Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 3, USDA Organic, CSA Farm Share

We are three weeks away from the start of summer and the longest day of the year. It’s obvious as we look out and see all of the plants that were started in the greenhouses only a few months ago, thriving and producing quality fruits and vegetables that will fill your shares each week. Items are greening, flowering, and even fruiting – with warm temperatures we see changes daily! You will see some new items in your share this week, along with more of your favorites. Most everything can be enjoyed fresh in a raw state or prepared in a new recipe: find recipes in this newsletter, on our web blog, on our Pinterest page, or maybe shared from a friend. 

This growing season marks an important chapter for Elmwood Stock Farm, as the last 3-4 crops that were in transition are now USDA Certified Organic. (For some perspective, this year we are growing 234 different varieties of 72 different crops.) You probably know that one must farm organically for three years before qualifying for the inspection and opportunity to achieve organic certification. Out of the 550 acres we farm for vegetables, row crops, hay and livestock, only two small fields are still in transition to USDA Certified Organic – and those are planted with cover crops to capture nitrogen and build healthy soil – not producing any saleable crops. We grow your CSA Farm Share items on our 375 acres at Elmwood, and also keep cattle and grow forages on the 175 acres at Bel-Clair, our ancestral home place, just a few miles away. Our family works diligently to bring you a variety of the best quality produce, with the hope that our farming practices will offer you healthy food products that exceed your expectations.

Our organic production improves soil health, which in turn improves plants' root systems and the ability to absorb vital nutrients.  In addition, soil farmed with organic practices will provide a wider range of micronutrients that plants can take up through the root system. You have probably heard that organically grown tomatoes have higher levels of flavonoids, potent antioxidants found in plants.  Other scientific studies have found higher levels of several antioxidants and vitamins in many varieties of organically grown fruits and vegetables than those grown using commercial synthetic-based fertilizers.

By receiving each crop’s first harvest through your CSA share and buying local at the farmer’s market you know your food’s story: the manner in which the food was grown, harvested, and transported. Fruit and vegetables that are in-season, harvested closer to their peak ripeness, and transported shorter distances retain the most nutrients when compared to similar-store bought produce that was picked unripe, artificially ripened and transported across state and country lines.

The connection between the food we eat and our health is undeniable. Although the relationship is complicated – and often downright confusing, given the constant stream of new scientific studies and media coverage of food and nutrition – you can be sure of one thing: choosing organic and sustainably grown food is the best choice when it comes to achieving optimal health.  Look for the USDA Certified Organic symbol on display or on a label when shopping.

We hope you take pleasure in your share this week, organically grown close to you, and delivered at the peak of freshness for you to enjoy!


In Your Share:

  • Asparagus
  • Bok Choy
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Kale Greens