage by then, because hard frosts will destroy what is still in the fields. 

Is it Still Fresh?

The late fall crops are harvested early to get them out of frost’s way. Are they still considered fresh then? That’s a good question. We can leave kale out in the field until the low-mid 20’s, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and spinach, also, but it gets scary at those temperatures, because temperatures vary a lot from their official forecasts.

Rudolf Steiner

I don’t lean much into Rudolf Steiner’s body of work known as Anthroposophy in Farm News, because Steiner is not for everyone and it seems that he is really not for most people, period. And, I don’t like to proselytize. However, I am an Anthroposophist and am very engaged in Rudolf Steiner’s work. 

I have read over 100 of Steiner’s books, mostly compilations of his lectures but also some cornerstone books he wrote himself. 

If you google Rudolf Steiner, you will find an immense body of work by him and about him, and also dismissive, condescending, and vitriolic claims regarding Steiner. (How gratifying it must feel to be part of the cancel culture.)

Am I a closet Anthroposophist? Maybe, but technically not, because in certain circles I am an obvious Anthroposophist. 

I bring Steiner up because we practice Biodynamics at Angelic Organics. Biodynamics is one of many initiatives launched by Steiner in the early 1900’s until his death in 1925. In a less formatted way, Steiner’s approach to design has also been incorporated into the farmstead at Angelic Organics, and, also, some of his recommendations for social life.

In 2012, I presented on The Farm as Social Organism in a daylong workshop at the farm prior to the National Biodynamic Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. 

At the same time I met Sara Patterson and her mom Symbria. I will be co-presenting at the National Biodynamic Conference next month with Sara, with Sara’s mom as moderator. Some of you met the Pattersons at our Field Day last month. Many of you mentioned how thoroughly lovely, creative and helpful they were.

I have been rather under the public radar for many years since my five-year tour with the film The Real Dirt on Farmer John ended in late 2009. During the span of that tour, I was interviewed over 1,000 times. Although I have been mostly out of the public eye since then, a couple of days ago, the Biodynamic Association decided to promote Sara’s and my workshop with an email promotion which resurrected me as a Biodynamic Rock Star. Cute.

“The National Biodynamic Conference is thrilled to welcome Biodynamic rockstar Farmer John Peterson of Angelic Organics as a workshop presenter this year!

You may recognize him from the the feature documentary film The Real Dirt on Farmer John which chronicles over 50 years of his life and his farm Angelic Organics. Peterson is also the author of Farmer John’s Cookbook, in which he brought Rudolf Steiner’s work on nutrition and the goodness of Biodynamic vegetables to the general public.

Farmer John, along with Sara Patterson of Red Acre Farm and Center, will be presenting the workshop What Can You NOT Learn from These Two Totally Opposite BD CSA Farmers, where the two lifelong farmers and best friends—one 28, the other 72; one steeped in the Mormon faith, the other a dedicated Anthroposophist; one offering a full diet farm pick up feeding 60 people, the other with 2400 shareholders delivering to Chicagoland; one in windswept southern Utah, one in the verdant Midwest—discuss their farms, their lives, their love for farming, and why age doesn’t matter (much).”

– Biodynamic Demeter Alliance Newsletter

In last week’s Farm News, The Heavens Beckon and The Earth Dictates, I addressed the sometimes symbiotic, sometimes conflicting, relationship between earthly mandates and heavenly inspirations. It is not a misnomer to recognize this age we live in as highly materialistic (earthly) and decidedly unspiritual (heavenly). If one were to deeply engage Steiner’s work on this dichotomy, one would learn the importance and necessity for this period of humanity being steeped so deeply in matter, as offensive and uncomfortable as it might be for some.

Biodynamics has a lot to offer those of a materialistic or at least an earthbound mindset. Here I excerpt from the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance:

A Biodynamic Farm Is a Living Organism
Each biodynamic farm or garden is an integrated, whole, living organism. This organism is made up of many independent elements: fields, forests, plants, animals, soils, compost, people, and the spirit of the place. Biodynamic farmers and gardeners work to nurture and harmonize these elements, managing them in a holistic and dynamic way to support the health and vitality of the whole. Biodynamic practitioners also endeavor to listen to the land, to sense what may want to emerge through it, and to develop and evolve their farm as a unique individuality.”

This paragraph above will resound for many–it somewhat emulates an image of an idyllic diversified organic farm. However, if you investigate Steiner’s work further, you will encounter numerous references to a world and universe inhabited by spirits and other invisible forces (some of these forces play a role in the Biodynamic preparations) and this is where many (most?) people thoroughly reject Steiner. 

To be more forthright, in Steiner’s words (translated from German into English): 

“All that surrounds us in the world of sense — all we can perceive through our senses and understand with our intellect — which is bound to the senses — is not the whole world, but that behind it all lies a spiritual world. And this spiritual world lies not in some undefined “beyond” but surrounds us here and now in exactly the same way as color and light phenomena surround a person born blind. But in order to perceive our environment we need an organ of perception. And just as a blind person cannot see color or light, so someone of our age cannot, as a rule, perceive the spiritual facts and beings surrounding them here if they possesses only their normal powers of perception.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 272 – GOETHE’S FAUST FROM THE STANDPOINT OF SPIRITUAL SCIENCE – Strassburg, 23 January 1910

My writings about the farm and my life tend to be earthly, with little forays into more subtle regions, but Steiner’s work deals in a very straightforward way with forces and beings invisible to the eye, and this is partly why so many people today and most contemporary science reject his work.

In Week 8 of Farm News, 2020, Is the Farm a Being?, I explore the question of whether the farm is a thing or a living organism. It’s not especially esoteric, but it does address the issue of whether a farm is an individuality, which can tend towards esoteric. 

Since I was 8 or so and had learned to read, my main interest was in invisible forces, and I would read about them voraciously. My favorite work was Stranger than Science, by Frank Edwards. I would read particularly compelling esoteric stories to my mother, who would then read them to her 7th and 8th grade English classes. I was reminded of this years later, when a former student of my mom told me how much his class looked forward to these otherworldly readings, and how if she had done such readings years later, she would have lost her teaching job.

To my shareholders, I mostly present myself as a practical steward of the land who is perhaps a bit imaginative. I do not venture far into spirit land, because esoteric missives can be very divisive, and can trigger condescension and rejection. Am I coming out of my spirit-imbued closet today? Not with any fanfare; I just like to hold up to others that I feel there is more to life than meets the eye. 

I like to think that what especially matters to most shareholders is: do the crops go in on time in properly stewarded soil, get harvested in time with fairly treated workers, and get delivered on time in good condition in generous or at least adequate quantities? Whatever fancies I entertain beyond that are okay, as long as these notions don’t get in the way of the farming.

Earth and Sky

The stage in our main barn embodies the relationship between the earth (lower stage) and the heavens (upper stage), with a middle stage that mediates between the two.

lower earthly stage, upper heavenly stage, mediating central stage

Also in the barn loft is a sort of  shadow box that offers a representation of our Biodynamic farm. At the bottom is a tree root which represents earth and the mineral-based, earthbound agriculture that is widely practiced. Floating near the top is an angelic being representing the heavens. In between, mediating the relationship between earth and sky, are the Biodynamic practices.

