Do you have your “Top Ten”?

September 23-29, 2019

Thank you for consistently picking up your CSA goodies each week this summer, hopefully you have developed a taste for eating well. The very nature of the CSA shareholder program is sharing the bounty and risk of food security. Your financial investment in Elmwood Stock Farm in the first part of the year allows us to ramp up production in starting plants in the greenhouse, purchasing seed and supplies, and hiring staff. This economic concept of investing in your own food’s production is one of the top ten talking points on the Elmwood farm tours.  In today’s newsletter I’m going to share a few of my other favorites with you.

Have one item that’s local and organic in each meal for 30 days.

Eating well does not have to end with the summer season. Those of you that are continuing with us in the fall can look forward to a good mix of veggies, albeit every other week. Others of you are planning to shop the farmers market to maintain your good food addiction, and we look forward to seeing you there. Either way, the habit of eating at least one item in each meal that is local and organic is very important, resulting in the benefit of rollover dollars into the local community. 

Look for the USDA organic logo at the grocery store.

There is irrefutable evidence that organic foods are void of pesticide residues, actually improving the environment where the crops are grown, rather than putting in toxins. In the case of meat and dairy products, not only was the feed for the animals raised without the use of synthetic chemicals, but the forage-based diet produces heart healthy meat and milk for us to consume. Having served on the National Organic Standards Board, I can assure you the scrutiny behind the standards of the organic logo is exceptional. The organic integrity of our farm is confirmed every year when we submit our organic system plan to the organic certification agency, and their organic inspector visits the farm; every aspect of our production and marketing system is verified to comply with the regulations. As part of the inspection process, the inspector randomly picks a specific crop, like eggs, and we must demonstrate how the number of chickens matches the volume of feed and the number of egg dozens sold. Not knowing what crop they might pick, we have to be prepared for anything on our list to be audited. The inspector may take random samples for pesticide residue testing and can even stop in unannounced. We work hard on meeting organic standards, and we want to uphold and exceed the integrity of the organic program at the farm.

Eat some percent of your diet raw.

Fresh vegetables that are eaten raw are normally rinsed before eating, yet they are far from sterile. Plant leaves have a protective microbial film on them for their own protection. Because of this, water beads up and rolls off a kale leaf when put in a pan of water. You can rinse a head of broccoli or a strawberry all you want and this protective coating is unfazed. This film is teaming with a mix of beneficial bacteria and fungi, which is vitally important for us to consume and feed the microbiome in our gut.  Our gut microbiome is directly related to the health of our immune system.

Research at the University of Kentucky has shown that plants grown in an organic system have a more diverse and robust microbial profile compared to plants grown with the use of insecticides and fungicides. A reasonable person would conclude that since a rich, microbially diverse soil yields a microbially rich plant this will also lead to a microbially rich human microbiome. Understanding this microbe world is the next frontier of human health research and much attention is focused within this realm.

Go to the Farm-U-See instead of the Pharm-A-Cy.

We know from the data generated by the research team at the UK College of Agriculture, Food, and the Environment, that organic CSA shareholders spend considerably less time in a doctor’s office and less on pharmaceuticals, than the average Kentuckian. Specifically, you CSA-ers see a doctor 2.03 times per year and spend $17.23 on drugs, compared to 7.48 times and $33.84, for the average non-CSA Kentuckian. Think about that for a minute. Does that not make food “medicine”?  You can either spend time in the comfort of your kitchen, preparing wholesome dishes to enjoy and nourish your body or sit in a waiting room full of sick people and spend money on pharmaceutical drugs. Go to the Farm-U-See, not the Pharm-A-Cy gets my vote for number 1 in our top ten list.

Go to the farmers market, rain or shine.

We have invested in an additional high tunnel greenhouse to grow more greens and lettuces this winter with the idea of feeding our CSA members, our community, and our own family tasty, local and organic foods. Even though the data is compelling, it’s freshness and flavor that keeps us all coming back for more. Whether we see you when dropping off your share, or picking up here at the farm, we are comforted to know you are eating well. If you won’t be subscribing to a fall farm share, know that we plan to be at the Lexington Market every Saturday and the Hyde Park Market on Sundays – and yes, even when it is raining!

Lastly, I invite you to come visit your CSA farm on a tour this fall, we have one scheduled in October, details on our website. You can witness for yourself what this full-on 90 degree weather at the end of September with no rain to speak of looks like for us at the farm. But we can also round out the top ten ways you can foster a healthy local food economy and make a difference in your community.  -Mac Stone

In Your Share

  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Leafy Greens
  • Microgreens/Shoots
  • Okra
  • Squash, Spaghetti
  • Surprise Item
  • Tomatoes


Check out our Pinterest board for this week’s recipes!

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