Welcome to our 5th Harvest Week. July 9 (Wed Delivery)

Welcome to our 5th Harvest Week

A Special Welcome to those joining us for a 16 week share

You’re in for a season of great vegetables and herbs. Make sure to sign up for the free recipe service at www.localthyme.net/register. Enter the farm code AOLTFREE under “My Farm Sent Me A Code.”

Farmer John invites you to our Open House, Saturday, July 19,featuring Farm Travel Adventures and The Selfish Giant, a Puppet Play by Blair Thomas.

The Weather: Wind and Rain

Take extra care washing your salad greens and lettuce. We’ve had lots of rain recently, splashing mud onto the greens. We had the worst wind storm that I can remember last Monday night, along with over 2 inches of rain. It laid one variety of corn flat, but the resilient stalks have since picked themselves up and are now forming ears. The wind also snapped off a few zucchini, eggplant and pepper plants…nothing major, but humbling. The power went out. We rented a generator to keep things going.

The Work

Weeded and weeded…the rain makes the weeds grow at about twice their normal pace. Transplanted lettuce and fall cabbage. Mowed field lanes and cover crops. Graded main driveway. Trellised tomatoes. Fixed things. Continued the milkhouse re-construction. Harvested and harvested.

We harvested the last patch of scallions last week.

We harvested the last patch of scallions last week.

The Crops…

Cucumbers have come on strong. Carrots are sweet and now ready for your box. Cabbage is ready. Lettuce has been sweet and fluffy.

Matt notices that the boxes keep coming and coming

Matt notices that the boxes keep coming and coming

 

More from Shareholders

Visit us often at www.facebook.com/angelicorganics, where we post exciting farm developments regularly, and shareholders post recipes, tips, and photos.

Join Us

7th annual Peak Harvest Farm Dinner Benefit for Angelic Organics Learning Center

Saturday, July 26, 2014  5PM – 9PM

Check out the insert about the dinner in this week’s newsletter.
The benefit is a lot of fun and for a great cause.

http://www.learngrowconnect.org/farmdinner

Saturday, July 19: Summer Open House at Angelic Organics,

featuring a Puppet Play and Farm Travel Adventures

Note: With the I-90 construction from Elgin to the Rockton Road exit, expect that 45 mile portion of the drive to take over an hour.

11 to 12:30: Arrive (park along the drive), Mingling, Hayrides, Puppet Show & Farm Travel Bring the kids (but unfortunately you can’t bring your pets). There will be hayrides before lunch– hop on to the fields and see everything growing. Travel the farm. See a puppet show. Pick peas, beans and flowers in our U-Pick Garden. (It’s usually extra busy here before 11, so we don’t recommend showing up early.)

11:30 – 12:15: The Selfish Giant Puppet Play in the Woods at the Learning Center Campground. A puppet play for all ages by two Chicago Theater Icons, Blair Thomas and singer-song writer, Michael Smith.

selfish giant

Original puppets and music tell the story of a grumpy old giant who forbids the children in his village from playing in his beautiful garden. After the children are locked out, the trees and flowers refuse to grow and the garden plunges into an eternal winter. Then one morning, the children sneak back into the garden, bringing with them the joyous rebirth of spring.

Farm Travel! Travel the farm with your Farm Fun Passport on July 19! We’ll stamp your passport as you take a hayride through the fields, and you meet the goats, pigs, and chickens.

Stop by the Learning Center for a delicious taste of farm-fresh goat’s milk ice cream.

goat milk

12:30 to 1:30 ; Potluck: please bring a large dish to pass

* The dishes at past open houses have always been phenomenal, but sometimes we run short on food–this is not to be on a farm that is all about food! Please bring a dish that will serve at least 15.

* Farmer John & the hard-working crew say that more desserts would be appreciated.

* Please bring the recipe that goes with your dish; recipes accompanying dishes are a hit. Put your name & your delivery site on the recipe, so admirers can track you down & lavish you with praise. (10 copies on 3×5 cards would be great.)

* Please bring your own place settings & beverage. We furnish some tables and chairs. Please consider bringing a blanket on which to picnic, so we don’t have to provide so many chairs.

1:45 to 2:30: CSA Meeting Offer suggestions about food & farming.

2:45 to 3:30: The Selfish Giant Puppet Play in the Woods at the Learning Center Campground

3 pm to 4 pm: One More Hayride

Warmly,

Farmer John, The Farm Crew and the Staff of the Angelic Organics Learning Center

Box Contents

Please Note: This summary is written before you receive your box—please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables

Lettuce

Mizuna

Swiss Chard

Cucumbers

Cabbage

Kohlrabi

Summer Squash/Zuchinni

Carrots

Sage

Garlic Scapes

Welcome to our 4th Harvest Week. July 2 (Wed Delivery)

Welcome to our 4th Harvest Week

Farmer John Invites you to our Open House, Saturday, July 19, featuring Farm Travel Adventures and Fabulous Crops.

The Weather
Take extra care washing your salad greens and lettuce. Lots of rain recently, splashing mud onto the greens. Of course, the rain does more than splash mud; it has created ideal growing conditions for (y)our crops.

The Work

Andrew Stewart accuses the paparazzi of slowing down the mizuna harvest.

Andrew Stewart accuses the paparazzi of slowing down the mizuna harvest.

The Crops…Gone Green Long Enough?
Some people are crazy about green, leafy vegetables whenever; some people love them to a point. Yes, we know there are lots of leafy greens in your first few boxes. Think of it as spring cleaning.

Spring Lettuce

Spring Lettuce

Soon, cucumbers will be tumbling into your box…yes, they are green, but they are not leafy. You should receive a creamy cauliflower in a week or two, and a couple of cabbages (leafy, but solid.)  And shortly after, there will be a trickle of tomatoes, followed by a torrent. And peppers, eggplant, watermelon, and sweet corn! Yes, sweet corn is tasseling a bit early this season, due to the rain and heat, which means it should be ready for harvest in Week 7…that’s 3 weeks from when you read this. Silks are already forming on the ears, so picture the wondrous process of ears developing over the next three weeks, graced with rows of full, luscious kernels. We have had several years recently when the crops have been looking good, but they have never looked this good in my 25 years of raising vegetables!

More from Shareholders
Visit us often at www.facebook.com/angelicorganics , where we post exciting farm developments regularly, and shareholders post recipes, tips, and photos.

7th annual Peak Harvest Farm Dinner Benefit for the Angelic Organics Learning Center

Saturday, July 26, 2014 5:00PM – 9:00PM

http://www.learngrowconnect.org/farmdinner

Warmly,
Farmer John

Saturday, July 19: Farm Open House


It’s time for the Open House at Angelic Organics, featuring Farm Travel Adventures and Fabulous Crops!

11 am to 12:15 pm: Arrive (park along the drive), Mingle, Hayrides, & Farm Travel. Bring the kids (but unfortunately you can’t bring your pets). There will be hayrides before lunch– hop on to the fields and see everything growing. Travel the farm with your Farm Fun Passport. Pick peas, beans and flowers in our U-Pick Garden. (It’s usually extra busy here before 11, so we don’t recommend showing up early. However, due to extensive interstate construction, anticipate a longer drive than usual.)

Farm Travel! Travel the farm with your Farm Fun Passport on July 19! We’ll stamp your passport as you take a hayride through the fields, and you meet the goats, pigs, and chickens. Stop by the Learning Center for a delicious taste of farm-fresh goat’s milk ice cream.

Farm Travel!
Travel the farm with your Farm Fun Passport on July 19! We’ll stamp your passport as you take a hayride through the fields, and you meet the goats, pigs, and chickens. Stop by the Learning Center for a delicious taste of farm-fresh goat’s milk ice cream.

12:30 pm to 1:30 pm: Potluck: please bring a large dish to pass
* The dishes at past open houses have always been phenomenal, but sometimes we run short on food–this is not to be on a farm that is all about food! Please bring a dish that will serve at least 15.
* Farmer John & the crew say that more desserts would be appreciated.
* Please bring the recipe that goes with your dish; recipes accompanying dishes are a hit. Put your name & your delivery site on the recipe, so admirers can track you down & lavish you with praise. (10 copies on 3×5 cards would be great.)
* Please bring your own place settings & beverage. We furnish some tables and chairs, but consider bringing a blanket on which to picnic, so we don’t have to provide so many chairs.