Painting by Lucien Dante Lazar; 3-D installation by Farmer John

My Journey to Biodynamics

Here is a story I wrote in the 90’s about my transformational encounter with invisible forces and how that encounter lead me to Biodynamics and Rudolf Steiner.

My Dream Once

Over 20 years ago, when Bob Bower was still working here (whom many of you will remember), Bob and I hoped to fashion Angelic Organics somewhat after Hawthorne Valley Farm, an Anthroposophically inspired community in the Hudson Valley of New York that has many initiatives related to Rudolf Steiner’s work. This was a tall order, but like Hawthorne Valley, it had to start at the beginning, with a vision. Bob’s and my stated dream and intention was to move Angelic Organics in the direction of an Anthroposophical Center that would embrace Steiner’s work in a range of areas, with a central focus on Community Supported Agriculture and Biodynamic farming. Our goal was to forward the stated cultural and social impulses inspired by Anthroposophy. (Bob Bower is now a Christian Community Priest in New England. The Christian Community Church is another branch of Rudolf Steiner’s work.)

While on my film tour, I diligently sought out Biodynamic farmsAnthroposophical communitiesWaldorf schoolsCamphill Communities, and Christian Community Churches to get inspiration and practical guidance for how to develop Angelic Organics as a mecca for Anthroposophical initiatives. Alas, I returned to a farm that relentlessly needed me in myriad ways to make it productive and viable. I was unable to stay present to my dream, and my broad vision for the farm hasn’t manifested. 

Permit me to reflect here on this dream not coming to fruition. It was founded on intention, declaration, commitment, vision, determination and, perhaps, a sense of destiny. Yet, it did not manifest. In Farm News earlier this season, Why Did It Happen?, I addressed the phenomenon and mystery of will. Some things seem to come about easily with only a nod of intention, some things come about through immense struggle, and some things never manifest in spite of tremendous effort. It seems to depend on the person, the vision, the timing, the need and myriad other factors. As a farmer, I recognize that some crops flourish with little effort; some crops fail in spite of immense effort. 

Good has certainly emerged, however, since I returned to the farm 14 years ago: Angelic Organics has become a Biodynamic powerhouse of production, a mecca for Community Supported Agriculture, an avid employer of those-with-less below the border, and a vibrant laboratory for the design of social spaces and farmstead renovation. I am also blessed to have a most lovely Anthroposophically-inspired wife, Haidy, from Finland, whom I met on the film tour through the…let me take the liberty here…cosmic organizing force of the Second Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, which is the worldwide center for Anthroposophy.


Although this farm never emerged as a broader center for Rudolf Steiner’s work, my interest in Steiner is steadfast (ok, insatiable). I lament that the farm was never developed as an Anthroposophical center, but I am personally centered in Anthroposophy, so maybe I can be my own Anthroposophical Center. My wife Haidy is similarly committed to Anthroposophy, so maybe we qualify as an Anthroposophical Center of Two.

Not Overheard

Pondering now, how would I, if I do qualify as a closet Anthroposophist, come out of the Anthroposophy closet? I think it would go a bit like this.

Me: “Hey, I just want you to know that I have been an Anthroposophist for years, and I’m sorry I have never told you.”

Them: “We don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Me: “About Anthroposophy.”

Them: “What’s that?”

Me: “Uh, it’s kind of hard to explain.”

Them: “Well, how can we approve or disapprove of you being an Anthroposophist, if we don’t know what Anthroposophy is? How can we know whether to embrace you or shun you?”

Me: “Uh, let’s just drop it.”

Farmer John


Farmer John Writes: The Heavens Beckon and The Earth Dictates

Harvest Week 18, Deliveries of October 17th – 21st, 2023

The Crops

Lots of crops still to put in your boxes—bounty galore.

Brussels sprouts—they got nipped by frost, not as deep a frost as I would have liked for sweetening them, but we have so many Brussels sprouts, we need to start giving them. I like giving them attached to the stalks; they are more dramatic that way. You might notice some blackish wrappers on some of the sprouts; generally, you can just peel those off to get to the green sprout you want. We don’t bother to clean the sprouts thoroughly. It takes way too much time for our crew, and this lets you become farm helpers from afar.

best crop of Brussels sprouts in years

Broccoli—we lost a lot of broccoli because it headed out in the recent warm weather; it didn’t actually head out—it bolted. We ran out of broccoli last week during the pack, and replaced the missing broccoli with beautiful cabbage. No broccoli this week; hopefully some later.

Carrots—If you ordered them, you will be receiving some of our long carrots that I wrote about in the last issue of Farm News, Is it a Trade? A Craft? An Art? (For those of you who didn’t receive a box or a newsletter last week, I suggest that you take a look at that issue. I am realizing that, in general, shareholders should receive every issue of Farm News, even if they are every-other-week shareholders. The communication in each issue is important, and provides a continuum of news about your farm. Next year, we’ll make that happen.) Back to these long carrots, you can impress your friends by claiming that satellite positioning helped them to be long.

Nightshades—We finally ended our peppers, eggplant and tomatoes, like striking a stage set, back to undifferentiated expanses of fields. We still have peppers for at least some of you this week. Weird to have peppers still. The people grading them last week applied peak season quality standards to the peppers and tomatoes. I intervened, saying, “Even if these peppers and tomatoes have a slight flaw, give them. Mid-October peppers are a rare treasure up here in northern Illinois. Let’s share the treasures.”

Celeriac, Kohlrabi, Bok Choy—harvested before the storms last Friday.

bok choy, first in line for a wash

celeriac and kohlrabi await their turn for a wash

Potatoes are free of the threat of mud and are now in storage.

dry ground and potato harvest belong together

bagging potatoes inside when it’s cold and wet outside

The Weather

We scrambled at the end of last week and the beginning of this week, covering crops against frost, and bringing in frost sensitive squash by the thousands. With only a nip of frost last Monday night, the weather turned warm again, and rainy. As I am sure you realize, we don’t try to outguess the frost; when frost threatens, we farm accordingly. Then it freezes or it doesn’t. Same with rain; if rain is likely, we treat it as a given.

covering baby lettuce

The Pack

Many volunteers faithfully come to help us pack boxes week after week, usually between 14 and 20 volunteers. We need 21 people on the pack line, so we are blessed to only have to use half of our crew to supplement the pack line—often less than half. That way, our crew can get other things done during the pack. Getting things done on time is our over-arching goal here.

Concepcion smiles like the sun

The number of items we offer for the pack has mushroomed to 14 or 15, from 12 or 13 earlier. We don’t have room to line up more than 15 items on the pack line, and that many is a stretch.

The Crew

The crew is fun, fast, and hard working.

the crew harvests lettuce mix

Last week, everyone hustled even more than usual, and the crew was able to take off last Saturday morning—first free Saturday morning all season.

