We are often asked if we are organic … and the short answer is no. In order to be certified organic farm fields must be free from commercial fertilizer and synthetic pesticides and farmers must keep a ton of extra records, which adds a lot of additional cost and labor. As a farm family we have decided not to be an organic farm, but instead to be responsible in being the best stewards of the land we can while providing safe, healthy, fresh and quality produce for our customers.
We use an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Program here on the farm…we hire Cooperative Extension employees from Rutgers University to scout our fields a few times a week and make suggestions as to what (and when) we need to apply to our crops so we can be assured of quality produce to harvest. When we do use sprays on a crop, it is used at the recommendation of the Rutgers scout to keep a crop from falling victim to insects or disease. The crop protection products that we use are very expensive and using an IPM approach helps to limit our costs. Every time the scout comes out to the farm we’re hoping he says the fields are free of insects and disease!
In addition to scouting, we use many other farming practices to help limit the number of sprays we apply. We rotate the location of our crops from year to year to keep the insect and disease pressure low. We use black plastic mulch on raised beds to help keep weeds down and provide well drained soils to help prevent root issues with our crops. These practices, coupled with the Rutgers scouts allow us to grow some of our crops without any sprays at all. We cannot, however, claim these crops as organic because we do use fertilizers (similar to that used on your lawn) for our crops.
As a family, we eat all the crops we grow (except for Tim who doesn’t eat tomatoes…go figure!) and raised our children using the same growing methods we use today. We take pride in producing safe, healthy, fresh quality produce for our family and the community. We feel that knowing who grows your food and where your food comes from is MUCH more important than it being organic or not. Know your farmer … know your food!!