1:45 pm to 2:30 pm: CSA Meeting – Offer suggestions about food & farming.

3 pm to 4 pm: Animal Tour and One More Hayride

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Farmer John, The Farm Crew and the Staff of the Angelic Organics Learning Center

Box Contents

Please Note: This summary is written before you receive your box—please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

Lettuce
Arugula
Kale
Basil
Broccoli
Beets
Summer Squash/Zuchinni
Garlic Scapes

Welcome to our 3rd Harvest Week. Jun 25 (Wed Delivery)

Welcome to our 3rd Harvest Week

Farmer John Writes  Weather, Work, and Weeds

The Weather
Take extra care washing your salad greens and lettuce. Lots of rain this past week, splashing mud onto the greens. It started on Tuesday, and kept going much of the time through Saturday…inches of rain. Because we subsoil (deep till) our beds and don’t drive on the beds (we straddle them), our clay soil drains quite well. We don’t have water pooling in the fields, and the crops are growing at a pace I have never seen before.

Morning mist rises from our wet potato fields. Within a week, we won't be able to see the soil between these potato plants; the potato vines will have completely filled in the spaces between the rows.

Morning mist rises from our wet potato fields. Within a week, we won’t be able to see the soil between these potato plants; the potato vines will have completely filled in the spaces between the rows.

The Work
Last Monday we had our annual organic inspection; it lasted most of the day. We keep thorough records of our inputs, yields, varieties, and practices to ensure that our crops are grown according to organic standards. Certification takes place upon review of the inspector’s report by MOSA (Midwest Organic Services Association). The inspector seemed quite pleased by our records and practices, so we do not anticipate any problem in continuing with our organic status.

(from left) Growing Manager Chris Voss, Organic Crop Inspector Mary Wilson, and Fertility Manager Andrew Stewart review 2013 Angelic Organics organic growing records and 2014 projections.

(from left) Growing Manager Chris Voss, Organic Crop Inspector Mary Wilson, and Fertility Manager Andrew Stewart review 2013 Angelic Organics organic growing records and 2014 projections.

Of course, the work didn’t stop with the organic inspection. We packed, harvested, hand weeded, hoed, trellised, bunched, bagged, washed and delivered vegetables, repaired trucks, patched wooden bins and cribs, fixed pallet jacks, mowed cover crops and driveways, mechanically cultivated weeds, hilled potatoes, seeded fall crops in the greenhouse, tended the farmstead flower gardens, trimmed weeds, repaired a cooling system, resumed construction on our milkhouse …oh, yeah… and organized the laundry room. This was a typical week’s work.

The Crops and What about the Weeds?
We can see the changes in the crops daily, as the potatoes, cucumbers, melons, and squash sprawl incessantly and the corn bursts skyward.

Weeds also grow fast when it rains, but so far, our relentless standards for weed control are triumphing. How do we outwit the weeds? Hand pulling; hand hoeing; stale seedbedding; hilling, power-wiggle-hoeing (our farm staff coined this term); three-row, two-row and one-row mechanical cultivating; tine weeding. (I would happily elaborate on these methods, but space and time are limited.) Our goal is to not let weeds go to seed, so they won’t contribute to the weed population in the following year. We strive to eradicate the weeds before we can even see them. Some growers are so daunted by weeds that they decide to co-exist with them. At Angelic Organics, we aren’t that hospitable to the weeds.

Sweet Corn. The few weeds you see in this photo will probably be gone by the time you are reading this newsletter.

Sweet Corn. The few weeds you see in this photo will probably be gone by the time you are reading this newsletter.

Summer Solstice Birthdays at the Farm
We celebrated the June 21 birthdays of Angelic Organics employees Jeff Robare, Margaret Nelson, and 5 cats.

Three years ago, on the afternoon of the Summer Solstice, our iconic cat SpennyTheWenny crawled up on Haidy’s lap and gave birth to 5 wondrous kittens.

(from left to right) Blossom, Peanut Squeanut Pants, Whiskey the Baby Doughnut, Pancake Joe & Gatita Peanut Squeanut Pants and Whiskey the Baby Doughnut still live with Haidy and me, along with their Uncle Darleney the Doughnut Elder (we thought he was a girl at first) and the occasional guest George Porridge Storage. Gatita lives across the road with Primo and family.

(from left to right) Blossom, Peanut Squeanut Pants, Whiskey the Baby Doughnut, Pancake Joe & Gatita
Peanut Squeanut Pants and Whiskey the Baby Doughnut still live with Haidy and me, along with their Uncle Darleney the Doughnut Elder (we thought he was a girl at first) and the occasional guest George Porridge Storage. Gatita lives across the road with Primo and family.

Sign up for the Free Recipe Service!

Make sure you sign up for the Local Thyme recipe service we offer with this year’s share. It received many great reviews from our shareholders last season. Sign up at http://www.localthyme.net/register. Enter the farm code (found in the newsletter in your box) under “I belong to a CSA.”

Let us Know
Let Shelly know anything you’d like to share about this week’s box csa@angelicorganics.com . Please note the week and day of delivery, your site, when you picked up your box, and any comments about your box.

Open House, Saturday, July 19 & Saturday, Sept 20
Keep your calendar open for our farm open house on Saturday, July 19 and Saturday, Sept 20 . Kids love seeing their farm, and so do their parents. More details soon.

More from Shareholders
Visit us often at www.facebook.com/angelicorganics , where we post exciting farm developments regularly, and shareholders post recipes, tips, and photos.

7th annual Peak Harvest Farm Dinner Benefit for the Angelic Organics Learning Center

Saturday, July 26, 2014 5:00PM – 9:00PM

http://www.learngrowconnect.org/farmdinner

farmdinner_red_sign_chair_500x245px

You can purchase tickets for a special seating with my wife Haidy and me:
Farmer John’s Table: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/685357
$500.00 per seat. A once in a lifetime experience to sit at a table with Farmer John. Only eight seats available (and includes a ride to and from Chicago with cocktail reception, if needed).

Upon learning about the ticket fee for this table, my sister said to Haidy, “WHAT? I would pay 50 cents to sit next to John. I’d pay $500 to sit next to you, Haidy.

This is a confusing bidding war.

Warmly,
Farmer John

Box Contents

Please Note: This summary is written before you receive your box—please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

Lettuce
Mizuna
Chinese Cabbage
Red Pac Choi
Scallions
Broccoli
Turnips
Beets
Parsley
Summer Squash/Zucchini

Adventures at the Angelic Organics Learning Center
Angelic Organics Learning Center is an exciting and engaging place to learn about food, farming, and caring for the earth. Sign up for a hands-on farm workshop now at http://www.learngrowconnect.org/events .

Welcome to our 2nd Harvest Week, our 24th Season as a Biodynamic CSA Farm! Jun 18 (Wed Delivery)

Welcome to our 2nd Harvest Week, our 24th Season as a Biodynamic CSA Farm!
For those of you receiving a half share this week, we hope that you enjoy your first box of the season.

Farmer John Writes Why You Have a Farm.

Why You Have a Farm
You have a farm supplying your vegetable and herbs today because of my mom, Anna Peterson Porter. She loved the farm and she supported it in any way she could.
She passed away in 1998. Some of you knew her.

I saw a worker hoeing a thistle on Saturday. I said to her, “if my mom saw a thistle patch, she ran and got her hoe, and started hacking away at them until they were all gone.”

A plumber came out a while back to do some repairs. He’s my age, 65. We were walking past the farmhouse and he said, “I had your mom for a teacher in grade school. I still carry her in my heart.” He said it in those exact words.

I went to a friend’s high school graduation party last weekend. Several of her aunts were there. One after another, they talked about my mom, who had been their grade school teacher in the 50’s. One of them said, “I was very lucky. She changed my whole relationship to reading.”

On Saturday, I went to a visitation at a funeral home for a neighbor. His daughter was there. I had not seen her in maybe 60 years. She said, “We used to come to your farm a lot when we were little. You had a big tire swing in your yard. I remember your mom vividly. She was most special. I can still hear exactly what her voice sounded like.”

