"A farmer's shadow is the best fertilizer."
We are passionate about sustainable farming and its ability to heal, maintain, and enhance the health of our landscape. Our practices reflect this, and endeavor to make our work a benefit to our natural environment while also ensuring that we raise the best quality product.
The foundation of the farm is in the soil. Without vibrant soil health, nothing on the farm works. We use soil-building practices like cover cropping, incorporating crop residues, crop rotation, and applying compost to ensure we feed the soil and all of the microbes & fungi that feed our plants. We also conduct regular soil tests to ensure we have an accurate baseline to work from when working to build our soils.
disease, pests & weeds
We know that growing the healthiest plant possible ensures that we are growing the highest quality food and blooms while also reducing disease & pest pressure. Thus we work hard to care for our charges. We utilize natural fertilizers such as seed meals, bone meal, kelp, and fish emulsion to supply our plants with their nutrient needs, and build a yearly customer fertilizer mix that addresses any soil deficiencies and sets our plants up for success. We regularly walk our fields to monitor the health of the crops and note areas that need some extra love.
Our best defense in the face of disease and pests is our own footsteps: we are always walking our fields and keeping an eye out for problems. The actions we take can include everything from protecting crops with row cover (to keep pests off), to hand-picking pests (most glamorous job on the farm), and sometimes simply tilling in a crop before the problem spreads.
As for that age-old adversary, weeds? Well, there's *almost* nothing a few good hours of hoeing can't handle. We also use barriers like landscape fabric to help manage weeds in our beds and pathways (reusable for 10 years, unlike traditional plastic mulches). We choose to not use synthetic pesticides or herbicides because of their broad impact on the farm. We prefer to tread lightly & often.
We have a deep affection for our pollinators: they work hard day in & day out, just like your farmers do. To encourage their work, we plant flowers and herbs that they especially love, including cilantro, dill, fennel, and marigolds. Sometimes we will leave a bolted (flowering) crop in the field as an extra food source for the bees too. By providing safe & abundant nectar and pollen sources all season long, we help provide food and habitat for native pollinators as well as honeybees. Pollinators face many threats (mites, diseases, colony collapse, loss of habitat, shrinking food sources), and we work hard to make the farm an oasis for them. We also work with a local beekeeper, Blonde Girl Honey, maintain a few hives on the property.
We work hard to ensure we produce the cleanest products & to handle them properly during harvest and post-harvest period. Food safety begins in the field with attention to detail and maintaining a clean field environment. This includes scouting for any potential problems in the field (deer, birds) and noting their impact on the crops. During harvest it means scrubbing hands, harvest knives, and totes; sanitizing our wash station; quickly hydrating and cooling crops in clean water; not washing certain crops that are more susceptible to food-borne disease; and packing each item in clean bins for storage at the proper temperature.
If you have any questions about our practices, please ask us! This is one of the best things about knowing your farmer: true transparency.