Out here on the banks of the Elkhorn, life seems normal. Crop and cattle rotations are complementary to one another. Other than needing to sow some veggie seeds and move some fences, this solar-powered-food farm is set to run pretty much by itself. Cows calve and ewes lamb in the spring, timed to match the flush of lush, green grass. Healthy chickens lay eggs every morning. Little seeds become life-sustaining human fuel.
Elmwood Stock Farm has weathered many a storm, and here she stands. Farms like ours, around the country—the world, for that matter—are demonstrating our ability to provide a steady supply of food during these uncertain times. Suddenly the darlings at the dance, food from our hands to yours has taken a twist. With resolve, we will get through this. We will get through this together.
Local Food is Resilient
The CSA Farm Share business model has allowed us the opportunity to grow more food, each and every year, over nearly two decades. Shareholders’ approach to food, and its value, changes when they write that up-front check. Most of them tell us they feel better physically, and mentally, once they get in the groove of having amazing-tasting meats and/or veggies brought to them in a tidy little bag each week. Resilience runs all through that, from farm efficiency to human health.
With the pandemic curve trending upward, we are building resilience into our farmers market business model. Josh, Liz and Dale—in Lexington, Cincinnati-Hyde Park Farmers Market and Louisville-St. Matthews, respectively— are doing a fantastic job of keeping the farmers markets open within the CDC recommended guidelines. Our thanks to those market managers for their resolve in making sure consumers have access to small farms and vice-versa. Your markets are vital organs in the nutrient-transfer business, from local farms to the community.
The first step in any resilience planning is to stay out of harm’s way. As this pandemic thing kept unfolding over the last few weeks, we became increasingly uncomfortable with all of that farmers market infrastructure needlessly exposed. Normally, we would load up tents and bins and totes and boxes of stuff, cart them to town, set out all our veggies on tables, and hope it doesn’t rain, then bring back what did not sell. Sanitizing stuff when we got back was not only a chore, it motivated us to come up with an alternative. Plus, this gray-haired target of the nasty little virus bastard needs to lay low for a while. To minimize everyone’s exposure, we are taking preorders and delivering bags of food with your name on it to our markets and to your door. With preorder/prepay in place, we can pick/prep/pack exactly what everybody wants.
Thanks to so many of you for supporting us while we do some fancy footwork as our path takes this tangential curve.
Staying Healthy at Home
While Jenna and Kevin were handing you your food orders at the Lexington Farmers Market on Saturday, I enjoyed being home on a Saturday morning for the first time in 20-some-odd years. I drank my coffee in a ceramic cup and ate a yummy pullet egg with cheese and avocado in a pottery bowl made right here in Kentucky. Funny thing was, since we sent all the eggs out with our pre-orders, we had to wait for the chickens to lay some to have breakfast.
I actually got to decide how to schedule my day: Mow the grass after it dries, or move the sheep’s shade wagon first and mow later? Just sayin’, I could get used to it pretty quickly; almost like being on vacation in my own home. Thanks for allowing us the opportunity.
For the foreseeable future, while this viral storm moves through, please place your orders online, and we will make sure you get them. This time of year, the offerings change often, so check in from time to time.
While we stay safe out here on the farm, weekends will give us time to ponder our next steps. We know not where this path is taking us, but the definition of a farmer is ‘one who shows resolve with optimism,’ so we are good to go. Out here on the farm, life is exactly as it has been for decades. Seeds will become food, and animals will feed the land and us, both.
There’s a reason food comes first in the food-clothing-shelter mantra of what humans need to survive. We will send awesome, healthy, organic foods to you, healthy at home. We are healthy at home, and fortunately, we have plenty to keep us busy. —Mac Stone