My wife Haidy and I live in the renovated Bamlett Schoolhouse across from the farm. My mom taught there in the 30’s, when it was a one room school. A student of hers told me, “after school, she ran down that quarter-mile driveway to the farm lickety-split, so she could harvest a load of ear corn by hand before dark.”

If you ever met Anna, you probably still remember her. There would be no farm today, if not for her.

Anna Peterson Porter loved fields of corn

Anna Peterson Porter loved fields of corn

The Weather

Heavy Rains
Rains pounded our fields early this week, splashing mud on the lettuce, and to a lesser degree, other leafy greens. We don’t wash the head lettuce, because it’s a tremendous job to wash it and then have it drip-dry to the right moisture level over the next many hours. Also, many of the lettuce varieties we grow are delicate, and the extra handling from washing can mangle the outer leaves. So, please take extra care washing the lovely soil from your farm off of your lettuce leaves.

Spring Lettuce

Spring Lettuce

Sometimes we Bag the Lettuce
If the delivery day is going to be hot, say over 82 degrees or so, we bag your lettuce to help it retain it’s coolness and moisture. We don’t love using the extra plastic bag for your lettuce, but we want your lettuce to arrive as fresh and cool as possible.

We’ve enjoyed perfect growing conditions for the early crops: lettuce, broccoli, pea shoots, spinach,
radishes, and turnips.

Cabbage has flourished in the cool spring. It needs a bit more time before it's ready for your box

Cabbage has flourished in the cool spring. It needs a bit more time before it’s ready for your box

The Work
We always have you, the shareholder, in mind, when approaching the work–how to make sure you receive a full box of nutritious vegetables week after week. There is a possibility of heavy thunderstorms this week. If we get to the necessary fieldwork before the storms, we’re fine. If the storms come first, and we are not current in weeding, seeding, trellising, transplanting, and hilling, by the time we can get back into the fields, we have a messy backlog of work on our hands. At Angelic Organics, we strive to always be a little bit early with our work, to outfox the weather. This past week, we ramped up our field activity, because of the threat of storms. We weeded winter squash, melons, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts, and carrots, transplanted lettuce, seeded cover crops, trellised tomatoes, prepared fields for transplanting fall broccoli and cabbage, mowed established cover crops and driveways, and hilled potatoes, all the while harvesting for and packing hundreds of CSA boxes.

Andrew Stewart seeds sudan grass, timothy, alfalfa, clover and tillage turnips for soil fertility

Andrew Stewart seeds sudan grass, timothy, alfalfa, clover and tillage turnips for soil fertility

The Crops
Everywhere we look on the farm, the crops are flourishing!

Spires of Scallions

Spires of Scallions

Sign up for the Free Recipe Service!

Make sure you sign up for the Local Thyme recipe service we offer with this year’s share. It received many great reviews from our shareholders last season. Sign up at http://www.localthyme.net/register. Enter the farm code (found in the newsletter in your box) under “I belong to a CSA.”

Let us Know
Let Shelly know anything you’d like to share about this week’s box csa@angelicorganics.com . Please note the week and day of delivery, your site, when you picked up your box, and any comments about your box.

Want to Contribute to Farm News?
If you’d like to submit a story (600 to 800 words) about your shareholder experience, farm volunteering, a Learning Center program you loved, or your hosting of a delivery site, send it to margaret@angelicorganics.com with the subject: My Submission to Farm News. Photos are also welcome.

Please Fold Your Boxes Properly and Return Them to Your Site
The farm re-uses the vegetable boxes. Flaps are easily torn when the boxes are dismantled improperly, and then the box bottom might later burst open with fresh, organic local produce heading towards the floor. Please return your empty, flattened vegetable boxes to your delivery site.

Open House, Saturday, July 19 & Saturday, Sept 20
Keep your calendar open for our farm open house on Saturday, July 19 and Saturday, Sept 20 . Kids love seeing their farm, and so do their parents. More details soon.

More from Shareholders
Visit us often at www.facebook.com/angelicorganics , where we post exciting farm developments regularly, and shareholders post recipes, tips, and photos.

Warmly,
Farmer John

Box Contents

Please Note: This summary is written before you receive your box—please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

Spinach
Radishes
Broccoli
Lettuce
Scallions
Pac Choi
Kale
Dill
Summer Squash/Zucchini

Adventures at the Angelic Organics Learning Center
Angelic Organics Learning Center is an exciting and engaging place to learn about food, farming, and caring for the earth. Sign up for a hands-on farm workshop now. http://www.learngrowconnect.org/events

Welcome to our First Harvest Week, our 24th Season as a Biodynamic CSA Farm! Jun 11 (Wed Delivery)

Welcome to our First Harvest Week, our 24th Season as a Biodynamic CSA Farm, Wed Delivery

 Farmer John Writes: You Have a Farm

You Have a Farm
Thank you for joining our farm. As a shareholder, remember that you now have a farm. Weather is happening on your farm, work is taking place on your farm, crops are growing, bees are buzzing, birds are singing on your farm. You are a part of Angelic Organics, a Community Supported Agriculture Farm. You are part of the extraordinary, sacred process of growing food, from planning to production to harvest to your table. Our ongoing commitment to you: we strive for diversity, abundance and quality in every box.

The Spring in Your Box
We seed and transplant crops so they will start coming in the first week of harvest, too little and your box isn’t full; too much and we can’t find room for it in your box. Excessive heat will cause spinach to yellow and broccoli to bolt before the first harvest, excessive cold and…well, this season, the beets were not ready for the first box. But other things made up for the absence of beets, and we’re happy that your first box will be brimming with vegetables. Your box is an image of what has happened on the farm so far this spring. Savor the Spring. You can’t eat more seasonally than this.

The Weather So Far
Cool, moist…a typical spring. Do we have typical springs, really? Ever since I can remember, my family and our neighbors talked about each season as though there had never been another one like it. It was always warmer, colder, wetter, hotter, drier, windier than any of the others. So, this spring was typical in that it seemed different from all the rest of the 55 springs I’ve been farming…sort of.

Another perspective: if we get the crops in on time, it’s a good spring; if we don’t, it’s a bad spring. According to this rating standard, it’s been many years since we’ve had a bad spring.

One thing that's different from when I was growing up:  with our irrigation system, we now make our own rainbows.

One thing that’s different from when I was growing up:
with our irrigation system, we now make our own rainbows.

The Work
There’s a bewildering amount of work to do on our farm. Seeding, transplanting, tillage, weeding, trellising, building, machinery maintenance, fertility  harvest, post-harvest, training, record keeping, distribution, marketing, researching, fencing, beautifying, errands, irrigating, etc. Some days we might have 5 tractors going and 20 people in the fields doing hand work. Managing our diversity of 40 crops is a bit like a liberal arts education where we’re always shifting gears, as opposed to a PH.D program, which would be  very focused, more like mono-cropping.

Transplanting Lettuce

Transplanting Lettuce

Transplanting Winter Squash

Transplanting Winter Squash

Re-buildng the Milkhouse (as the grand entrance to the Community Loft)

Re-buildng the Milkhouse
(as the grand entrance to the Community Loft)

The Crops
The crops look splendid. A seed researcher was visiting the farm the other day and he commented, “your fields look like the photos in a seed catalog.”

Broccoli

Broccoli

Spinach

Spinach

Sign up for the Free Recipe Service!

Make sure you sign up for the Local Thyme recipe service we offer with this year’s share. It received many great reviews from our shareholders last season. Sign up at http://www.localthyme.net/register. Enter the farm code (found in the newsletter in your box) under “I belong to a CSA.”

Let us Know

Let Shelly know anything you’d like to share about this week’s box at: csa@angelicorganics.com. Please note the week and day of delivery, your site, when you picked up your box, and any comments about your box.

Want to Contribute to Farm News?

If you’d like to submit a story (600 to 800 words) about your shareholder experience, farm volunteering, a Learning Center program you loved, or your hosting of a delivery site, send it to margaret@angelicorganics.com with the subject: My Submission to Farm News. Photos are also welcome.

Please Fold Your Boxes Properly and Return Them to Your Site

The farm re-uses the vegetable boxes. Flaps are easily torn when the boxes are dismantled improperly, and then the box bottom might later burst open with fresh, organic local produce heading towards the floor. On your next pickup please return your empty, flattened vegetable boxes to your delivery site.

