Are we Organic?

I get this question a lot and for good reason.  Although it is important to have a certificate I feel it is more important to hold yourself to the highest standards.  While we are not certified at this moment we are on track if we wanted to become so later in the future.

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We use only organic and non-gmo seeds, use only fertilizers that are approved for organic production, and follow the same guidelines but forgo the certification.

Here’s why we choose not to certify.

  1. It is an added cost to a small scale farm which operates on very thin margins.  We would be forced to absorb the cost or to pass it on to our customers.
  2. I would rather someone know where there food comes from as opposed to buying something just because it is certified.  The idea behind connecting with your local farmer is all about building a relationship.  Understanding why and how they produce there goods.
  3. The certificate is not enough in our opinion to make farming what we want to see and that is sustainable which is different than organic.  Organic can still mean mono-cropping and large scale agriculture.  We want to see our small scale farming system replicated to feed communities and ultimately the world.  That means small scale quality production, accountability and sustainability.

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Looking back in history it was not all that long ago that every farmer was organic.  The history of agriculture is a fascinating one and deserves attention as to how we have arrived at growing food in an industrial model.  I recommend a book called “Harvest for Hope” by Jane Goodall and “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond.  Goodall’s book highlights the consequences that our diets have on the planet.  Diamond’s book explains the impact that guns, germs and steel had in the advancement of certain cultures.  Both these books shine light onto the history of agriculture and how it has molded our world.

IMG_9872So…While we are not certified organic by any governmental agency we only use products that are certified for organic production.  Here is what we use on our farm:

  1. Compost:  This is incorporated into the top 2″ of our soil yearly to increase organic matter.  We utilize spent mushroom compost which was used for growing mushrooms but has been depleted of some of its nutrients.
  2. Nutri-Rich pellets:  A slow release fertilizer that we utilize for most of our crops.  It is incorporated at the same time as the compost.
  3. Amendments based upon our soil analysis: Gypsum, CalPhos and Oystershell. These are typical amendments for the Sierra Nevada foothills.
  4. Liquid Fish: I will use this as an inital fertilizer when I transplant or fertigate (fertilizing and irrigating at the same time) my heavy feeders like tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers.
  5. Liquid Kelp: I’ll use liquid kelp in conjusction with the liquid fish for an added boost of microbial activity.
  6. Compost Tea: I brew my own compost tea made from homemade compost.  I’ll spray my fruit trees and most of my long term annual plants like tomatoes along with seedling starts.  I don’t use it on short term crops like greens or spray it when a plant has started to set fruit.
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Everyday is Earth Day on the farm

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” 

 ~ Newtons third law


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The lawn is gone.

What starts out as a passion can quickly become an obsession.  Farming has become that obsession, which is rooted in the desire to help my fellow human and our planet at the same time.  I truly believe that the way we acquire our food is the root of all problems and the ultimate source for solutions.

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A wet season calls for row covers.

Working to create a sustainable farm, that works with nature, has opened my eyes to the way I interact with our world.  In our modern environment, man dictates what happens when and how. When working on a small farm, mother nature will let you know when and how to do things right, if you listen.

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God’s country

The more we observe how Mother nature works and mimic those lessons, the more we can create systems that benefit our everyday interactions with nature.  On our farm, Mother nature is the ultimate boss.  We listen to her everyday – in how we farm, what we grow and how we plant.

First Farmers Market of 2017

The first Farmers Market at the Nevada County Certified Growers Market was wonderful.  Live music, the sun was shinning and there were lots of folks excited to be out enjoying the local goods.  For our first market we had artichokes, early garlic, pea shoots and sunflower shoots.  We appreciate all who stopped by to say hello and welcome us to our new market.

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First farmers market of the 2017 season.  Not much but we will have more soon.

The farming season has been a slow start with all the rain and clouds.  We are excited to have some crops coming on soon and we will have salad mix and arugula available at this next market Saturday the 22nd.

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Tomatoes (Brandywine, Oxheart, Sungold, Sweetie and San Marzano) inter-planted with lettuce.

This spring we are looking forward to having more artichokes, pea shoots, sunflower shoots, spring mix and arugula.  Red Russian Kale and spinach are coming soon.  Also, the tomatoes are in the greenhouse and our nursery greenhouse, built from reclaimed materials, has tons of starts waiting to go into the ground.

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An old carport and some unused windows help to make our Nursery greenhouse.