Organic Products

 

 

The farm  started many years ago and was part of the early movement of people who wanted to see food grown in a different way. They cared about reducing food miles, connecting with their customers, providing a healthy work environment, promoting biodiversity and growing varieties of crops that tasted better while operating an environmentally and economically sustainable farming system. Today’s organic standard does not certify for these items, but we are steadfast in keeping our farming practices true to our parents’ vision for a better food system. It's what we call "beyond organic."

 

What does organic mean?

 

SEVEN CORE COMPONENTS 

The following core components that define the realistic blend of sustainability in the food system we influence. Note: many of the following components of sustainable farming are not required for organic certification.

1.LOCAL FERTILIZERS

Cover crops are the most sustainable fertilizer— period. They are the cornerstone of our fertilization program. After a healthy cover crop, the most local, organic fertilizers should be considered next, which depend entirely on a farm’s location. For some farms, they are green waste compost; for others, it is a composted chicken or steer manure. Behind these are very specific fertilizers that are produced regionally (feather meal, fish and seaweed products). The most un-sustainable, but organic fertilizers are bat guano and sodium bicarbonate mined from unique spots on earth and shipped from different hemispheres (our farm does not use these products).

2.IRRIGATION AND WATER MANAGEMENT

In order to maximize the use of fertilizers, land, and equipment use, a plant must have as much water as it wants. This is most sustainably done by using irrigation systems that have excellent distribution uniformity (drip, micro-sprinklers and hand move sprinklers). Additionally, these systems must be operated on an irrigation schedule that matches plant water-use requirements while taking into account factors like weather and development stage of the crop.

Applying too much water to a crop not only wastes water, but washes valuable nutrients out of the plant’s root zone, while applying too little water cripples a plant’s ability to make the best use of the natural resources it has been given. 

3.YEAR-ROUND EMPLOYEES

Farm employees are an essential and often overlooked component of a sustainable food system. These men and women are the backbone of the farming industry who work extremely hard and earn surprisingly small wages.

It is essential that this group of people have year-round work so they can sustain their families and their communities. Many farms manage only one crop which requires a large influx of labor for a concentrated period of time and then an expectation that the labor force will figure something out for the rest of the season.

By managing many different crops and focusing on creating year-round work, our farm is able to provide sustainable jobs to most of our farm team.

4.CROP ROTATION

The most sustainable form of preventing plant disease is to rotate different types of crops through the same field. Soil that receives the same crops year-after-year can breed diseases that harm that crop by building up levels in soil that may permanently eliminate the soil’s ability to grow certain crops without toxic chemicals (which are not organic nor healthy for anything). Crop rotation also helps promote biodiversity on farms and maintain year-round employment for the farm team.

5.LOCAL FIRST AND CUSTOMER PARTNERSHIPS

Without customers making our produce a routine part of their lives, every week of the year, our farm economically will not survive. With each of our customers we enter into a partnership by which the customer trusts us to provide them the best, seasonal selection of the most local produce available.

There are times in the year when this can be done from one or two farms extremely close to our customers. There are also times when a good selection cannot be made for our customers without sourcing product from like-minded farm partners in different geographic regions.

 

 

Our produce is always domestic ensuring farm workers are treated in accordance with United States Labor Laws (as a minimum) and the more local product always trumps the less local product. 

6.CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Without customers, our farm would not have a place to sell produce. Educating consumers about  what to expect from organic produce, the seasonality and challenges of growing it is important

7.BIODIVERSITY

Farms manage land and resources that used to be the home to an untold variety and amount of wildlife. As stewards of both the land and the natural resources that go along with the land, I believe that sustainability includes promoting an ecosystem in which healthy crops, flora and fauna exist in a balanced eco-system.

On our farm, we set aside areas as wild and cultivated to California natives. We also preserve space between fields to create habitat for beneficial insects. Our farm’s systems and operating procedures are customized to meet rigorous third-party Food Safety standards, but also protect the habitat that so many creatures depend upon.

 

 

FIVE EXAMPLES
of Field Amendments and Items that are Organic: 

01

GENETIC MATERIAL

(seed, transplants or trees)

Heirloom and hybrid seeds are both permitted in organic farming systems. GMOs are not permitted, nor are seeds treated with non-organic fungicides or pesticides.

02

FERTILIZERS

(items used to feed crops and soil)

Organic examples include cover crops, green waste compost, processed chicken feathers, processed fish and seaweed products, gypsum and sulfur.

03

HERBICIDES

(items used to control weeds)

There are not many effective organic herbicides. Hand weeding and maintaining clean fields are the most effective methods. There are some plant oils, natural acids and flame burners that may also be used.

04

PESTICIDES

(items used to control pests)

There are some effective soaps, predatory insects, plant-based extracts and bacteria used to organically control insect pests. Rodents, mammals or birds are controlled with deterrent and they may be trapped if permitted by the local fish and game regulations. The truth is that often, on organic farms, the pests win, and the crop is lost.

05.

FUNGICIDES

(items used to control fungi)

Sulfur dust and copper are organic materials that are permitted organic materials.

 

Know Your Farmer

Organic standards have made significant improvements by reducing the volume of chemicals used in farming systems, which has significantly improved the impact of farming on the environment and improved the working conditions of the many employees who are exposed on a daily basis to a farm’s practices (let us not forget the trace elements of materials those employees are no longer bringing home to their young families).

However, the current organic standards do not guarantee a level of sustainability, biodiversity or food justice. Organic standards across the board do not require consistent pay or working conditions, nor does organic certification eliminate the reality that dishonest farmers and/or middlemen exist and are financially rewarded for cheating.

The certified organic seal has its benefits, but it does not certify that the food you are eating was grown with methods you expect. The only way for you to do this is to know your farmer and trust the level of transparency they are providing you. Think beyond organic. 

What About Sustainability? 

There currently is no standard, no certification that monitors or assures that a comprehensive approach to perpetual sustainability reaches the consumer. At this point, the only method that enables a consumer the confidence in knowing that they participating in a genuinely sustainable food system is the transparency and trust forged between a customer and farmer.

Thank you for getting to know and become part of our farm family.

 

 

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