Open House, Saturday, July 19 & Saturday, Sept 20

Keep your calendar open for our farm open house on Saturday, July 19 and Saturday, Sept 20. Kids love seeing their farm, and so do their parents. More details soon.

More from Shareholders

Visit us often at www.facebook.com/angelicorganics, where we post exciting farm developments regularly, and shareholders post recipes, tips, and photos.

We hope you enjoy your first box of the season.

Warmly,

Farmer John

Adventures at the Angelic Organics Learning Center 

Angelic Organics Learning Center is an exciting and engaging place to learn about food, farming, and caring for the earth. Sign up for a hands-on farm workshop now at:

http://www.learngrowconnect.org/events

Ready to Rejuvenate? 

Join us for a farm campout especially for women, including yoga, meditation, preparing farm-fresh meals, and more. Bring your own tent and gear. It’s happening on 11am on Saturday, June 21 to 12pm on Sunday, June 22.

http://www.learngrowconnect.org/event/womens-solstice-campout

Box Contents

Please Note: this summary is written before you receive your box—be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

Salad Greens – Lettuce, Spinach, Pea Shoots

Herbs – Basil, Cilantro

Alliums – Scallions

Root Crops – Radishes

Cooking Greens – Bunched Chard

Brassicas – Broccoli

Welcome To Harvest Week 24, Final Week of Extended Season: Nov 19 -23, 2013

Welcome to Harvest Week 24, Final Week of Extended Season Delivery, Nov. 19th – 23rd, 2013

In Farm News this Week, Farmer John Writes About Planning for the Future Then and Now

This week wraps up the 24 week long harvest season. We’re super happy with how the year has gone. We hope you are also happy with the season.

Please return your CSA vegetable boxes and mesh bags to your site.

Enjoy a 7% Discount if You Sign Up for 2014 before the 2013 Season Ends
We think the best time to sign up for the next season is while our current season is still fresh in your thoughts and in your meals. If you sign up now, it helps us considerably in our planning for next season. We think it will help you, too, in knowing you have a dependable supply of fresh, organic, local vegetables coming your way in 2014.

The Glory of Peak Season, 2013. We hope you’ll Enjoy Peak Season, 2014, with  us. Photo posted on our Facebook page by Lori C

The Glory of Peak Season, 2013. We hope you’ll Enjoy Peak Season, 2014, with us. Photo posted on our Facebook page by Lori C

Sign Up by Monday, Nov 25
If you haven’t already joined us for 2014, sign up by Monday, Nov 25, the last day of our 2013 deliveries, for a 7% discount.  You can easily sign up at Member Assembler, our convenient CSA management system http://angelicorganicsfarm.csasignup.com/members/returning

Use coupon code NOV7 for your 7% discount on all vegetable share types.
After the season ends, we will no longer be offering this generous discount.

Please mail your payment to: Angelic Organics, 1547 Rockton Road, Caledonia, IL 61011

You can also pay by credit card for an additional fee at the Local Harvest site http://www.localharvest.org/csa/M111 . (We prefer if you pay by check, but we offer this additional convenient payment method so you can secure your 2014 share now.) No coupon code needed if paying using localharvest.org.

Reminder: receiving the early discount requires both signing up and paying by the deadline. Please sign up only if you plan to pay by the deadline.

If you have questions, call Shelly weekday mornings at 815-389-2746 or email her at csa@angelicorganics.com

The Crew
Neither rain nor sleet nor heat nor cold nor wind held our stellar crew back this year. Thank you for all the acknowledgments of the crew that you’ve sent us this season.

Spencer Ellsworth bushwhacks through the final kale harvest.

Spencer Ellsworth bushwhacks through the final kale harvest.

Other Angelic Organics CSA Heroes: the Delivery Site Hosts
Please take a moment to reflect on the generous service offered by your delivery site host. The hosts make our CSA system possible. Without them, we would not be able to deliver to a convenient location near you. The hosts are most appreciated by the farm.

Another Hero, Charlie Trotter
We are Forever in Your Debt: a moving tribute in the Huffington Post
Back in the early 90’s, Angelic Organics sold heirloom tomatoes to Charlie Trotter. In appreciation for our service, Charlie invited eight of us, including my mom and myself, to his restaurant for a gratis 15 course meal. He provided us with our own dining room and two full-time attendants. We must have been quite a sight in Charlie Trotter’s, with our calloused hands, windswept faces and ruffled clothes. By the time we got to the 5 courses of desserts, the my companions were full, so I offered to eat their desserts. “You’ll get sick,” they warned. “No, I’ll get happy.” And all those desserts made me very happy.

After dinner, Charlie gave us a tour of his kitchen. I said, “Charlie, those were otherworldly sensations tonight…completely new to my palate. I felt like I was tasting the stars in the sky.”

Good work, Charlie.

The Weather This Past Week
Rather mild. Some rain. A bit of snow. Our veteran crew members have commented that this is the best fall weather ever.

Your Kale before and after the snow

Your Kale before and after the snow

The Crops
We have harvested the last of the crops for your final box. You will enjoy extra sweetness in the spinach, and kale , due to the recent frosts they have experienced. Some of the butternut squash is not in ideal condition; examine yours closely. Some of the blemishes are only skin deep, but you might need to cut out a bit of the flesh in some cases. It was a challenging year for squash, as it seemed to ripen prematurely, and therefore did not hold up as well as usual.

Farmer John Writes: Planning for the Farm’s Social Future and the Farm’s Business Future
Many years back, my mom and I were driving to nearby Clinton. As we passed the Pann farm, she spotted construction work. “Look at that,” she said. “They’re building a new barn. They believe in the future.”Milkhouse
At Angelic Organics, in deference to the future, we’re re-constructing our milkhouse. (Well, first, we’re de-constructing it.) Unlike the Panns, who built their barn for dairy and are still milking there, we are re-building our milkhouse for the social future, to facilitate easier and safer access via an indoor staircase to the Community Loft for social, educational and cultural events. (Thanks to all of you who donated to this project through our crowd-funding campaign this summer.)

You might be able to make out the printed forms of the gothic arches that are posted to the glass above, in view of the milkhouse.

You might be able to make out the printed forms of the gothic arches that are posted to the glass above, in view of the milkhouse.

It’s interesting from a design standpoint to undertake this milkhouse project, as the milkhouse has been a prominent feature on our farm since when it was built in the mid-50’s. Its length will be more than doubled, which will make it even more prominent. And now the arched roof is beckoning a decision: we are pondering whether to go with the same broad arched form that the milkhouse currently displays, or a slightly narrower, taller arched form. In the whole scheme of things, one can think that such details don’t matter, but they do. The point is to decide on details at the right pace, not get sidetracked by them. Sometimes they sidetrack me; sometimes they don’t. In the mid-50’s, when my mom asked me if I wanted the shape of the milkhouse and barn roof to be curved or straight, I pondered briefly, then pointed to the curved form she had drawn. But she didn’t then provide me with two rather similar curved forms to choose from. That might have sidetracked me.

I was planning the barn’s future 55 years ago, and I’m still planning the barn’s future.

Getting ready for Spring, 2014. A new Double Cover on our Greenhouse.

Getting ready for Spring, 2014. A new Double Cover on our Greenhouse.

Every 3 to 5 years, we replace the cover on our greenhouse, because the old cover gets brittle and begins to crack and lets out the expensive heat that we’re trying to provide to the transplants. Plus, the poly becomes less translucent, letting in less light, which might make some of the transplants spindly.  We put on two layers of poly and keep an air space inflated in between, to provide a thermal barrier.

The future is always barreling our way.

Upcoming at the Angelic Organics Learning Center

Please Tell Your Favorite Teacher to Bring Their Class to the Farm!
The farm-to-school movement is spreading throughout the nation. Teachers and professors of all levels seek out the Learning Center as a regional leader in farm-based education.
Our 186-acre living classroom exposes students to topics covered across the school year, including nutrient cycles, ecosystem dynamics, animal physiology, plant growth and life cycles, environmental topics, and more. Our expert team of educators leads groups in fun, educational, hands-on activities. Groups have many choices, like the opportunity to harvest vegetables from the fields, milk the goats, collect eggs and prepare a farm fresh field-to-table meal.

