One of the questions we get asked often is about being an organic farm. In this week’s From the Field, I’m going to break down some misconceptions around the term organic and how our farm uses a mix of farming methods.
We are very passionate about informing others about how our food is grown and connecting consumers with their farmer! So, thank you for starting a conversation with us! We are not USDA certified organic but did you know that organic and even USDA certified organic farms can apply non-synthetic chemicals to their crops? That’s right. The misconception is that organic means that a farmer does not use pesticides. There are over 20 chemicals commonly used in the growing and processing of organic crops that are approved by the USDA organic standards. All agricultural chemicals used, synthetic or non-synthetic, are approved by the FDA, the USDA, and EPA and farmers must follow very strict guidelines when using them.
On our farm, we use many organic farming methods such as crop rotation to reduce insects, planting cover crops for preventing soil erosion and for building up soil nutrients, and plastic mulching and good old fashion hand weeding for keeping weeds under control. For insects, we’d rather not use any pesticides if we can avoid it. We walk our fields every morning so we can catch potential insect issues quickly so we use the least amount of pesticides possible for addressing the issue.
So, to put it perspective. When we scrape our knee, what do we usually do? We might apply Neosporin to prevent the scrape from getting infected and spreading. It’s the same for us when addressing the first presence of an insect issue. We want to catch it early and prevent losing our entire crop from the spread of the insect. At such low rates, most of what we apply starts breaking down almost immediately.
We know this is a sensitive topic because we all want the best for our health and the health of our families, and that's important to us. We urge you to ask us when you have questions and concerns so you are learning from actual farmers and not a source who has never farmed or worked in agriculture.
ALL farmers deserve respect when it comes to preventing crop loss. There are many ways that crops can be grown, but we’re proud of what we do! Saying that we are "not organic" because we chose to use synthetic vs. non-synthetic pesticides does not change the fact that we believe in growing healthy and safe produce for our customers. We choose farming methods which work best for us and our farm while still providing safe, healthy and flavorful food for our community. And more importantly it works for our customers.
We hope that you learned something new from this week's blog. Be sure to share it with your friends and family who have interest in learning more about where their food comes from. If you have questions about our farm or about this topic, be sure to Ask Us.
Greg & Mariah Anderson