Managing the Farm

Every year, I feel that I gain more competency and wisdom managing the farm. I often think, “wow, I have learned so much this year. I don’t know how I was able to pull all this off in prior years.”  I have been running the CSA for 34 years, and I typically feel that I am barely getting good enough to do it. Is this self-deprecation? Misguided humility?

I think of managing the farm as a bit like creating a painting (or another art form). The paint goes onto the canvas, and then the composition isn’t right, or one color overwhelms another color, and change is required; interaction with the artistic process is required. A day of this sort of farming that I do requires numerous adjustments, compromises, deviations. and re-prioritizations pretty much throughout the day.

this field directive, updated throughout the day, tells us what to do

this crop storage inventory, updated throughout the day, tells us what we did

This passage from planning to outcomes reminds me of what Rudolf Steiner advised to people who gave lectures: he advised them to prepare thoroughly for the lecture. When the time came to deliver the lecture, he advised to give the lecture that is called for in that moment. It might not resemble the lecture for which you prepared.

It’s the same with my writing of Farm News, which I start with an intention (usually, not always) and end with an edition that might not resemble my original intention.

Of course, fulfilling harvest commitments does not allow for the flexibility in outcomes offered by the two analogies above, but still, we are flexible and imaginative in our field work. I think of it as relational.  

In between what we need to do (field directive) and what we did (crop inventory) resides the efforts, facts, mysteries, confusions, finesse, imaginations, failures, and triumphs of running your CSA. Between these two whiteboards above lies an ongoing negotiation between what is needed and what is achieved, between what is ideal and what is realistic, between what the heavens beckon and the earth dictates. Within that space lies the art of running your CSA.

The work depends on:

  • the equipment: it doesn’t always work, or it doesn’t work well enough, or it doesn’t work as planned
  • the soil: it’s wetter than I thought, drier than I thought, crusted from pounding rains, then sun
  • the crops: a harvest standard one week does not apply another week. The turnips are perfect, then wormy later. The tomatoes are pinkish, then overripe and cracked. The radish greens are pristine; a week later, eaten by flea beetles.
  • the crew: they are willing and fast, but do they make the necessary adjustments on the fly, because we have to go faster in order to get other things done, or rain is coming, or the sun and wind are drying out the greens that are harvested but are still in crates in the field? Training a crew in standards is one thing; training them in adapting/relating to the moment, then to the next moment, is another. Upholding fixed standards is like painting by numbers; adapting to the moment is like painting onto a blank canvas.
  • the weather: it’s the most unpredictable component of all, like trying to live with an unpredictable partner, one who drinks excessively or is a drug addict with periods of calm between binges
  • the timing; nothing is as important as getting the crops in and out of the ground in a timely way. Everything in the list above can be balanced, but if farming isn’t timely, the farm will be smashed.

This list can go on and on. Every day, often every hour, I have to make adjustments. I am willing to step down, step aside, delegate, but running this place is only transferable to a very special, very seasoned person. Otherwise, things will go wrong; they will get out of kilter. I delegate more and more to my managers here, but finding someone who can pull the whole operation together into a cohesive, manageable picture is a challenge. A mostly qualified manager can have one thing out of whack that can throw the whole farm out of balance. If he or she does not maintain order, or is not liked and respected by the crew, or has a pattern of tardiness, or doesn’t welcome coaching, or is perfectionistic as opposed to excellent, or is a proselytizer, or has no feeling for equipment, or no commitment to building upkeep, it won’t work. Or if the new farmer is prone to getting behind in the work—eek. Or won’t be willing do what it takes, no matter what—double eek. It really only takes one thing that is out of whack/unacceptable that can bring everything down. Think of your physical being, how all of your organs have to be in sufficient harmony for you to keep going. Your farm is also a living organism that relies on synergy and harmony between its various components.

My guys who have been here for years know this deeply. These seasoned workers rely on me to pull everything together day after day, to be the harmonizer, the conductor, the choreographer.

No one here would accuse me of micro-managing or perfectionism. I delegate to the limit, sometimes more than I should. I suspect that over-delegating to the wrong people has been one of the worst, most destructive practices I have engaged in here. Think of it as mis-placed trust.

People often admonish me for not “letting go.” That’s not the issue. I have several unfinished books that beckon me to write that I don’t have time to finish; I have a wife with whom I would love to spend more time. I am keen to let go. However, I can only let go to a person or team who can step into this position and not let the farm go to smash. 

It galls me when someone tells me “any young person who wants to run your CSA can do it, no problem. It’s not that hard.” The self-appointed adviser is clear that running the farm is not a craft, nor an art—that at most it’s a trade. Another uninvited advisor might say “there really can’t be that much to running a CSA farm. You just don’t want to let go.”

This recently from a Shareholder: “Your CSA has been so awesome, better than most I’ve seen.”

Reality check by Farmer John: It’s not by chance that your CSA is better than most this shareholder has seen.

Over the years, I have made mis-guided attempts to usher competent workers here into some level of management of the farm—general manager, operations manager, assistant to the head farmer (me). Most people aren’t suited and no amount of training is likely to transform a person into managerial competency and imaginative wherewithal if they don’t already have the foundation for these aptitudes. There are some current farm employees who might as a team possess the right combination of aptitudes. I am constantly testing, checking, discussing, wondering, coaching, coaxing.

This season has been stellar in part because I have become more and more creative/imaginative in running the place. To revisit the painting analogy above, the farm is like a canvas that I fill in day after day, adjusting the strokes, the colors, the composition. Every day is a venture into the unknown, with the power of the known guiding me. It’s a bit like being on stage after a screening of The Real Dirt on Farmer John, fielding questions and comments that range from predictable to totally unpredictable, from respectful to disruptive, from funny to somber. I run the farm improvisationally while anchored in the reality and history of my relationship to it—to the equipment, soil, crops, crew, weather and time. We have procedures which we honor and sometimes deviate from; standards that we uphold or make flexible; strategies that are fixed yet malleable.

I suppose it’s a bit like the rules of English grammar, for which I memorized a whole handbook when I was in grade school, mostly while I was milking, though some of it I memorized while waiting for loads of oats in the field to transport to our corn crib—now the farm office. Full disclosure is in order here: I actually studied the grammar rules while driving the loads of oats to the farmstead, a precursor to checking one’s phone today while driving.

Now I take creative liberties with writing, because I am anchored in grammar rules and convention.

my companion book that I memorized when I was in grade school

The Stage and the CSA

The stage in our barn came about through an unfolding imagination/improvisation tempered by a seasoned relationship to tools, materials and process. I would sit for 15 or 20 minutes every day in the loft as we were creating it and let the next round of imaginations come to me, informed by the infinity of the heavens and the limitations of earth. These imaginations I would convey to my veteran team of builders at the farm, Victor and Pollo, and they would proceed to manifest their earthly counterparts.

this stage is how your CSA farm manifests day after day, through the expanse of spirit (imagination) and the rigor of earth (rules)

Gratitude From a Shareholder 

“Dear Angelic Organics Team,

THANK YOU. THANK YOU ALL for the delicious produce. From the seeding, to the harvesting I know a lot of blood, sweat and tears go into every little plant you produce. My family and I appreciate tremendously the amount of work the team has done to get our order to us. And you NEVER disappoint. 

