News and Events

  • May 19th, 2011

The early part of last week, we did a lot of planting as you know.  It was great to see some corn sprouting through the muddy soil just a few days later.  In a normal year, most of Kentucky’s field corn would be planted in April….we fear that most of it may not be able to be planted until June.  The weather is really going to effect America’s food…not just our “local” food supply….issues we must overcome, together.  Shane and Joe were able to get some planting done during the dry spell we had—but like anything, there’s always break-downs at the beginning of any task, so we still have quite a bit to go.  Last Friday we were setting tobacco and planting corn on the same farm; it started raining and we were praying the radar was wrong—we kept going and ended up running out of the field like drowned rats when the lightening started!  Despite the weather’s frustrations, seeing the little seeds germinate is a great thing!


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  • May 19th, 2011

Despite the cold, rainy weather we are going to begin our a la carte orderings!!  We don’t have quite enough offerings of our produce to justify counting this as a week of offerings for our CSA shares.  Those will begin next week and I will be in touch to line-up delivery locations/times.  But for now, take advantage of the STRAWBERRIES, some green onions, loose leaf lettuce, eggs, cheeses, and some pork, beef, and preserves!  Enjoy the picture of Elly “taste testing” for you to make sure the strawberries are good and ripe.  Be sure to have your orders submitted by Saturday, May 21st at noon for deliveries next week!  Enjoy.


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  • May 14th, 2011

I feel like we have a new addition to our farming family….I am so delighted to introduce you to a new friend of mine…Jeneen Wiche. She and I have meshed very well together and we hope you will reap the benefits of our new-found friendship! Our “gardens” compliment each other. Jeneen specializes in farming with her hands and her many years of experience. Jeneen, with her husband, live on a beautiful piece of property between here and Louisville where she grew-up and raise a garden everyone would be proud to be apart of. We share the understanding of the importance of today’s agriculture and re-connecting folks to farms. We have different practices due to size and scale; thus our management decisions are different. We share a passion and I want you to have the opportunity to learn about the opportunity to eat from her farm…. I’d asked her to introduce herself to you…so…enjoy meeting her and get ready to enjoy the bounty of her farm!

My family moved to western Shelby County in 1979 when I was ten years old. My father’s desire was to develop a horticultural experience that emphasized ornamental and edible plantings; today my husband Andy and I continue to care for his legacy while we reshape the focus of Swallow Rail Farm. We want a small working farm that can enrich our lives, the animals we raise and the customers we hope to serve. Along with Courtney Farms and the other growing partners in Kentucky agriculture we can experience a farm to table relationship that means fresher food for you and a new model for Community Supported Agriculture that allows for unilateral support. Thank you.

The Garden
We are very small so it is easy for me to manage my fruit, vegetable and animal production in an old-fashioned way. Our fruit and vegetable production is done without synthetic chemicals or fertilizers; I may use a botanical or biological control (i.e. neem oil or spinosad) under severe pest pressure otherwise I employ row covers or picking and squishing. We work the soil gently and by hand with a broad fork or garden fork; we use composted manure from my sister’s horses down the road or our own chickens. We fertilize with fish emulsion, sea kelp, cottonseed meal, rock phosphate, etc. to feed the soil at critical times; and we harvest our own rain water in a thousand gallon rain well off the barn. I plant, tend and pick everything we grow.

The Hens
We have about 40 chickens that include barred Plymouth Rock, Wyandotte, Leghorn, Maran, Brahma, Rhode Island Red, Amber Sex Link (that’s not a typo!), Australorp and Araucana. We let the chickens run free, and trust me chickens like to run free and carry on in all sorts of manner! They love chasing mayflies, eating grass and snagging an earth worm when we first turn the garden in the spring; their eggs are superior because of it. When we are home they roam freely about; otherwise they have the run of the barn and chicken yard. We keep a radio on at the barn which helps deter daytime predation. We supplement their foraged diet with Layena Crumbles™.

The Herd
The sheep want to eat grass, legumes and forbs so that’s what we let them do! The Katahdin breed was chosen because they are adaptable to cold and heat, resistant to many of the problems that other breeds face, are an excellent meat breed, lamb easily and are good mothers and do no have to be sheared because they are a shedding hair breed.

