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Thank you for signing up for Elmwood Stock Farm's newsletter! Mac talks about how Elmwood transitions from summer to fall, we share a ginger-chicken recipe (we're loving baby ginger!), and we invite you to tour the farm this Wednesday!


 

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Whew! From Summer to Fall

(an abbreviated version of this story appeared in Fall CSA newsletters this week)

The summer of ’17 was quite a ride. Tomatoes galore, I think I ate more this year than in the previous two years put together. We rode the leafy greens wave well into summer and the sweet corn was fantastic (that’s an adjective, not a variety name). Market sales were strong, and our CSA shareholders seemed pleased from the comments in the year-end survey. Other than a few bumps and bruises of some crops that did not work out as we planned, we came through in pretty good shape. We are already jumping aboard now on next year’s ride, as much of October is spent preparing and planting for the summer of ’18.

Plant This Year - Eat Next Year
Timing is critical when it comes to planting over-wintering crops like garlic, onions, spinach, strawberries, and a few others. This year’s garlic has been hanging over the tier rails in the front barn since harvest in June and we pull some down every week to clean it up as needed. It seems to keep better in the space where it was put to dry and cure. As we handle it each week, the heads that have some type of blemish are sorted out for planting a bit later this fall. If the garlic gets planted too early, it will over-grow and be damaged by expected extreme cold. Wait too late, and cold rainy weather may set in, preventing planting at all.

We sow spinach several times in several locations to both harvest in fall and survive throughout winter and offer bountiful growth in late spring. Next year’s early onions were seeded into trays in the greenhouse back in the summer, and October is the time for them to go out as well, though they seem to take “forever” when growing from seed.
The size of next year’s strawberries will be determined this fall, so they say. We have weeded the beds of plants that continue for next year, set out all the new plants, and watered them well. Basically, the plants’ hormone/ immunology/ biochemical communication feedback loop will determine how optimistic to be going into dormancy. Let’s hope they have a positive outlook for when they wake up in the spring. We feel pretty good about the berry plants, and we hope they feel good too!

Picking up the Pieces
We just started this week to clean up behind the summer crops - taking out tomato stakes and trellising, pulling up mulch and irrigation t-tape, and putting all the equipment away. Several years ago we invested in rebar for our tomato stakes because the steel may bend, but does not break like traditional wooden stakes when the tomatoes get large and heavy. The stakes are placed between every other plant along the row and then the twine is weaved between the plants and around each stake, using a short piece of pipe and a ball of twine in a back pack while walking up and down the rows of plants. As the plants grow taller, we weave more twine around the plants to hold them off the ground, a total of five times over their early growth period. Now is the time to remove all that string and load all the rebar back onto the custom pallet racks where it will stay until next May. Several thousand stakes, I suppose.


The plastic mulch around the plants is very thin, and each piece is gathered up by tugging the edges out from under the soil on each side. There are some new films being manufactured from corn starch that are programmed to degrade and dissipate into the soil and air. While this seems better than having to remove and either dispose or recycle plastic, there are legitimate questions about the chemical status of the polymer binder, and incentivizing more usage of GMO corn. We use as little plastic film as possible, but it is a valuable moisture manager and weed control tool.

Feeding Time
After the cleanup, it’s time to incorporate all the plant material to feed and energize the soil, and sow cover crops. We were scary dry until the tropical storms made it our way, delivering thirst quenching rains to our parched fields. Had we not gotten that moisture, the plant residue would not incorporate well, and the winter cover crop seeds would not germinate.

Sometimes the grain drill is the best way to properly place the cover crop seeds for germination. It is an eight foot wide implement on wheels, pulled by a small tractor, with twelve pairs of flat coulters that slice open a narrow furrow, just enough for the small seeds to drop to the prescribed depth and neatly firm the dirt back over the seeds. Under certain soil and weather conditions, a whirligig seed spinner below a big hopper can be mounted on the three point hitch of a tractor, and the seeds can be scattered uniformly over a 20 foot wide swath. This goes much quicker, however, with less precise seed placement, and we have to increase the pounds of seed per acre a bit.

Caring for the Young and Tender Transplants
Some of the fall crops we are beginning to harvest now were seeded back in the heat of summer, and did not see much rain until recently. Some of the lettuce bolted from the hot/dry conditions, while other varieties performed as we planned.

Other types of leafy greens seemed to be in suspended animation, but we kept the weeds chopped out, and now they are going gangbusters from the rains. Some of these rows will get row covers, sometimes called low tunnels, if they have enough leaves of marketable size when the really cold weather sets in. It will probably feel like we are going from summer to winter here pretty soon.