I will take every teensy bit (and I mean teensy there really isn’t much to even comment about, but I have to because of the people who live under a rock and complain about it) of dirt that comes with each vegetable I receive. Why? Because I know it’s safe, I am capable of washing it myself, I appreciate the time and energy put into the entire process generating outstanding results, and I am not a diva.

This gratitude extends to all of you workers. Leaving their home and family for so many months so they can make a decent living is remarkable. Please give them each a hug from me (virtual or real) thanking them for all they do. 

With gratitude,
Shareholder Kim Hanschman”


Mother: Look at that painting your sister did.

Son: Isn’t that a number painting?

Mother: She painted it; she painted it all herself.

Son: But, is that really painting, when you paint by numbers? 

Mother: Well, she painted it on her own.

Son: It’s not wrong that she painted by it numbers, but it’s not the same as painting it from scratch.

Farmer John


Farmer John Writes: Is it a Trade? A Craft? An Art?

Harvest Week 17, Deliveries of October 10th – 14th, 2023

The Office

Nathan, Haidy, and I reduced the backlog of customer service emails from over 300 to under 100. This challenge was suited for my determined (obsessive?) nature, although the whipsaw of types of emails and the volume rattle me. 

We plan to be completely caught up with customer service by the end of October. You might wonder why it will take us that long to process 100 past due emails; it’s because new ones pour in daily.

The Weather and the Crops

Frost early this week—well, what is a frost, really? It’s not exactly when the temperature drops to 32 degrees. Ice can crystallize on crops and damage them at higher temperatures than 32 degrees, if the air is damp and still. 

We treated last weekend as though there was going to be a frost. We harvested our winter squash and covered thousands of lettuce heads. The crew worked fast and hard. It didn’t quite freeze, but frost was nipping crops by early this week.

acorn squash harvest

Safeguarding Your Crops from Frost

now you see it

now you don’t

Seldom does the crew work on a Saturday afternoon, but they stepped up to save your crops from frost. (Butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash are especially sensitive to even light frosts.)

airborne spaghetti squash

acorn squash, before the big brr

Below is just another farming challenge; it makes for a good visual. I’m actually excited to right this wrong—a broken axle. We tarped the wagon in the field against the approaching frost.  

butternut squash squashed the wagon

We are offering tastes of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant this week. (We will even offer a few peppers for next week.) This means you are eating with the seasons—sort of. Also, spinach, arugula, mixed lettuce, and cilantro. There are still so many luscious crops out in the fields that will only be enhanced/sweetened by frosts, such as kale, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and bok choy…

Head Lettuce—we didn’t quite meet our quota of head lettuce this week. We will substitute mixed lettuce for the lack of head lettuce. I know that some shareholders prefer head lettuce, and we try to accommodate, but sometimes we fall short.

Free Basil—I forgot to offer basil for this week. I suppose I was half-forgetting and half doubting we would have it, considering the cold weather that was going to arrive. However, we harvested basil and I plan to give a free sample to everyone, since it was not offered for customization. Some of it was harvested as rain started to fall, though most of it was harvested before the rain. 

Basil does not like to be wet or cold. We dried the basil that had been rained on by spreading it out on large tables; it should get dry enough.

The basil is nice, but not pristine. Since it’s free, I do not want to see requests for refunds or complaints about quality—fair enough?

basil dries

Further Basil Comment—We had to harvest all the basil last Saturday. Normally, we would harvest 60% on Saturday for the Monday pack and 40% on Wednesday for the smaller Thursday pack. With frost and rain threatening this past weekend, we had to harvest the basil all at once. The basil might not keep well enough to give it at the end of the week. 

If you don’t receive free basil, we are not short-changing you. We really tried to give everyone a sample of free basil, but if it doesn’t keep well until our Thursday pack, you might not receive it. 

Okay, I know this is even more blunt than what I wrote above, but I am going to proactively write it anyway. If you don’t get your free basil, don’t write us to ask why you didn’t get a free substitute for the free basil that you didn’t receive because it didn’t hold up well in storage. Don’t write us that it is simply not fair that some shareholders got something for free and others didn’t. (Of course, most of you won’t.) Imagine providing customer service for people who clutter up our dedicated farming activities with complaints like this. Who ever decided that life is fair anyway?

Trade, Craft, Art?

Two weeks ago, I wrote The Art of Growing for Farm News. This week, I will focus on the growing of one crop, carrots. It’s a representation more or less of the sorts of skills and savvy required for our spectrum of crops at Angelic Organics. It might make you wonder if this kind of farming is a trade, a craft, an art, or a combination of these.

This from a shareholder recently:

“Each of the past three summers we’ve remarked that the farm produce simply couldn’t be better than the past year’s, and each year we’ve been happily wrong. Thanks to you and your crew for all the hard work! Can’t wait to see what the autumn will bring.”

Nice to be acknowledged like this. We always strive to do things better. Every day of farming offers us opportunities for improvement.

This issue of Farm News is not a tutorial on how to grow carrots. It’s merely an indication of what is required to manage the crops in general at Angelic Organics, in this case with a focus on carrots. There is considerably more that goes into tending our carrots than what you will read below. With most of our crops, all the way from seeding through packing them into your box, a lot of differentiated care is needed. 

This type of diversified farming is not for the faint of heart, nor for the sort who thinks that a farmer has rights. The farm is boss and that’s that.

A kitchen recipe might itemize certain tools in order to make the dish. Carrots also require certain tools to make carrots. We grow over 40 crops; many of the items below are of course used to grow other of our crops, just like your kitchen tools are often useful over a broad spectrum of recipes.

Required for a Good Carrot Crop 

  • carrot seed
  • good fertile soil
  • 130 hp tractor with front mounted 3 point hitch
  • RTK guidance system
  • 7 foot front mounted flail mower
  • subsoiler or chisel plow
  • rotovator
  • irrigation system capable of deliverying 200 gal per min
  • Allis G seeding tractor with Earthway Seeder
  • Allis G cultivating tractor with numerous shovel options for cultivation
  • Scott Viner Harvester with manual
  • carrot lifter
  • storage bins
  • wagons
  • wagon tractors
  • pickup trucks
  • fork truck
  • electric and manual pallet jacks
  • cooler
  • barrel washer and/or bunch washer
  • clover/alfalfa seeder to ensure soil fertility via prior seasons
  • 14 foot pull-type flail mower for controlling cover crop growth
  • Perfecta field cultivator for tillage for cover crops
  • grain drill for seeding forage peas in prior fall to ensure soil fertility
  • 9 person hard-working field crew
  • housing and van for our H-2A crew
  • 2 skilled tractor operators
  • field coordinator, strategist, choreographer (operations manager)

Just imagine researching the many options for purchasing the equipment above, making decisions to buy one from the many choices available, then procuring it, then integrating it into the farm organism while learning its capacities and limitations, all the while maintaining it and sometimes upgrading it.