We also offer custom programs to scout troops, homeschool groups, church groups, birthday parties, and more. For more information about our custom programs or to schedule your group, email programs@learngrowconnect.org or call 815.389.8455.

Like the Angelic Organics Learning Center


Please like and follow the Angelic Organics Learning Center on Facebook. The Learning Center is a very important part of our community, helping to connect people to the earth, to their food and to one another.

Thank you for supporting local foods this year!

Box Contents
Please Note: this summary is written before you receive your box—please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

Salad Greens – Spinach
Fruiting Crops – A Butternut or Buttercup Squash
Alliums – Storage Onions, A bag of Garlic cloves
Root Crops – 2 bags of Potatoes, Beets, Carrots
Cooking Greens – Maybe Kale tops
Brassicas – Brussels Sprouts in some boxes, maybe a Cabbage

Welcome To Harvest Week 23, Third Week of Extended Season: Nov 12-16, 2013

Welcome to Harvest Week 23, Third Week of Extended Season

In Farm News this Week, Farmer John Shares Replies to his Food Safety Facebook Post

Please return your CSA vegetable boxes and mesh bags to your site.

Enjoy a 7% Discount if You Sign Up for 2014 before the 2013 Season Ends

We think the best time to sign up for the next season is while our current season is still fresh in your thoughts and in your meals. If you sign up now, it helps us considerably in our planning for next season.

Early Season, 2013, r to l: Garlic, Cauliflower, and Onions. We hope you'll enjoy Early Season, 2014, with us

Early Season, 2013, r to l: Garlic, Cauliflower, and Onions. We hope you’ll enjoy Early Season, 2014, with us

Sign Up by Saturday, Nov 23
If you haven’t already joined us for 2014, sign up by Saturday, Nov 23, the last day of our 2013 deliveries, for a 7% discount.  You can easily sign up at Member Assembler, our convenient CSA management system

Use coupon code NOV7 for your 7% discount on all vegetable share types.

 After the season ends, we will no longer be offering this generous discount.
Please mail your payment to: Angelic Organics, 1547 Rockton Road, Caledonia, IL 61011
You can also pay by credit card for an additional fee at the Local Harvest site http://www.localharvest.org/csa/M111 . (We prefer if you pay by check, but we offer this additional convenient payment method so you can secure your 2014 share now.) No coupon code needed if paying using localharvest.org.
Reminder: receiving the early discount requires both signing up and paying by the deadline. Please sign up only if you plan to pay by the deadline.
If you have questions, call Shelly weekday mornings at 815-389-2746 or email her at csa@angelicorganics.com

The Crew

Rush R, Honorary Member of the Angelic Organics Crew, leaps through life

Rush R, Honorary Member of the Angelic Organics Crew, leaps through life

The Weather This Past Week
Winding down. Half as many boxes to pack compared to the full season. No weeding, transplanting, fencing, thinning to do. Just a little bit of harvesting to do. Mostly grading, bagging, and packing.
 
The Crops
Our kale tops are still out in the fields. They are supposed to hold up (and sweeten up) until temperatures drop to the mid-teens. We’ll see if that’s so.Kale Tops
 
Angelic Organics Food Safety Post hits a Nerve
I posted this photo and caption to Facebook recently. (You might remember it from a recent communication to shareholders.) It generated the most responses  ever for an Angelic Organics Facebook post. To see all the related posts and shares, visit www.facebook.com/angelicorganics
Double washing our orange beets. The Food Safety Modernization Act will require triple washing, plus recording even more than the following: washed by whom, harvested from which field by whom, which bed, what day, stored where at what temperature, washing apparatus cleaned how by whom with water tested by whom and when? Oh, and what temperature water? Notice the employee's face is not shown...this way, the government will not know whether she was wearing a hair net. Read more about the act from Local Harvest Director Erin Barnett: http://www.localharvest.org/newsletter/20131025/

Double washing our orange beets. The Food Safety Modernization Act will require triple washing, plus recording even more than the following: washed by whom, harvested from which field by whom, which bed, what day, stored where at what temperature, washing apparatus cleaned how by whom with water tested by whom and when? Oh, and what temperature water? Notice the employee’s face is not shown…this way, the government will not know whether she was wearing a hair net. Read more about the act from Local Harvest Director Erin Barnett:
http://www.localharvest.org/newsletter/20131025/

Replies:

Katherine – The veggies I get from you are already double washed??? I would never have known. Lol! (But I actually enjoy getting veggies with soil left over, it makes my heart happy.)

Lauren – Doesn’t washing make produce spoil more quickly? I don’t mind dirt on mine. I’m more concerned about the germs from the gloves themselves.

Kristin – Ridiculous. Sounds like another way to micro-manage what doesn’t need to be. According to the newsletter, the FDA itself predicts it will put small farmers out of business. I wish they’d just come out and say that that is their plan, because it’s not like we can’t read between the lines. Stay strong, organic farmers – as a 5th generation farmer and a former grocery store employee, I have seen both sides, and YOU are who I will support to the last!!

James – WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? Can you tell me that the box that the beets are in are organic? What about the PLASTIC BAG that the Organic beets came in? was this plastic, organic? There is soooooo much being missed, that it dosent matter who packed the beets

Angelic Organics – You are on the right track, James. Also, if you really scrutinize the organic guidelines, you can’t help but think that once the food is no longer in the possession of the certified organic farmer, once it gets into the possession of the non-certified organic consumer, it might no longer be organic. For instance, the farmer can’t mingle organic with non-organic, because the organic is then considered non-organic. But if the consumer has organic and non-organic together in their refrigerator, hmmmmm….

James – I work at whole foods market in Chicago, and I love organic produce. But it just amazes me the things ive seen over the years there. I know that you, the farmers are who ALL of us need to be behind! Sorry if i sounded rude earlier , did not mean it! I would love to work for u someday! Seriously

David – The tracking data John refers to is extremely helpful to the CDC in tracing produce back to the source of food borne illness outbreaks that kill over 5,000 people annually in the United States. While the regulations may seem onerous, the extra precautions from multiple washings at prescribed temperatures is intended to reduce instances of food borne illness in the grocery and restaurant supply chain. The collection of vital information that can be made available to the CDC and other agencies to identify the source of contaminated produce (like melons, tomatoes, asparagus, lettuce, etc.) during an outbreak of food borne illness is critical to stopping such events. The role of government is to balance public safety with the needs of businesses and as such is never easy.

Angelic Organics – Maybe the consumers then should keep logs of what they do with the food that comes into their homes…how soon they unpack it, what temperature they store it at, how thoroughly they wash it (I suppose this would have to be videoed); cooking temperature and time; how clean are their plates and silverware and stored where; how long were the pots and pans scrubbed and with what?

David – While FB is not the proper venue for a discussion of public policy, I want to make sure you understand I’m not a supporter of intrusive, “nanny type” government. Consumers should be educated and responsible for their own food preparation activities, although even home food safety practices can not protect people from contaiminated food. But to dismiss public health safety with sarcasm is not productive. If you believe farmers who sell directly to consumers are careful and ethical, then seek an exemption from the regulations for that category of agricultural producer. But when produce enters the mass wholesale supply chain from large industrial agriculture companies, the public deserves and should expect some level of government oversight.

Angelic Organics – I like that the rules make me more conscious of food safety. The question is, where does balance lie? Many of the rules make sense on their own, but put them all together, and there go many farms down the regulation drain.

Terry – What is the message you would recommend that we convey to our elected reps?

Angelic Organics – This is an enormous, vast set of regulations. I am daunted by it. (I don’t think the public every got to weigh in on all the farm chemicals that are being used today, btw.) Angelic Organics is planning to comply with the regulations, btw. We’re not rich enough to go up against this force of regulations.

Vicki – Isn’t dirt where the probiotics live?

Angelic Organics – ironic that so much is being realized today about the importance of exposure to soil/dirt, as a sort of inoculation process, and we have a government that seems to regard dirt as filth

Carla – I’m only joking, but it seems that in the future all food will have to be boiled before comsumption.

Carla – Crazy. Do you have to wash everything or only certain vegetables?