Kentucky Proud
Swallow Rail Farm is designated a Kentucky Proud Farm by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and as such will be proudly offering the following a la carte items from the farm through Courtney Farms this season: EGGS, ASPARAGUS, GARLIC SCAPES AND GARLIC, SPECIALTY VEGETABLES AND HERBS, BLUEBERRIES, BLACKBERRIES, FIGS, PEARS, APPLES, PERSIMMON, CHESTNUTS and LAMB TO ORDER (this year lamb is from Debbie Young’s farm in Finchville, Kentucky).

Of course, visits are welcome; we are located in western Shelby County about 30 minutes from downtown Louisville.


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  • May 14th, 2011

Finally. I am proud to report that we finally have lots growing in the field for you! It is amazing how the plants take to the soil as compared to the confined environment of a greenhouse! This week we started at day-break on Monday morning and began getting our cole crops in the ground. Ideally, they should have been planted a month ago, but the rains changed that for us. So, we’ve been trying to hold them back, now they are ready to take off. We planted broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, collards, lettuces, several greens, then moved on to eggplants. Expect to have regular eggplants, striped, and a pretty oriental type. Then we moved on to peppers, then to tomatoes….tomatoes…they were fun to plant….trying to organize all 17 varieties keeps it interesting…especially when we aren’t fluent in spanish! However, between Deanna, Luis and Agustin, I think we only got one of our varieties out of the planned order and that was my fault because I started daydreaming when driving the tractor! We planted lots of watermelon, squash and zucchini, cucumbers, transplanted green beans and corn. Shane “warmed up” the field corn planter on your sweet corn. We planted that wonderful variety that has white and yellow kernels that got such rave reviews last year! Tuesday afternoon I was gone for several hours with Lucas and Elly at an elementary school in town teaching their students about how their food is grown. While I was away, Deanna helped Omar, Daniel, Luis and Agustin to plant more beets and radishes.

All the while we were here at home planting vegetables, Shane was helping Joe get ready to plant corn. We finished up transplanting all the baby plants from the greenhouse that were ready by Thursday evening. Then, we started setting tobacco on Friday. It’s made for a long week—-pretty much sun-up to sun-down every day. We’ve been very fortunate to have such dedicated folks here and have helped us utilize the dry weather when we had it. Unfortunately, we were rained out setting tobacco yesterday, so we tried again today….and were rained out again…..that is part of it! The ground has so much moisture in it, I was expecting to get stuck several times, but that didn’t happen until the last 10 minutes of vegetable planting…literally. I was using the tractor to mark off rows where the okra seeds would go, and drove over an area in our field that we didn’t plow (to prevent erosion) and because it was more wet than I expected, had to make a call to the house for a truck to come pull me out! It’s been a good week growing for you…so glad to have lots in the field….finally!


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  • May 06th, 2011

If you have great recipes for our seasonal, local produce, feel free to submit to me and we can be sure to share!  More cooks in the kitchen will make this work great!!  Family recipes are the best.  This season expect to receive not only recipes from the Courtney’s, but several other of our collaborating farmers (and CSA members)!


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  • May 06th, 2011

Even though you aren’t the one checking the weather on-line 20 times per day so you can plan meals 50 days from now….we are doing it for you!  This rain has been unbelievable for all of us!  We have been lucky and haven’t had to stomach any tornados at our farm, but we have had over 15 inches of rain during these past precious weeks of intended planting time.  Agriculturalists will be entering un-chartered territory with coping with the effects of flooding, drowning, delays in plantings, etc.  The beauty of our relationship is that we can adjust to a certain extent….yes, our season will be starting later than it did last year, but that’s ok.  We are hoping to get lots planted here over the next week if we are granted sunshine and a nice breeze.  We will all be salivating for a fresh salad a little longer, but when items start coming in, we will all be ready, won’t we?!!  As a member of our CSA, we will together have a lot of anticipation for a nice fall harvest as our season will be sure to extend a bit more since we are getting a later start than expected.

Here soon we will be ironing out details for our delivery arrangements and be in touch with you for your input.

 


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