Our farm is certified organic under the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP). As of June 6, 2014, all our plant-based crops including vegetables, fruit and nuts are certified organic. Our livestock (meat products) are not certified yet but we hope to obtain certification sometime during 2014. The previous owners of our farm had been using "conventional" practices including artificial fertilizers and chemicals. Since we took over the property in 2011, no artificial chemicals of any sort have been applied and we have been busily restoring the soil using Biodynamic practices. Long term, it is our goal to work towards Biodynamic certification which is a far more stringent and holistic standard. In recent years, the term "Organic" has gotten tossed around such that its meaning has become somewhat blurred. Here we offer a bit of background on the term as well as discuss how it pertains to our current production methods.
First, you'll notice that Organic is in capitals and that is because the word is not an adjective, it is a certification mark. Farms that are Organic are certified by a third party entity which confirms that they follow the rules laid out by the NOP. When buying food from a grocery store, this certification helps ensure that, through the relatively long supply chain, no one is making undue claims. Certification costs money and takes time.
Here are the basic approaches we employ to meet the spirit and letter of the NOP standards:
For fertility, we use cover crops and compost them on site. We also add lime for Calcium and feather meal for Nitrogen based on soil fertility tests.
For weed control, we use a variety of hoes and occasionally our hands. Proper bed preparation and other cultural practices limit weed competitiveness.
For pests, our primary approach is exclusion by using floating row cover (spun polyester). Much of the pest control is more in the diversity of plantings and other cultural practices that encourage strong plant growth.
Crops and cover crops to feed the soil are rotated constantly, and these contribute to fertility, weed control and pest control.
We primarily use Organic seed, but also include a few varieties that we know to be excellent and are not available Organically (probably only a handful at most). We save some seed on the farm and hope to use more as time goes on.
We are diligent in our record keeping and always keep our doors open for visitors who want a firsthand look at what we do.
A REGIONAL COOPERATIVE CREATING HANDCRAFTED, THOUGHTFUL AND DELICIOUS FOOD