Eat Like Your Farmer

CSA share

At Elmwood Stock Farm right now, we are aggressively sowing lettuce, spinach and cooking greens in an attempt to have them available well into winter—if not early spring. We regularly check on the sweet potatoes and fall squash in the fields. We tend to the intensive greens-production beds daily. At this point, I’m feeling pretty good about munching on these foods for the foreseeable future. 

For all the work involved, being a farmer does have its perks, and eating wholesome, organic foods through winter is of them. The Elmwood Stock Farm Fall CSA Farm Share enables you to eat like your farmer, too, and registration is now open on the Elmwood Stock Farm website. 

Unlike CSAs of the past, you get to choose what you’d like to have in your fridge and freezer with each distribution by logging in to a secure online account. For the Fall CSA Farm Share, distributions are made every other week—the week of October 19 through the week of December 15—meaning your fresh-food shopping is taken care of for the rest of the year. 

More meals are being prepared at home than at any time since color television sets were invented. The Harvard Business Review reports just more than half of Americans are cooking more than they were before the pandemic, and about one-third enjoy cooking more now. I’m guessing many of you are among those statistics. My recommendation is to make your food sourcing easy, particularly when visiting the grocery store isn’t.

Eating Like Your Farmer

When you stop to think about it, summertime veggies are only available about 90 to 100 days a year in Central Kentucky, between the time they ripen and our first frost. That leaves 250+ days where homegrown goodness means salads, fall squash and root crops are the hits. For about 220+/- of those days, the greens are in their prime, as cooler weather actually improves their taste and nutritive value. Many of you have home gardens and know what I’m talking about when I say how tasty fall greens are. 

Throughout the cool season, Ann and I eat salads almost every night: different toppings, different dressings. Sometimes lettuce, sometimes arugula, sometimes spinach, often a mix. Sometimes we toss spinach or baby kale in the stir fry or whip up a kale salad to last all week. 

What can be easier than baking sweet potatoes? We slather on some butter with a little salt and pepper, or roll our nearly famous sweet potato fingerlings in olive oil with salt, pepper and Elmwood Stock Farm’s garlic powder until tender, then eat them like French fries. 

On the meat side, we take advantage of fall grilling weather by keeping our custom-recipe sausages in the freezer, and for sure some ground beef for burgers, chili, spaghetti, lasagna, taco salad, meatloaf, sloppy joes … You get the point, and slow-cooker season is fast approaching for Boston butt pork roast, country-style pork ribs, beef chuck or shoulder roast, lamb sirloin chops … And again, you get the idea.

If this sounds anywhere familiar to your own mealtime interests, the Fall CSA Farm Share puts these fresh-food options at your fingertips through the remainder of the year. 

How many fresh salads do you eat each week? How fresh are the ingredients? Is your beef USDA Choice, grass-fed and -finished, dry-aged, certified organic, Angus beef? Is the chicken raised on pasture with organic grains? Were the carrots plucked from rich, organic soil? Where did they all originate? How many hands did they go through to get to you? 

Think about the cooking habits you have landed on in these early months of the pandemic, and let us send you awesome, fresh, organic vegetables, meats and eggs to complement those. Lots of our Summer CSA shareholders already reserved their CSA shares for the fall, knowing how secure they feel to have that part of their world made simple. 

Some of you have never taken the leap to prepay a farmer for a whole season of their fresh veggies, meat and eggs, even though you eat those things all the time. Maybe you shop with us at the Lexington or Hyde Park Farmers Markets or place your orders online for home delivery. We sure appreciate those customers, too, though it’s important to note that our CSA Farm Share members always get first choice of organic vegetables, meats and eggs produced at Elmwood Stock Farm.

Current CSA Farm Share members tell us how convenient it is to see what’s available in their online account, pick and choose what they like, add on additional meats or a pantry item, and have it all show up a few days later. And not that most of us are taking the vacations we’d planned, but if you travel or need a break, your online account allows you to pause your share. 

Short of CSA membership, our new online store continues to be stocked with wholesome, organic produce, meats and eggs; still, CSA members always get first choice.

As we’re planning to provide for all of our Fall CSA Farm Share members and then some, our fall planting is tightly scripted. With the cooling weather and shortening daylight, the greens we sow this week should be ready in four weeks, what we plant next week will take five, and the week after that, seven to 10. So to be sure we all can eat all we want of these precious greens, we are actually planting more than once a week during this stretch. When you sign on as a Fall CSA Farm Share member, we plan to plant for your fall food needs, too.

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that it’s possible to secure your food supply and stay out of the fray. There is no better time than now to secure a stable food source directly from us to you, knowing it was raised right. —Mac Stone

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