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Tomato Mountain Newsletter - Week 24 | Summer Week 6

Posted 8/10/2017 10:24am by Jason.
Whats in the box?! 
(some shares got a bit of lettuce, some got a bit of mint, too
The weather has been just about perfect lately. Maybe a little cool by some standards, but this is the best time of year for some slightly cool, dry weather, especially after the deluge we received the month or so before this recent pattern began.
That said, it’s been hard to notice how nice it’s been. I learned a long time ago not to say “things can’t get any worse”. Had the aforementioned wet and hot pattern of last month continued, we’d be suffering terribly. As things have been, we’re stretched about as thin as possible. Brian, the guy most of you know best, our Chicago manager, had already been working overtime before one of our best CSA drivers quit after a family tragedy a few weeks ago. Now he’s also driving 5-6 hour routes on Wednesday nights (and another one during the day on Thursday), until 3 am, after doing the Green City market that starts at 3 am the previous morning. Of course he tries to get a nap in there, but frankly, naps aren’t so restful in the middle of a busy day with dozens of details and responsibilities and problems to solve. I hate naps, and had to take one yesterday myself out of necessity as I’ve been doing 21 hour Wednesdays lately myself.
The cooler weather has slowed things down to the point we’re only significantly behind on the tomato hoop upkeep. Ironically, in the middle of the last sentence, I just got a call telling me that one of the support wires holding up our larger slicing tomato plants in a hoop house broke, and the row of tomatoes collapsed. We’ve got a row of tomatoes laying on the ground instead of being nicely supported from above.
Sorry for all the whining. Farmers are famous for that (you must have heard the wine/whine cellar joke). Honestly, I do ask myself why I do this. When a good employee like Brian comes along, I wonder how long it will take him/them to succumb to the long hours and relatively low pay. And I get paid, on average, ½ what my employees make, if I”m lucky. Lately I’ve noticed more than ever that I work for customers and employees from a financial standpoint. A regular job would feel like jail, so I keep going.
Now, it is true that it’s better to like your work than not like it. But I can assure all of you who think the grass is greener and that the most important thing is to like your job, that people work for one primary reason, to make money. If there were not that need, very few people would work. I’ve read statistics suggesting that 80% of people don’t love their job. They do it for the income and benefits. It’s no fun not being able to pay your bills, trust me.
That is why the add ons we’ve been doing lately are so attractive. They allow us to share some of this risk with other farmers, while doing some marketing and distribution for them. It’s a heck of a lot easier to buy and sell something and drive it across town, than it is to assume months of risk and maybe get nothing. Plus, it’s fun to connect with our best farmer friends, who produce the best local stuff around.
Which brings me to the final topic of this newsletter, our next add on. It’s a familiar add on for those of you who’ve been with us for a while, grass fed cheese from McCluskey farm. We used to sell their sharp cheddar, and now that Brian has really lit a fire under our add on offerings, we’re going to offer 5 of their cheeses: Sharp and Mild Cheddar, Jack, Mozzarella, and a fantastic Butterkaese cheese that is rich, sharp, and creamy- excellent for many things, especially melting. I ate the entire ½ # piece they gave me as a sample in 4 days just cutting some off the block every time I opened the refrigerator. It makes my mouth water every time I think about it. Now for the soap box...
Cows evolved to eat grass, not grain. The midwestern obsession with corn is the result of purely political and economic considerations. Corn fed cows need antibiotics, and develop/grow (what’s the best verb?) disproportionate amounts of unhealthy fats (omega 6 instead of omega 3, the healthier one). You get a bunch of sick, or antibiotic laden cows, and a heart disease rate in people who eat such fats that is exponentially higher than it was before industrial corn agriculture took over. I know there are other reasons for heart disease, but bad fat is a big one.
Corn is a grass that grows like wildfire in our climate. But cows aren’t eating the grass portion, they’re eating the seed, or grain, portion. That’s just not natural. All the heart specialists and health care providers and monsanto and tractor manufacturers... love the current situation, but it comes at a very high cost to the the rest of us. SOS with most of how the cultural/economic/political world has evolved. I’m done.
We’ll have these cheeses available in the coming weeks. It’s all fantastic, well made, and certified organic. If you like cheese, you’ll love it, and the price seems amazingly low to me considering its quality and integrity.  
I know this newsletter is a bit long. I tend to work harder when there’s too much to do. Enjoy the tomatoes. We loaded you up this week. Get used to it. I want to be sure that Tomato Mountain Farm lives up to its name.  

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