Angelic Organics – It depends on what crops we certify for Good Agricultural Practices, which is how we can prove that we are compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act. To qualify will cost us about $30,000 to $40,000 in upfront costs (lots of infrastructure work to do, amongst other changes) and then probably an extra $30,000 to $40,000 per year to make sure we are in compliance.

Carla – Ouch.

George – And what do they make Monsanto do? Put some Money in a Lobbyists hand to Buy a Politician.

Roxanne – iT WOULD BE GREAT IF THEY PUT THE SAME RIGID GUIDELINES ON ALL OF OUR FOOD HERE IN THE USA. SEEMS A LITTLE OVERKILL HERE FOR ORGANICS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN GROWN AS HEALTHFULLY AS POSSIBLE!

Karen – Does the government not realize water is as precious as oil? And should encourage people to soak veggies in their sink for a few min with vinegar instead of using hundreds of gallons of water we need to drink??? What a waste

Natalie – I would be happy with a box of dirty vegetables.

Robert – Gee I wash all my veggies when I get them home and here’s something so did my mom she told me you never know who touched your food no matter where you are buying them from.

Jan – The whole agenda is skewed to take the good food away-The Ones want total control of our food and our lives! So SAD! and do not mean STANDARD AMERICAN DIET! sad for that too! SAD means I am SAD in my heart!

Megan – while that info is valuable…with recent outbreaks of spinach and chicken the consumers were not told any information.
For more replies on this topic, visit www.facebook.com/angelicorganics

Upcoming at the Angelic Organics Learning Center

Angelic Organics Learning Center

Tell Your Favorite Teacher to Bring Their Class to the Farm!

The farm-to-school movement is spreading throughout the nation. Teachers and professors of all levels seek out the Learning Center as a regional leader in farm-based education.

Our 186-acre living classroom exposes students to topics covered across the school year, including nutrient cycles, ecosystem dynamics, animal physiology, plant growth and life cycles, environmental topics, and more. Our expert team of educators leads groups in fun, educational, hands-on activities.

Groups have many choices, like the opportunity to harvest vegetables from the fields, milk the goats, collect eggs and prepare a farm fresh field-to-table meal.

We also offer custom programs to scout troops, homeschool groups, church groups, birthday parties, and more. For more information about our custom programs or to schedule your group, email programs@learngrowconnect.org or call 815.389.8455.

Like the Angelic Organics Learning Center
Please like and follow the Angelic Organics Learning Center on Facebook. The Learning Center is a very important part of our community, helping to connect people to the earth, to their food and to one another.
 
Thank you for supporting local foods this year!

Box Contents

Please Note: this summary is written before you receive your box—please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

Salad Greens – Arugula

Fruiting Crops – Baby Blue Hubbard, Butternut or Buttercup Winter Squash

Root Crops – Carrots, 2 bags of Potatoes

Cooking Greens – Kale

Brassicas – Cabbage, Maybe Brussels Sprouts

Welcome To Harvest Week 22, Second Week of Extended Season: Nov 5-9, 2013

Welcome to Harvest Week 22, Second Week of Extended Season

In Farm News this Week, Farmer John Reviews Reviews 

Please return your CSA vegetable boxes and mesh bags to your site.
The Crew

Spinach Harvest, Nov 1. Betty (Primo's wife) in background.

Baby Pac Choi Harvest, Nov 1. Betty (Primo’s wife) in background.

The Weather This Past Week
Lots of rain and mud. The crew kept going.The Crops
Pretty much everything is now in storage, as temperatures are now dipping down into the low 20’s.

Facebook: check out www.facebook.com/angelicorganics/.  Our shareholders often post there.Like the Angelic Organics Learning Center
Please like and follow the Angelic Organics Learning Center on Facebook. The Learning Center is a very important part of our community, helping to connect people to the earth, to their food and to one another.

Upcoming at the Angelic Organics Learning Center1055

If the thought of shopping on Black Friday makes you squirm, but you still want to take a bite out of your holiday gift list, come out to the farm for  DIY Holiday Gifts on Friday, November 29, 2013 from 1 to 4 PM.  We are also offering the same class on Saturday, December 12th from 1 to 4 PM, for those folks who are traveling for the holiday weekend (or still digesting). Check out www.learngrowconnect.org/events  We’ll have natural materials on hand (many from the farm!) for shaping your own goat milk soap bars, hand-crafting lip balm, herbal bath salts, and calendula salve. The cost for each program is $80 per person – which gives you a fun farm experience, 6 hand-made gifts to take home, and the know-how to make more!Thank you for supporting local foods this year!

A Review of Reviews
(Stretching the title a bit to call the following a Review of Reviews, but it was too catchy not to use.)

Care to Write a Review for Us?
We have a lot of great reviews on Facebook, but not a lot of current reviews. Reviews get the word out about our farm from the people who have the most experience with our CSA: you, the shareholder. If you’re inspired, please post a review of your Angelic Organics experience in the Review section at www.facebook.com/AngelicOrganics. If you’re on a roll, post to Yelp, too.

Busy Providing for You all Season Long at Angelic Organics

Busy Providing for You all Season Long at Angelic Organics

Inspiring Recent Angelic Organics CSA Reviews
***** Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) doesn’t get any better than Angelic Organics.  We’ve been shareholders for 10 Years.  Our quality of life has improved 10-fold because of this nutritional service.  It was a lot of fuss at first, but then as I learned how to identify (ha!), store, prep and use the vegetables it became second nature.  The cookbook helped a lot and now there’s the Local Thyme service that helps me cook “out of the box.”  We split a share with another family and it comes out to about $14 a week for a 20-week share.
Thank you Farmer John and the crew for all you do.
~Posted to Yelp 10/30/2013 by Jerri
***** Great vegetables and a fantastic CSA! Helpful information, recipes etc. Easy to pick up and use!
~Posted to Facebook two months ago by Allison
***** We are so happy with Angelic Organics. Every week we get a variety of fresh, organic and delicious produce delivered to our house. We’re so happy that we’ve already signed up for next summer! Thanks for helping the local food movement.
~Posted to Facebook this past week by Brooke
Speaking of Reviews
Review For GMO OMG” from Variety

Helmer Jeremy Seifert wonders what he can safely feed his family in activist docu “GMO OMG,” an Everyman companion to Kristin Canty’s “Farmageddon” that combines the folksy charm of Taggart Siegel’s “The Real Dirt on Farmer John” and the frightening facts of Robert Kenner’s “Food, Inc.Note from Farmer John: Director of “Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and I were friends in the late 60′s. I just received this note from him: “how cool is this to be with farmer john in the same sentence.”

While on the Review Trail

One of my all time favorite films is “The Grapes of Wrath.” I was just notified of a list of the 6 best films about farmers . “The Real Dirt on Farmer John” is on the list along with “Grapes of Wrath.” I am so  honored that our film appears with “The Grapes of Wrath,” amongst some other legendary films:

Field of Dreams (1989)
Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Babe (1995)
The Real Dirt on Farmer John (2005)
Charlotte’s Web (1973)
Places in the Heart (1984)John and Mirror

Many shareholders have revealed to me that they have never watched “The Real Dirt on Farmer John,” a feature documentary film that chronicles 50 years of my farm and my life. Since CSA is about building connection between the farm and the people who eat from the farm, I’d love for those who haven’t watched our film to check out “The Real Dirt.” It’s available on Netflix and Amazon. Post about it at www.facebook.com/angelicorganics. Maybe check out the other films on the above list, too. Farms and farmers are in many ways their own culture, their own world. Good to know about them, especially if you eat.
Box Contents
Please Note: this summary is written before you receive your box please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.Salad Greens – a small head of Lettuce
Fruiting Crops – 1 or 2 Butternut Squash
Alliums – 1 or 2 Storage Onions
Root Crops – Carrots, 2 bags of Kennebec Potatoes, Beets
Cooking Greens – Baby Pac Choi
Brassicas – Cabbage or 1-2 stalks of Brussels Sprouts

Welcome To Harvest Week 21, First Week of Extended Season: Tue/Wed/Thurs Delivery, Oct 29, 30 & 31, 2013

Welcome to Harvest Week 21, First Week of Extended Season

This is the first week of our extended season! We’re glad you’re still with us.