It would be quite the sum to add up the costs of these inputs above. The danger in doing such is that people might decide that the farm is rolling in money, when a more correct interpretation is that it takes that kind of money to farm, and doesn’t leave much left over. I’ll throw out a number anyway: ballpark figure just for the machinery above—over one-half of a million dollars.

Our soil is a silty clay loam, not especially suitable for carrots; it is especially unsuitable for long carrots. We counteract this soil drawback by knifing slits into the soil exactly under where we will seed the carrots. We do this either with a chisel plow or a subsoiler, both equipped with long shanks. 

chisel plow with long shanks, enabling the carrots to grow deep

Check out Farm News, Week 11, 2020, Giving the Soil Wings, where I profiled our Unverferth Zone Builder (also referred to as a subsoiler or ripper). The Unverferth offers a method similar to the chisel plow for encouraging our carrots to go deep.

Unverferth Zone Builder (ripper, subsoiler)

We are able to place these slits very accurately in the growing bed, because we have a very precise global positioning system known as RTK or Real Time Kinematics. We knife through the soil with the tillage implement to an accuracy of plus or minus 1/2 inch. This RTK system is pricey; it helps us in numerous other ways in laying out beds and avoiding soil compaction, but its most dramatic impact is in growing carrots that are maybe twice as long as they would otherwise be.

RTK satellite receiver on top of cab

monitor in tractor cab shows grid of 6 ft wide beds laid over the fields for precision seeding of carrots

Victor lays the carrot seed 1/3″ to 1/2” deep in a narrow band over these slits in the soil, which, by the time he is seeding, have been obscured with light rotovator tillage to make sure that the seedbed is suitable for carrot germination. He guides his seeding tractor exactly in the wheel tracks of our RTK guided tractor to make sure he is placing the carrot seed accurately.

Victor seeds with an Allis G

Then we have the intricate job of weeding the carrots for many weeks, once they germinate. Pollo is our cultivator (mechanical weeding) operator, plus the crew does a lot of hand weeding of the carrots.

Then comes the harvest.

We have an elderly, rebuilt machine that should be able to harvest the carrots, known as the Scott Viner, but we were unable to use it this year, because of damp soil conditions. The soil dried out on the surface, but it stayed moist deeper down, and held tight to the carrots, making it next to impossible to extract them with the machine. 

Years ago, I had pretty much memorized from the Scott Viner manual the numerous strategic adjustments that could be made on the machine. Although I feel a certain amount of mastery over that machine, my knowledge was not a match for the sticky clay in our soil this fall.

Scott Viner harvester

In an attempt to mechanically dry the soil, Pollo went through the field with a shovel cultivator mounted on our Allis G (the same configuration with which he weeds the carrots when they are younger). We waited a couple days for the stirred soil to dry deeply, but, alas, the soil still refused to release the carrots to the Scott Viner. 

Sorry, I have no video of the Scott Viner not working. It was not the machine’s fault that it didn’t work…it just ripped the carrot fronds from the carrots because the long carrots were so embedded.

Allis G seeding tractor on left; cultivating tractor on right (which Pollo used to try to dry the carrot field)

So, we undercut the carrots with a heavy steel blade that our powerful John Deere pulls through the soil deep down, maybe 16 to 18 inches, heaving up the soil a bit, and making it more amenable to drying, while at the same time loosening the grip the soil has on the carrots. Then we tried out our Scott Viner again, but to no avail.


undercutter in action lifting carrots

All this attention was going onto the carrots while we were harvesting the 14 crops that would be going into the shares last week. Balancing a carrot harvest with the harvesting of the numerous other crops is part of the dance of growing a diversity of vegetables for your CSA. I’ll add that prior to the carrot harvest last week, we harvested many tons of potatoes and a couple tons of daikon radishes—again, while harvesting for your weekly share.

potato harvest

daikon radish harvest

You can see that the art or craft of this sort of farming has to expand over the whole range of crops simultaneously while demanding focus on specific challenging crops, such as the carrots. Everything has to happen within a timeframe; your boxes have to be packed on a designated afternoon, yet at the same time we also have to reach way into the future with harvest activities to safeguard crops from future mud or frost.

Harvesting the carrots with the Scott Viner would have taken a morning and 3 workers. We had to give up on the Scott Viner and have 11 people spend a full day on the harvest, incurring around $2,000 in labor costs.

long carrots

The crew harvested the carrots by hand, about 8 tons—beautiful long carrots to which the soil finally gave up its claim.

Ruben harvests carrots in foreground

Farm News from Red Acre Farm, The Weekly Weed

Many of you met the dynamic, charismatic contingent from Red Acre Farm, Cedar City, Utah, at our Field Day this fall—Sara and Symbria Patterson and their growing manager TK. Below is an excerpt from their recent weekly newsletter, in which Sara chronicles their visit to Angelic Organics. (I recently also chronicled their visit in Farm News, A Day of Heart.) You can subscribe to Red Acre’s Farm newsletter on their website.

I will note here one of many connections between the Pattersons and me: we love visiting farms. When I toured with the film about my farm and my life, The Real Dirt on Farmer John, directed by Taggart Siegel, I requested to visit a farm near the city of just about everywhere I showed the film. 

From Red Acre Farm’s newsletter, “The Weekly Weed”:

“Last week, we returned from another adventure. We planned a trip with TK in March when the ground was still frozen, there was less on our farming plate, and almost anything seemed possible. Once you get into the summer season and The Farm gets rolling, it’s hard to break away, actually almost impossible. This year, we made it a goal to go and see farms we have wanted to see for years during the growing season, not in winter when they’re all put to bed. Experiencing, seeing, visiting, and learning from other farms and farmers is so essential to our work. So, along the way to Illinois, we stopped at a few other biodynamic farms.

Angelic Farms in Caledonia, Illinois, was the final destination. Born and raised here, Farmer John has restored and used every building in artistic and expressive ways. Angelic Organics is a 70-acre organic and biodynamic vegetable farm. They grow only for their CSA. They have over 2000 shareholders to which they deliver their weekly or bi-weekly box of produce in the Chicago area—probably one of the country’s largest, if not the largest, CSA. The variety and number of crops, vegetables, fruit, flowers, and herbs grown in this quantity is astounding. The small-scale equipment, rare and as old as 1950, and systems he has created to clean, wash, and pack need to be seen in person to appreciate.

John loves farming, art, and people. On our last day there, Farmer John graciously gave his time to show TK his array of machines, tractors, and equipment. TK drove his first tractor. I hope he doesn’t get any ideas. We feel privileged to be one of their many friends. This farm, John and his wife Haidy, and coming here have contributed to my life as a farmer and what Red Acre is today.