Even more leafy green transplants are waiting for the ginger in the high tunnel to be harvested to make way for them to grow all winter. Our new high tunnel is waiting in bundles of pipes and boxes of parts for us to get it erected during an upcoming “off” week this fall, when we are not harvesting and delivering CSA shares.


Storing up for Winter
More potatoes and most of the sweet potatoes are yet to be dug, as the very dry soil prevented us from tackling that task when we wanted to. The past few days have been way too wet, but that’s the way it goes.

We gathered up several varieties of fall squash and pumpkins from our later planted crops, which is encouraging after some issues we had with the early squash crop caused by cool, wet weather. We still have carrots, beets, turnips, and winter storage radishes to harvest and store. Hopefully these will carry us well into next year!
 
Fall Into Next Year
Elmwood Stock Farm was able to offer a lot of people a lot of wholesome organic food during the summer of ’17. The summer season for us is a logistical balancing act tending to every need of every living plant, animal, and human. Things will slow down in due time as we ease into fall and winter, but right now we need to stay after it.

With the partnership and support of our CSA members and regular customers at the farmers markets, we retain the eternal optimism of farming as we prepare for next season. Even our hormone/ immunology/ biochemical communication feedback loop feels optimistic, just like the strawberry plants. – Mac Stone
 
Organic, Pasture-Raised Turkey
At Elmwood Stock Farm, two types of organic turkeys—heritage breeds and standard broad-breasted—are raised in the Central Kentucky sunshine on organic pastures and given organic, non-GMO grain. Turkeys are available for Thanksgiving by pre-order and often sell out. Pick up your turkey on the farm or at the farmers market, or we can ship your turkey within the US or deliver it locally. Go to our organic, pasture-raised turkey web page for details, to learn more about Elmwood’s heritage-breed conservation efforts, and to place your order.
Pre-Order an Elmwood Organic Turkey

Ginger Soy Chicken

Find this recipe and many more on Elmwood's Pinterest page. This recipe can feature Elmwood's freshly harvested baby ginger!
¼ c. brown sugar
3 T. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ t. ground ginger
Pepper
1½ T. vegetable oil, divided
4 large chicken thighs (about 1 ¾ lbs)
3 baby onions, chopped thinly
1 t. sesame seeds (optional)

Combine first five ingredients and 1 T. oil for marinade. Place chicken thighs in a shallow dish or bowl. Pour marinade over chicken and turn to coat. Cover and marinate at least 30 minutes or up to a day (refrigerated).

Heat a large skillet over medium. Add ½ T. oil and swirl to coat bottom of pan. Add the chicken pieces and cook until well browned on each side and cooked through (no pink when you cut in the middle). Cook in batches if needed.

Pour leftover marinade into pan and bring it to a boil. Continue boiling and whisking until it reduces to a thick glaze.Turn heat off, add chicken back to pan and spoon glaze over top. Sprinkle with onions and sesame seeds. Serve over rice, broccoli, or greens.

recipe adapted from Community Table
Farmers Market finds this weekend: Sweet Potatoes, Watermelon Radish & Hakuri Turnips

Additional all-organic offerings: carrots, radish, beets, celery, fall squash, salad mix, baby kale, Swiss chard, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, herbs, beef, chicken, pork, turkey, farm fresh eggs, pantry goods, and much more! Give us 48 hours notice, and we'll set aside a special order for you to be sure we don't run out of your favorite items!

Saturdays
Lexington: Downtown at Cheapside Pavilion 7am - 2pm
Louisville: St. Matthews Farmers Market at Beargrass Christian Church 8am - noon 
This Saturday (Oct. 14th) is the last St. Matthews market. You can still get Elmwood's meat and veggies through our Fall (Oct-Dec) or Winter CSA (Jan-Mar).
 
Sundays
Lexington: Southland Drive 10am - 2pm  Southland Market goes through October.
Cincinnati: Hyde Park Farmers Market is on the square through October 29th, then moves inside to Clark Montessori, just down the road.

From the Ground Up Farm Tour: Fall DaytimeTour 

This Wednesday, October 18th 9 am - 11 am

Learn how food can get to your plate without the use of chemical pesticides and the way it interacts with the soil biology. Mac says, "We really want people to learn about what they’re eating, how that food is grown, who grows it, and how their food choices affect their own health."
Secure your ticket and register now, it's the final tour of our 2017 series!
If you would like to schedule a personalized tour for your group, click here! Lately, groups of all ages have toured the farm- preschool kids and their parents, college students, and various gardening clubs. We've enjoyed having such a variety of groups this fall!
Contact Elmwood Stock Farm
(859) 621-0755

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Elmwood Stock Farm · Scott County · Georgetown, KY 40324 · USA

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