In Farm News this Week, Erin Barnett from Local Harvest Writes a Sobering Commentary on the Food Safety Modernization Act

Double washing our orange beets. The Food Safety Modernization Act will require triple washing, plus recording even more than the following: washed by whom, harvested from which field by whom, which bed, what day, stored where at what temperature, washing apparatus cleaned how by whom with water tested by whom and when? Oh, and what temperature water? Notice the employee's face is not shown...this way, the government will not know whether she was wearing a hair net

Double washing our orange beets. The Food Safety Modernization Act will require triple washing, plus recording even more than the following: washed by whom, harvested from which field by whom, which bed, what day, stored where at what temperature, washing apparatus cleaned how by whom with water tested by whom and when? Oh, and what temperature water? Notice the employee’s face is not shown…this way, the government will not know whether she was wearing a hair net

Please return your CSA vegetable boxes and mesh bags to your site.

How About Writing a Review for us?

We have a lot of great reviews on Facebook, but not a lot of current reviews. If you’re inspired, please post a review of your Angelic Organics experience at www.facebook.com/AngelicOrganics. If you’re on a roll, post to Yelp, too: http://www.yelp.com/biz/angelic-organics-chicago-2.

Like the Angelic Organics Learning Center

Please like and follow the Angelic Organics Learning Center on Facebook. The Learning Center is a very important part of our community, helping to connect people to the earth, to their food and to one another.

Like Angelic Organics, too. 

Check out www.facebook.com/angelicorganics/. Our shareholders often post there.

The Weather This Past Week

Temperatures dropped into the mid-20’s. There’s not much left in the fields which can get damaged by frost. The remaining lettuce is blanketed by a double row of Reemay frost protection.

The Crops

Final Beet Harvest

Final Beet Harvest

Some of the Brussels sprouts are a bit petit. We’ll plant them earlier next year, so they fill out more. We left the stalks with smaller sprouts in the field, thinking they might fill out a bit more. Those Brussels sprouts were blessed with a hard frost, should be very sweet.

The Crew

Packing extended season boxes now, about half of what we pack for the full season. Most of the crops are under cover. Less work. Less warmth.

The Facilities

Primo's father Rafael constructs a wide brick walkway near the main barn. Looks like we are expecting a crowd

Primo’s father Rafael constructs a wide brick walkway near the main barn. Looks like we are expecting a crowd

Upcoming at the Angelic Organics Learning Center

There is an autumn chill in the air and, sadly, the season shares are soon coming to a close, but there are still ways for you to enjoy Angelic Organics Farm. This year, the Learning Center is offering three programs on the week of Thanksgiving for families: Pumpkin Pie Baking; Thanksgiving Meal Baking; and DIY Holiday Gifts. To register for these and other programs, visit www.learngrowconnect.org/events

Thank you for supporting local foods this year!

Erin Barnett from Local Harvest Writes about the Food Safety Act

Note from Farmer John…Erin puts the Food Safety Modernization Act into a somber perspective.

I see dirt on those carrots. Call the government! Photo by Farmer John

I see dirt on those carrots. Call the government! Photo by Farmer John

LocalHarvest.org

LocalHarvest Newsletter, October 25, 2013

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

After the shenanigans of the last month it feels almost in poor taste to bring up yet another example of the folly in Washington. I would happily write about something more pleasant if there wasn’t so much potential for damage here. The Food and Drug Administration has proposed another set of regulations that, if implemented as written, will negatively affect many LocalHarvest farmers and could very well put some of them out of business. (Careful readers will recall a similar theme in last month’s LH newsletter concerning outdoor access for chickens; believe it or not, this is a separate issue.)

These proposed regulations fall under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the first overhaul to food safety rules in 75 years. For several years before its 2010 passage, farm and food activists worked hard to make sure that the law would address the known threats to food safety from industrialized agriculture, and differentiate between those activities and ones that are non-threatening. Thanks to their hard work, Congress passed an amendment exempting small-scale farmers, thus protecting them from overly burdensome regulations that shouldn’t apply to them. But that didn’t entirely work.

Sometimes ‘fair’ means that the same rules apply to everyone, but sometimes what is fair is to ask the people who engage in the riskiest activities to meet a higher standard than others. In the food system, the riskiest activities are those with a documented history of contamination leading to human illness. In the U.S., those products are bagged salads, sprouts, and much of what is grown downstream from confined animal feedlot operations (CAFOs — aka feedlots). Bagged salads are risky because when the salad leaves are cut they become vulnerable to pathogens; putting these vulnerable greens in a sealed container and removing the oxygen creates an excellent environment for bacterial growth over time. Sprouts are risky because of a history of contaminated seeds and the lack of sufficient post-harvest safety checks. Irrigation water tainted by runoff from CAFOs may contaminate produce. Instead of focusing the regulations on these few problem areas, though, the FDA produced a set of rules strict enough to keep the high-risk products safe and applied it to all produce. According to The Cornucopia Institute, over 90% of the farmers to whom the regulations will apply do not produce these high-risk foods. Requiring them to abide by the same strict rules just isn’t fair.

Nor is it smart. Despite being so expensive to implement that the FDA itself predicts the new rules will put some small- and medium-scale produce farmers out of business, asking them to follow these rules is unlikely to make the food system any safer at all because these farmers are not the bad actors. Society will lose an unknowable number of good farmers for nothing, and good food will become harder to find. We think the government has a role in keeping the food system safe, but rules that put good farmers out of business and leave gaping holes in known problem areas is not wise governance.

Several organizations have developed excellent materials through which you can learn more about these proposed regulations and their impact. One good source is The Cornucopia Institute. If you really want to dig in, read their whitepaper on the food safety rules. Another good source is the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. They offer step by step instructions on how to submit a public comment and what to say. Finally, the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance offers an in-depth analysis, sample comments, and a downloadable PDF flyer that can be printed and distributed at farmers markets.

I hope that many of you will help protect LocalHarvest’s produce farmers by contacting the FDA before the November 15 deadline. Let them know that you want the FDA to create rules that don’t unfairly burden the small- and mid-scale farmers from whom you like to get your food. Good food — and good farmers — are worth protecting.

Until next time, take good care and eat well.

Erin

Erin Barnett

Director

LocalHarvest

Box Contents

Please Note: this summary is written before you receive your box—please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

Salad Greens – Lettuce (1-2 small heads)

Fruiting Crops – a Butternut or Confection Squash

Herbs – Cilantro

Root Crops – Daikon Radishes, Yukon Gold Potatoes

Cooking Greens – a bag of Kale and a Kale top

Brassicas – Cabbage, Pac Choi, Brussels Sprouts

Welcome To Harvest Week 20: The Final Week of the Main Season, Tue/Wed/Thurs Delivery, Oct 22, 23 & 24, 2013

Farmer John Writes: Watch What You Say

Thank you for being with us this bountiful season! We’ve enjoyed providing you with vegetables and herbs from our fields.

Week 20, maybe your last delivery of the season?
This will be the last box of the regular season, unless you signed up for the extended season. If you are unsure, you can check your share status at http://angelicorganicsfarm.csasignup.com/members/statusemail. If you have additional questions, contact Shelly at csa@ngelicorganics.com , or call 815-389-2746 weekdays, 8 am – 1 pm.

Please return your CSA vegetable boxes and mesh bags to your site.

Watch What You Say
You might know that a few years back, I toured widely with the film about my farm and my life, The Real Dirt on Farmer John. I was in considerable demand for appearances, and tried to accommodate with my schedule as many presentations as possible. If I happened to be in an area where I found out that the film would be screening, I would often figure out how to offer myself up for an appearance. I was almost always welcomed to a screening with the utmost enthusiasm and appreciation. (To clarify, most of my appearances were booked in advance, but the film was on a roll for a few years and many additional screenings of the documentary were occurring that I found out about through happenstance if at all.)

I learned that the film was going to be screened at Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, New York. Two food celebrities, Ruth Reichl, prolific food writer and last editor-in-chief of the now shuttered Gourmet magazine, and Janet Maslin, film and literary critic for the New York Times, were going to present the film and lead a discussion afterwards. I was on an extensive U.S. tour promoting both my cookbook The Real Dirt on Vegetables and the film, and I was in Manhattan at the time for a screening and book signing, less than an hour from Pleasantville. Since Ruth and Janet didn’t know me, I thought they would have a hard time answering the many questions an audience typically asked about the farm and my life.

