Farming isn't what it used to be when the family fruit growing business began, but that's a good thing. We're especially pleased to see our fellow Americans questioning the why, where, and how of what they eat. Put the magnifying glass on us - we love the attention!
As for our philosophy, we may not be "organic" farmers, but that's because we believe less in hype and more in the healthy relationship between the earth we sew and the fruit you'll ultimately eat. Growing high quality organic anything in our region is extremely difficult and in some cases the practices that have to be applied to those organic crops can have a negative impact on the environment. So to keep with our philosophy we practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and other methods to help take care of our environment (we still want to use it 80 more years from now!) and take care of you.
What does that mean?
For starters, we actually use fewer pesticides for growing our fruit than organic farming. Yes, organic farms use pesticides, but we get away with a little less. That's because we let experts refine what we use so we can use the smallest amount to have just enough effect, in just the right way.
It's kind of like medicine: when we take medication, it's not the fuzzy penicillin from the petri dish. Instead, it's the end product that creates the best outcome with the fewest amount of side effects. That brings us to the next point: not all bugs are pests! Because we're highly targeted, we can actually let a lot of indigenous species of all things buzzy help us hunt down their fellows who might otherwise harm our fruit. It's a pretty cool partnership.
We are able to target our practices through a four tiered approach:
- Set Action Threshold - The level at which a pest will become an economic threat
- Monitor and Identify Pests - Track pest counts through use of sticky traps
- Prevention - First line of defense through use of pest-resistant varieties, rotating crops, biological controls
- Control - Prevention is not working and levels are exceeding thresholds
- Utilize least risk pest controls first (mating disruption or insecticidal viruses)
- Next step, if needed, is targeted spray of pesticides