The chuckwagon is loading up for the trek through the next growing season out on the banks of the Elkhorn Creek. Now’s the time to get onboard. We are starting seeds and organizing plant starts. Our protein harvest schedule is set for 2021, as well. Speculating supply and demand is a bit unnerving in a risky business like farming, but as eternal optimists, farmers forge ahead.
It may still be winter out there, but it’s time to hitch up your wagon and head out into the unknowns of 2021, and beyond. It’s best to leave little to chance—the weather is enough.
Based on the last few years’ production schedules, we are confident in our ability to grow and prep produce with the crew we have and in the land’s livestock-carrying capacity. At this point in the year, we don’t know where all of the resulting food is going, or to whom. The sooner we know that, the sooner we can get on with the business of pulling it off. We want you to keep reading, but the point is: It’s time to reserve your CSA Farm Share weekly subscription.
CSA Farm Share members are called shareholders for a reason. As we assemble the items you choose each week, we call them shares, not bags, in reverence of our relationship. The ramping up of production each spring means tremendous capital output all at once. Our shareholders take some of the chance out of the financial risk that we take with startup costs. As a CSA shareholder, you secure a seat at the table and then get to decide what you want to eat each week. Directly from us to you.
Of course I know that a CSA Farm Share makes sense, because I’ve been eating straight from one farm for two decades-plus. Yet to hear our CSA shareholders talk about how their weekly farm subscriptions have made their lives better, that’s just moving. Watch this video to hear from three Elmwood Stock Farm CSA shareholders about how the CSA Farm Share has changed their lives and what sets this experience apart from CSAs offered by other farms.
This is Elmwood Stock Farm’s 18th year of providing wholesome food to our community by CSA, so by this point, we know how to plan. We just don’t know how many people we should plan for:
- Will the surge in demand for a secure, local, reliable food source we saw in the first year of the pandemic carry into the second?
- Did first-time CSA’ers have a good experience?
- Are the health and environmental benefits of our grass-fed, organic, dry-aged, local, Choice, Angus-Wagyu beef evident and valued?
- Everybody knows the more fresh vegetables you eat, the better, and to a lot of us, it matters how our food is raised. Are you onboard with that?
The seeds of the tastiest varieties of veggies we all love have been cultured, cleaned and cared for by organic farmers somewhere in the US, and they are not cheap, nor readily available. One of the success stories of the local food movement is the organic-seed industry. Fifteen years ago, we had a scant few sources of organic seeds; now the farm is a shareholder in a seed CSA. Our longstanding relationships with the ginger farmer in Hawaii, the sweet potato farmer in North Carolina, and the potato farms in Idaho and Maine kept us on their supply list in a pandemic, when a sudden rush of interest from the general public to try out homesteading made supply scarce.
The handful of abattoirs serving independent farms like ours in Kentucky were inundated with random people hauling in beef for their freezers, tying up all harvest capacity—a nationwide occurrence in the pandemic, apparently. Jerome and his eight-person crew have handled all of our animals for the last decade. For all those years until April 2020, we would schedule beeves a couple of months out, depending on how the animals were finishing and how fast y’all were asking for it. We could sometimes shift poultry dates this way or that depending on how big we wanted them. Those days are over.
We looked at the number of animals we had been harvesting, and seeing that our CSA had a waiting list in 2020, we are thinking the demand is there. With Jerome, we secured harvest dates for the next two years. Our agreement is to tell him ASAP if we don’t need all that much meat, but something tells me enough people aren’t leaving to chance the source of their next meal. Are you on board?
Seasoned CSA Farm Share weekly subscribers have become savvy at managing their shares, knowing they can add in meats, or eggs, or more veggies as life ebbs and flows. Then it gets delivered to the place of their choosing. Surely that’s something you can get onboard with.
We have plowed your investments in our farm into augmenting our ability to produce more of everything—well, except maybe pumpkins. We have more-efficient equipment, new wifi weather sensors and the Happy CSA customizable software that shareholders seem to enjoy. Our staff is top flight; we laugh a lot, while keeping our hands moving.
Let me say thank you for all the kind words and financial support from so many of you over the years. It gives us hope for the journey. Now, go register for this year’s CSA Farm Share so we can head out into the 2021 season together. —Mac Stone