I contacted the director of the Film Center by phone, and offered to appear with Ruth and Janet. He hemmed and hawed and offered to approach them to see if that would be ok.

I said, “I don’t want to steal their show. It’s just that I’m in the area and I can come present. They don’t know my life and I do. They can have the floor for most of the presentation and talk about food, etc, but I’m the one most qualified to answer questions on my life.”

He promised to get back to me. He didn’t get back.

I called again. He was waiting to hear from them.

I called again. He didn’t take the call.

Dear reader, if you know me a bit, you might know that I have been plagued with mis-represntations of my life by others. You might know that I have been scandalized in this community where I have lived my whole life. Part of the film touched on this misfortune. I was happy that a feature documentary was being released to the world that (mostly) set the facts straight. (Mostly? Well, it was a film covering 55 years of my life in 83 minutes, so certain small liberties were taken.)

I decided to attend the Jacob Burns screening in disguise. In the East Village, I spent an afternoon at a costume store on 11th & Broadway getting made up to look like a goateed young’n. For those of you who know of Ruth Reichl, the irony of my attending in disguise will not be lost; Ruth is legendary as a food reviewer for disguising herself in her restaurant visits, so she wouldn’t be singled out by the staff and given special service.

I looked like a young Dutch boy

I looked like a young Dutch boy

Several New York friends, including my wonderful dancer friend Dahlia, accompanied me to the screening, in order to surround me during my entrance, so that I wouldn’t be recognized. We sat towards the rear of the packed theater. (Packed…after all, the discussion was going to be lead by celebrities.) I scoped the audience. The attendees looked affluent and well-mannered… More sophisticated than fun.

The film ended and the discussion started. It’s hard to characterize it as a discussion, since Ruth and Janet did most of the talking. They talked with great authority about my life, but the problem was, as I have already stated, they didn’t know about my life. They made things up. They said, “oh, Farmer John partied a lot when he was young, didn’t farm the way he should have, and his farm went down. Other farmers worked hard and the economic conditions went against them, but Farmer John partied his farm away.”

Dahlia started squirming in her seat ahead of me, and finally raised her hand. I crouched down as the audience looked our way.

“That’s not true. I know John and he worked really hard when he was young. He was very dedicated to his farm.”

I sat through a few more minutes of their pontificating on my life. I had gone to the screening, planning to just see what the discussion was like and then slip out unnoticed. I can’t remember what it was that finally got to me. Maybe it was Dahlia’s indignation that started to well up more and more in me. But what were these two women doing up there, acting like they were authorities on my life? The film touched on the reprehensible practice of making things up about others. Here they were, talking me down with fabrications. Hadn’t they just watched the film?

I raised my hand and waved  for the microphone that was being circulated to the audience. When it was handed to me, I stood up and announced, “Good evening. I’m Farmer John.”

I took the pink boa out of my back pocket, threw it around my neck and said,  “Anything anyone wants to know about me, I’m here to give you the answers.”

Farmer John Revealed

Farmer John Revealed

A  hush engulfed the room, then a collective gasp. A few people leapt to their feet, applauding and cheering. Some of the seated audience applauded uncertainly. Mostly the audience looked from me to Janet and Ruth. Janet and Ruth looked towards me and each other.  They finally waved me up to the stage.

Your farmer, Janet Maslin, and Ruth Reichl on stage at Jacob Burns Film Center

Your farmer, Janet Maslin, and Ruth Reichl on stage at Jacob Burns Film Center

I got to talk about my life with the audience. I got to clarify that what we did on my farm in my earlier years were celebrations of agriculture. I said that much of the sacredness of farming had been culturally forgotten in the waves of commercialization that were industrializing agriculture, and that on my farm we had strived to experience and portray farming as a sacred activity. Janet and Ruth got to listen to this important clarification.

I deconstructed my disguise for Janet, Ruth and the audience. I don't think that Ruth and Janet were having as much fun as it seems in the photo

I deconstructed my disguise for Janet, Ruth and the audience. I don’t think that Ruth and Janet were having as much fun as it seems in the photo

I was mobbed at the reception afterwards. One of the attendees told me, “I’ve been coming to Jacob Burns for years. This is the best thing that ever happened here. It woke people up.”
I noticed that Janet kept looking over in my direction. I felt a little sorry for Janet and Ruth, who probably weren’t getting as much attention as they were used to and who I had pretty badly busted. Maybe they felt sorry for me.

This happened in 2006. Jacob Burns Film Center never mentioned this occurrence in their “Highlights of the Year” newsletter. It never got into the press and I always felt a little badly for embarrassing Ruth and Janet, so I never really wrote or said much about it, until now.

And maybe Ruth learned a lesson. In June of 2007, the New York Times ran a story about farmer writers, an article that prominently featured your Farmer John. Ruth Reichl, was quoted in the article: “It’s really important to me to give farmers a voice,” said…the [former] editor of Gourmet Magazine…

How has Your Season Been?
We welcome your comments on the recipe service; the box contents, including variety and quality; the custom shares for those of you who elected that service; home delivery service; open houses; U-Pick. We like to know how it’s been for you and how we can serve you better. Write Shelly at csa@angelicorganics.com. She’ll make sure to circulate your comments to the rest of us.

The Weather This Past Week
We finally got our first frost of the season. It usually comes two weeks earlier.

When the air is cold and the ground is warm, the farm is shrouded in mystery

When the air is cold and the ground is warm, the farm is shrouded in mystery

The Crops
Some of the crops will sweeten up due to the frost, notably the chard and kale.

Squash, carrots, beets, potatoes, and leaves from the maple tree that I gave my mom 40 years ago. (It was just a little stick with roots on it.)

Squash, carrots, beets, potatoes, and leaves from the maple tree that I gave my mom 40 years ago. (It was just a little stick with roots on it.)

The Crew
Now the crew starts at 8 a.m., an hour later than last week. There’s less to do, and less light to do it in. They have been stellar this season, day after day, running, lugging, lifting, sorting, bunching, cleaning, grading, bagging, packing…a Super Crew.

The Facilities
Last week, I wrote that we plan to re-build the milkhouse. Primo and I have worked together for 22 years, so we know by now how important it is to plan, think, discuss, project, and imagine before we really get going on a project. Once we get going, we like to really go forward, with a minimum of obstacles. Of course, there is still plenty to ponder during the actual construction process.

Shape of proposed windows in blue masking tape. Primo said, "why not just put tape on the walls? We can have photos of you, Pollo and me looking out. Much cheaper."

Shape of proposed windows in blue masking tape. Primo said, “why not just put tape on the walls? We can have photos of you, Pollo and me looking out. Much cheaper.”

Upcoming at the Angelic Organics Learning Center
There is an autumn chill in the air and, sadly, the regular season shares are coming to a close, but there are still ways for you to enjoy Angelic Organics Farm.  This year, the Learning Center is offering three programs on the week of Thanksgiving for families: Pumpkin Pie Baking; Thanksgiving Meal Baking; and DIY Holiday Gifts.
Pumpkin Pie! A Family Program: Come tour our farm to make an organic pumpkin pie to bring home with you on November 24th from 10 AM to 3 PM!

Thanksgiving Food from the Farm: A Program for Families!:  On November 27th from 9 AM to 4 PM, your family has the opportunity to use squash and eggs to make a delicious pie, cook bread in our earth oven, and mash potatoes, plus spend time with the animals. Each family will bring home their own bread, pie, and vegetables.

DIY Holiday Gifts:  Avoid the masses of shoppers on Black Friday and come out to the farm on November 29th from 1 PM to 4 PM to make your own holiday gifts. We’ll have natural materials on hand (many from the farm!) for shaping your own goat milk soap bars, and hand-crafting lip balm, herbal bath salts, and calendula salve.

To register for these and other programs, visit www.learngrowconnect.org/event

Thank you for supporting local foods this year!

Box Contents

Please Note: this summary is written before you receive your box—please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

Salad Greens – Lettuce, Spinach

Fruiting Crops – Red Kuri Squash, Popcorn

Herbs – Dill,

Apiums – Garlic

Root Crops – Daikon Radishes

Cooking Greens – Kale, Swiss Chard

Brassicas – Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Pac Choi, maybe a Kohlrabi