Eleven years ago, I drove across the country to attend our first farm conference, a Biodynamic Conference. The first day was held at Angelic Organics Farm. I would meet Farmer John and his wife, Haidy, and we would become friends for life.

Over the years, we have visited each other’s farms, and John has mentored me. We have spoken together and will do so again at the November Biodynamic Conference in Colorado.

That drive eleven years ago as a young and beginning farmer, seeing what agriculture looked like across America, gave me a perspective that would change my life and shape my future. 

Recently, I, once again, drove across the country, excited to have TK with us. For him to see and experience, much to our detriment, the Midwest’s grand expanse of corn and soy that this country grows. Forty hours of driving and seeing mono-crops make you realize how rare diversified community farms are and how few are left in this country. Those who have changed, like Angelic Organics, or started small, diversified farms selling directly to their communities will vanish without their communities purchasing from them.

We spent the day with Angelic Farms’ 11 crew members in the fields. Bartolo, who has been there for eight years, Victor, who runs the crew and has been with John for 13 years. And Pollo, who has worked for John for 23 years. And eight H-2A workers from Mexico, of which only one speaks English. And they let us gringos work with them in the fields and then made us lunch! Delicious tacos and horchata.

It was amazing how efficient, humble, and beautiful this crew is—leaving families behind for six months to come to America to grow food for this community. Working with the people who really grow our food was a humbling experience—the men and women who perform back-breaking labor and sacrifice home and families in hopes of making life better.

John has had different crews over the years. Woofers, interns, locals, and once, he said he used to only hire people who he thought could be models (his commitment to aesthetics goes deep!). That is a story for another time. For the last three years, they have had an all-Hispanic crew. They have been John’s most efficient, productive, and no-nonsense crews in his 33 years of farming for CSA shareholders.

Culturally, we have made farming less glorified and revered than doctors, scientists, lawyers, or athletes. My appreciation and understanding after this trip has expanded for humans who decide to farm and who can work together as a crew. A farm only runs when dedicated, hard-working humans care about the land and what they are doing. But those who grow our food put the very sustenance onto our table that feeds our body and soul, something that we cannot live without, and this is considered a lowly job to most. Why!?

Please consider where your food comes from this holiday season and who grew and harvested that food.

~ Sara Patterson, Red Acre Farm”

Note by Farmer John: Sara is my hero, along with her mother Symbria and their growing manager TK.

Final thought, echoing Sara above:

Haidy and I drove into Chicago last Friday to renew Haidy’s Finnish passport at the Finnish Consulate in Kenilworth. Realizing that we were in the vicinity of the Baha’i Temple, we visited it, our first time. Upon entering  the visitor center, an affable Persian woman engaged us. 

I liked that I could illuminate this woman a bit on the agricultural influence Zarathustra (Zoroaster) had on his people thousands of years ago in Persia by encouraging them to bring light into the soil by turning it. (See Farm News, Week 8, Zarathustra and Roundup.)

When she found out that we farmed, she said, “Farmers are the most important people in the world. They put food on our tables. They provide us with sustenance. Today, farmers are not revered. Lawyers and doctors and celebrities are revered today—not farmers. This is wrong.”

To be sure, many of our shareholders hold their farm and their farmer in high esteem. A shareholder recently sent this email:

“Farmer John and soil comrades,
You all create so much wonder, nourishing wonderfully. In gratitude to you farmers and the rhythm of farming that supports so many in myriad ways. Carry on. Apologies for adding compliments to your slog sorting: Not needing a response ever and delighted always with the glorious bounty surprises arriving in our box along with these informative and entertaining email missives. Keep doing it!
Cheering you all on.”

Thank you, Dear Shareholder, for noticing.

Farmer John


Farmer John Writes: I Learned it in Spain

Harvest Week 16, Deliveries of October 3rd – 7th, 2023

The Cover Crops and the Weather

The fall peas are growing nicely in this warm weather after a few rains. They are adding to the fertility and soil life for next year’s crops.

field after field of fall peas

Community Supported Agriculture Confronts Consumerism

We got behind in customer service, way behind, due to understaffing and an astounding volume of customer emails. Nathan, Haidy and I are trying to slog our way out of this predicament. It’s tough, though, because every day many, many more emails arrive from shareholders. Sometimes a shareholder will even write daily for an answer, even though our automatic reply pleads for mercy. We process the current ones first, because once a ticket (customer email) ages, it becomes more and more cumbersome and time-consuming to process it. The aged ones, for the most part, have to wait, even though this might seem counterintuitive. We plan to be current with the backlog by the end of October. 

Customer service requires a range of skills and aptitudes from data management to communication skills to being deeply familiar with our shareholder management platform CSAware and our customer service platform Freshdesk. And, the person doing our customer service needs to know a lot about how our CSA program works, and how the farm works. Even the most seemingly simple administrative task for managing customer service can send me into a tailspin (and I already know a considerable amount about all of it and can type without looking at the keys), so it’s not something we can easily transfer to even a highly qualified candidate without proper and extensive ongoing training, which we are unable to offer until the season winds down.

You know that I am fanatical about timeliness with our crops. Get them in on time! The most important standard that one can apply to farming is timeliness, because that has the most chance of anything a farmer can do of creating bounty. Due to circumstances, we (and some of our shareholders) have suffered from lack of timeliness in our office. 

I have become the dispatcher of the emails. I assign them to Nathan, Haidy or myself. I see all the emails that come to email hidden; JavaScript is required. I am too busy to do this, but we have to catch up, so I am doing it. It’s good that I am doing it, because I see the types of concerns/requests that our shareholders have. Many of these are understandable and appreciated. Some make me realize that certain shareholders do not read Farm News, do not read anything that has to do with their CSA membership, and that would include the Shareholder Agreement, which includes: 

“I will read all emails from the farm and I will thoroughly read the popular weekly Farm News that is both emailed to me and included with each vegetable box that I receive.

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.”

Of course, many of the culpable shareholders will never read this issue of Farm News. 

The Shareholder Agreement also includes:

“Constructive criticism, tactfully presented, is welcomed by the farm, as the farm is always striving to improve its services to shareholders. I will only offer constructive criticism if I am current in reading farm communications, as my concerns are likely to already be addressed by the farm in its correspondence. 

The farm conducts all communications to shareholders with respect. I promise to also conduct all communications to the farm with respect. I know that the farm is on my side and wants the best possible outcome for my CSA experience. I will not be rude, mean or hostile in my communications with the farm.”

I have been informed by a few shareholders that they do not like to encounter negativity in Farm News (such as this commentary on customer service). Understood. However, I struggle with the volume of communication from shareholders that make it clear they are not playing their part in Community Supported Agriculture. I should not have to explain again and again in correspondence that we substitute crops if we have to, that there is a deadline for putting a hold on a box, that it is not the farm’s responsibility if a shareholder forgets to pick up their box, etc. 

