How we grow and where we send our vegetables
Our methods follow the principles of sustainably minded, ecologically based farming. We use cover crops to replenish nutrients and improve soil structure, while understanding that this is a long-term process requiring many years and frequent fallow seasons. So, we also use an organic-approved granular fertilizer that is concocted based on soil test results and provides nutrients slowly through soil biology. Likewise, we use a food-grade foliar fertilizer to add small amounts of macro- and micro-nutrients. Pests are excluded by fabric rowcovers or picked off by hand, and we do use organic-approved Bt to control cabbage loopers. These caterpilars would otherwise eat up all our kale and cabbage, and find their way into the CSA bags. We use no herbicides, relying on careful mechanical cultivation or hay mulch. We would consider using potassium bicarbonate (FDA food-safe, organic-approved) as a last resort to control powdery mildew, but we haven't done that in a long time.
Why We Are Not Certified Organic
Organic certification is a marketing decision, not an ecological one, and at this point we are not interested in pursuing certification. People who buy our vegetables know the farm – most know me personally – and trust what we are doing here without needing third-party verification. We are happy to answer any questions you have.
Moreover, organic certification merely verifies that products were produced solely with inputs and methods on the “Approved” list, and does not certify a farm's principles or actual ecological impact. For example, organic farmers can and do use many pesticides, fungicides, and other sprays; we use very little. Instead of throwing away miles of black plastic mulch we switched to using a plant-based biodegradable film that is approved for organic in Europe, but barred by US organic rules.
More thoughts on organic certification here in this blog post.
The economic impact of food production is as important as the ecological. We stopped growing seed sold by Monsanto or its subsidiaries (those corporations control a surprising number of common vegetable varieties). We focus on providing food to people we know: the CSAs of other farmers, small business owners, and YOU – individual eaters.
Wholesale farming often means entering the industrial sphere of buyers, sellers, and interchangeable parts, which leads to our modern preponderance of uniform, anonymous, tasteless vegetables bred for looks and yield. We do not want to rely on a system where it is in our business interest to increase profit by growing lower-quality food for people who don't care about it. Instead, we seek out sales to people who have a personal interest in the food they're buying.