Our farming practices center on the idea that by creating healthy soil, healthy and vibrant plants will grow. We cultivate 4.5 of our 40 acres, with 1.5 acres in vegetables and 3 acres in cover crops each year: our operation is small. We believe that small-scale agriculture is a viable and sustainable way to bring the highest quality produce to local markets.
We grow our plants from certified organic or untreated seed that is non-GMO. We seek out unique varieties for flavor, diversity, and adaptability to our growing conditions. We start our seeds in our heated potting house in potting soil mixed with compost. Our compost is made locally and tested for quality. We follow a crop-specific nutrient management plan, and use only only OMRI-listed fertilizers and mineral soil amendments to supplement the natural fertility created by our cover crop rotation. We use our tractor to prepare the field for planting, and beyond that most work is done by hand. We water from our deep well, using drip and overhead irrigation.
The farm is a diverse ecosystem with many different habitats. We encourage this diversity of plants, animals, and microbes by using strategic management such as pruning and mowing of edge habitat, cover crops, and perennials. Growing diversity in our vegetable rotations is one of the keys to our operation. It allows us to maintain balance and health in the soil by moving crops of different families through the field instead of growing the same crop in the same area year after year.
We grow seasonally in unheated high tunnels and extend the seasons outdoors by using row covers to protect from frost. Row cover and netting protect our plants from insects, wind, and heavy rain as well.
In the areas where we are not growing annual crops we grow cover crops to protect and enhance the soil structure and fertility. Annually we grow vegetable crops on about 30% of our tillable land; the rest is in cover crops or perennials.
We harvest our crops at the peak of readiness so that flavor is exceptional. We wash, pack, and cool our produce so that it will keep well for our customers after they take it home.
We do not use synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or chemical fertilizers on our land. Pesticides can impact the natural balance of insects by indiscriminately killing both beneficial and pest insects as well as having unknown human health outcomes. While we endeavor to provide a balanced system for our vegetables to thrive, sometimes weather conditions occur that allow pests and diseases to reach a level of impact on crop health that requires intervention. In extreme circumstances, we may use biologically based sprays that are approved for organic-certified operations as a last resort to protect the crops.