It is an enormous task to deal with shareholders holding us to an impossibly high standard while they are not being the least bit accountable to their agreement as shareholders. If we grew crops without accountability, there would be no farm. If shareholders engage no accountability to their agreement for joining our CSA…well, I am not sure how to handle it. I suppose I should just freely cancel them, but then we have already used their money to put in the crops for their share. Cancel them with no refund, I suppose, as they agreed to uphold their agreement and they didn’t. 

Maybe this is the answer, just cancel shareholders who don’t keep their agreement and offer no refund. Maybe one warning. Maybe none. I would rather be growing your crops than spending my precious time placating unaccountable shareholders. I’m sure it does not sit well with those many of you who are fabulous, responsible, respectful, and appreciative members of our CSA that I am way too diverted in my focus and emotions into correspondence with shareholders who are not properly engaging our CSA—not keeping their agreement.

Here is an example of the kind of situation that might populate shareholder emails to the farm: Lettuce—we had to substitute lettuce mix for head lettuce last week because of weather circumstances. It turns out that some of our shareholders simply do not want lettuce mix, and this registers in customer service as complaints. However, we had no head lettuce to offer, the sort of situation that occurs from time to time because we are a farm, not a store. If you don’t want to accept, even embrace, substitutions, you should not be part of our CSA, as occasional substitutions are unavoidable.

I’ll close this section with an ironic observation: Here at the farm, we live hour after hour, week after week, season after season into planning and growing and safeguarding your crops. It is our way of being in life—committed and engaged. Some of our shareholders clearly do not invest in the slightest in their agreement to read the updates about their CSA, yet they hold us to an impossibly high standard, demanding services that we never agreed to and cannot possibly provide. Hmph! to that. 

A sincere thanks to the majority of you shareholders who love and honor our CSA.

The Crops

This week, it seems that we will be blessed with warm dry weather through Wednesday. Beyond our regular harvesting, we hope to get our potatoes, daikon radishes, and carrots out of the ground. Later, the fields don’t really dry after rain, which makes the harvesting of root crops somewhere from challenging to impossible.

Faster than a disgruntled shareholder can reach for her phone to submit a blistering complaint, we will mobilize the crew and the equipment to extricate tens of thousands of pounds of your beloved fall crops to safety.

Spinach—if you ordered spinach this week, it probably has weeds in it—some, not a lot. However, it was taking our crew too long to get the weeds out, so I decided to ask our shareholders to sort out the weeds. Is that a little like volunteering? 

Bok Choy—splendid.

Mayra and Maythe wash bok choy

Brussels Sprouts tops—wow, very popular with our shareholders. One person wrote and said, “I ordered Brussels sprouts and got something else, some leafy things. I don’t want them. They’re only good for the compost.” Well, this sort of thing unfortunately happens, in spite of there being a photo of Brussels Sprouts tops in the customization section plus the descriptive word Tops. Topping the Brussels sprouts should result in bigger sprouts for you soon.

This week, we don’t have enough Brussels sprouts tops to satisfy all the customization orders. We will therefore substitute actual sprouts on the stalks for some of you—a picturesque, sort of primitive presentation. Normally, we don’t give Brussels sprouts until they experience a few sweetening frosts, but in this case, because we substitute with a like crop as best we can, we will substitute with actual sprouts.

Peppers—lots of peppers to give this week; some of them have turned color—unusual to have peppers in early October, but not unprecedented.

columns of sweet peppers

Eggplant in October—huh? Is that the name of a song? 


Kohlrabi—lots of them and lovely.

Not yet: fall beets and lettuce—went in the ground late, so we are covering these crops with row cover to capture heat. This will trick them into thinking they are 200 miles south of here with correspondingly higher temperatures.

Will this lettuce make heads by frost? Might, if covered.

Soon: More potatoes. Carrots. Daikon radishes—looks like a great yield for the Daikons…might even offer the tops, though they are looking a bit frayed, so that decision will come later. 

There’s more not mentioned above for this week and, of course, more to come in future weeks.

Tall Table Tapas Tip

A woman volunteered to help us pack last Thursday—her first time. She had spent maybe 10 years in Spain, I found out, because I am curious and blunt. She had decided to track down a farm where she could volunteer. She had never been on a farm before, so I really didn’t know what to make of this impulse to be on a farm, her never having been on a farm. It did seem exotic to have a woman from Spain on a farm for the first time.

I was thrown back to my time in the Mediterranean countries, the passion, the drama, the night life, tears, hugs, the hospitality, the emphasis on living over working.

Farmer John: “I presented a film about my life and the farm, The Real Dirt on Farmer John in Valladolid—beautiful old city, a former capital of Spain, crumbling a bit now.”

Volunteer: “Ah, yes, a wonderful old city.”

Back story: I was assigned a personal handler in Valladolid, which didn’t often happen at film festivals, and I think the director of the film, Taggart Siegel, got his own handler too. Or maybe we shared a handler. I can’t quite remember. Anyway, this handler showed us the night life in Valladolid, which of course included visiting a tapas bar. (For those unfamiliar with the term, a tapas bar is a place where snacks or appetizers are served, especially with drinks.)


Farmer John: “I loved it in Valladolid, even though I was only there for a couple days—incredibly friendly people. We were flooded with hospitality, drinks, food, and questions. I learned something very important at the tapas bar I went to: no sitting on chairs at tables, only standing at the tall tables—that’s the way to mingle. You can’t mingle sitting down. You meet a ton of people while standing and mingling, hardly anyone when sitting.”

I’d kind of realized this earlier, when I would invite members of the film audience to a nearby bar, where especially the ones who were too bashful to raise their hands in the Q&A at the theater would say (sometimes whisper) what they needed to say at the bar. But, since I was the subject of the film, I was always invited to sit at a table, which meant no mingling. Sitting is not mingling. I usually wouldn’t sit; I would stand at the bar and let people come up to me.

In Valladolid it crystallized—the importance of the tall tables and standing at one. Vibrant social life revolves a bit around tall tables. It’s important to always have the option to remain in conversation at a table or graciously excuse oneself and go stand at another table, then another. (Sometimes, there are stools at the tall tables, but it is also easy to mobilize from a tall stool, vs a chair.) 

Why might I leave a table, you might ask? Too opinionated, too dogmatic, too loud. (I mean the others at the table, not me, of course.) I would also leave if we didn’t share a language, or if there were people at other tall tables looking my way wistfully, or if they were just plainly beckoning me.

tapas bar conviviality: stock image of standing in Valladolid tapas bar

At my recent class reunion at Beloit College, there were a few tall tables where people mingled, and many regular tables where people sat for the whole evening, inattentive to their former classmates plunked at other tables. Of course, sitting at tables for dining can be the perfect way to socialize around food; these things always depend.

If airlines adopted the tapas bar model—imagine all the people you could meet (or graciously avoid) on a flight until the plane hit turbulence.

Is this tall table tip about food? Sort of. It’s a socializing tip around food, and food is about socializing.

Farmer John


Farmer John Writes: A Day of Heart

Harvest Week 15, Deliveries of September 26th – 30th, 2023

I normally wouldn’t share a timeline such as below in Farm News. It’s a little like what a person might write to their relatives on the back a huge postcard about their trip to the Grand Canyon, but I am nevertheless recounting it, because the end of last week was a spectacle unfurling in both slow and rapid motion. This was due to an immense harvest to manage, setting up for the Field Day and hosting it, and the whirlwind of the Patterson contingent visiting. Sara Patterson in particular is a force of nature that I can barely fathom.

(Unfortunately, my wife Haidy was ill this past weekend, so that is why you don’t see her in this issue of Farm News.)

Sara and Farmer John

Last Thursday

Early afternoon, Sara and Symbria Patterson and their growing manager TK arrived at Angelic Organics. Sara’s terms shared before the visit: they will make all the meals; they will get a tour of our equipment; they get to work in the fields. 

They watched the pack for a little bit. Then I showed them around the farmstead, keeping TK especially in mind, since this was his first visit to the farm.

Sara made potato leek celeriac soup, biscuits and cookies for supper that evening.


On the Friday before the Field Day, Sara and TK, with the crew, harvested radishes, kale, celeriac, thyme, lettuce mix, chard, pumpkins, and gourds, then washed pumpkins. 

“You let us gringos work with the crew!” Sara exclaimed. “I hope we didn’t slow them down.”

“You didn’t,” I reassured Sara.

At noon that Friday, Sara, Symbria, TK, and our spirited crew enjoyed a meal of tacos with horchata, made by H-2A crew members Ruben, Mayra and Maythe.  

The meal was followed by a gathering in our barn theater, where Sara shared the history of Red Acre Farm along with strong images of its metamorphosis since she started it up 14 years ago when she was 14. (It’s worth clicking on the Red Acre link and poking around their earthly and otherworldly farm.) 

Sara narrates from the back of the theater as our crew learns about Red Acre Farm

I showed video clips of the crew working throughout the season (and partying one night). TK projected pastoral photos of H-2A worker Maythe’s family farm in southern Oaxaca.

As dusk arrived, Sara and TK set out to harvest flowers, cornstalks and squash for decorating the buildings for the Field Day. TK helped for a while, then retired to bed, and Sara characteristically kept going until 1 on the morning, harvesting and decorating with a flashlight. (Was the flashlight strapped to her head? I’m not sure. Phone taped to her head? Not sure.)


decorated barn stage (not decorated in the dark)

Next morning, we woke up to a beautifully decorated farmstead, and peach pies for everybody made by Sara with peaches from a tree in Pollo’s yard that he planted years ago.

The Field Day, Saturday

Some of the crew scrambled to harvest crops for the upcoming pack, and everyone else, including Sara and TK, scrambled to get ready for the big event.

Sara later recounted, “you wouldn’t let TK and me harvest on Saturday. You said we had to help set up.” (Setting up that morning was a very big project before guests started arriving at 10:45.)

Longtime pack volunteers Liza and Mary came out early to make even more bouquets, beyond those that Sara had fashioned the previous night.

Our Field Day was fabulous. We had a wonderful turnout on a warm sunny day—a huge surge of shareholders compared to Field Days in recent years.

Great food for the potluck. Delicious desserts.

a sprawl of shareholders at tables under the maple tree and on blankets

Learn more about the now stately maple tree by clicking on What Are You Going to Do with that Stick?, a story which I first wrote for Farm News in September, 1994.

Farmer John expresses himself

2 haywagons leave the farmstead, 2nd one pulled by Don Glasenapp

Pack volunteer coordinator Don Glasenapp and I did 4 hayrides.

Community singing led by shareholder Megan Eberhardt was most energizing and bonding. It permeated our guests with joy and a feeling of togetherness. 

Megan meets the music

As the stage presentation was starting, spirited pack volunteers Bill and Cathy took kids out to the field to look for potato treasures—exciting time for the kids, digging in the dirt.

practicing for digging potatoes

Bill (right) teaches potato digging

On the stage, charismatic Sara Patterson presented beautifully about her farm in Southern Utah. Sara’s mother Symbria moderated the ensuing discussion between Sara and me with grace and wit. And…it was a bit of a comedy show—unrehearsed, lively and rambunctious. 

Symbria, Sara and Farmer John entertain/educate on the barn stage

Shareholders in the audience were most attentive, and there wers many questions and comments from the audience, such as:

“It’s been great to see the farm grow and unfold during the 30 years I have been a shareholder.”

“How can we help the farm?”

“What is organic farming?”

“What about plastic mulch?”

“Why do you do this?”

“What’s your least favorite thing about farming?”

Sara and Farmer John: too hard, finding shareholders, keeping people happy, dealing with complaints, discounting shares. 

“What is your most favorite thing?”

Sara: building community.

Farmer John: dealing with infinity.

As the Field Day was winding down, Jonathan, a new shareholder this year, approached me to discuss Rudolf Steiner, a topic dear to my heart (as you may have noticed). Jonathan encountered Steiner a year or so ago. Jonathan and I marveled at the extraordinary impact that Steiner’s work has had on our lives. This engagement with the focus on Steiner led to an even more glorious ending to the Field Day, as we and Jonathan’s partner and a longtime shareholder Chris discussed the importance of bringing people together, of building community, of people feeling seen, and of seeing the other.

The Field Day was a Day of Heart.


German pancake breakfast artistry by Sara

On Sunday, after the joy of breakfast, I showed TK and the Pattersons the farm equipment. They mostly do their farm work with hand tools and muscle power. 

TK drove a tractor for the first time ever.

TK, Farmer John, Symbria and Sara say “Goodbye…it was fun!”

Snickerdoodles left behind by the Pattersons for starting the week.(The stack started out a lot higher.)

The Crops

Radishes—the radishes sized up fast. They’ll do that.

radish rapture

Lettuce—last week, we had to substitute head lettuce for lettuce mix, because the fields were so wet and we could not harvest the lettuce mix. This week, by dodging the rain, we are luckily able to harvest the lettuce mix to substitute for the head lettuce we offered.

Spinach—we were fortunate to be able to harvest a beautiful spinach crop with our greens machine, by dodging the rain.

Brussels Sprouts Tops—more sprouts tops were ordered this week than spinach or lettuce. Wow.

Next week—broccoli, bok choy, kohlrabi, pie pumpkins and more, of course, but these itemized crops seem so distinctly transitional to fall.

Upcoming Weather

Late September often brings rains. Our crops that are embedded in the earth are carrots, daikon radishes and potatoes. We will jump at the first opportunity to harvest these precious crops. Now it’s a race with weather.

Of course, there is another weather event that will likely arrive in the next couple weeks. Most of our crops still in the field can withstand at least a mild frost…


After the Q&A on the stage, an Angelic Organics shareholder couple said to Sara and Symbria, “When we retire, we would like to come to Cedar City to live and become part of your farm.” 

Is that poaching? Maybe not, since the Pattersons say they didn’t instigate it.

I sort of playfully offered TK a job here.

Is that poaching? 

I said I did it playfully.

Farmer John