how we grow your food

We grow our fruits and vegetables on five and one half acres using organic methods and materials though we are not certified organic. Our focus is on building soil through the use of cover crops (legumes and cereal grains), compost, local grass fed and antibiotic free cow manure, mulching with natural materials, and crop rotations. We choose varieties for flavor but also need to take into consideration what will grow best for us at our present location and microclimate (zone 4b). We grow heirloom varieties as well as newer hybrids. Where possible, we use organic or sustainably produced seed. We use only untreated seed.

We have given up the use of dark plastic mulches for a number of reasons and rely on natural mulching materials, cultivation (mechanical and hand), and flaming for weed control. As a result, some of our heat loving crops ripen a bit later than when we used plastic but we still get them none the less without a sacrifice in quality.

All of our transplanting is done by hand (nearly 20,000 seedlings per year with a crew of three to eight people). We mark rows with a dibble and divide the labor into throwing the transplants into or near the holes and pushing or planting them in. Most harvesting is by hand also. We use an antique mechanical potato planter and a ground driven old school potato digger for most of our potatoes.

We irrigate with micro sprinklers and with drip tape. In good years with regular rainfall many of our crops never need to be supplied with additional water other than what nature provides.

We have become very consistant in producing high quality crops. Still, in any given year, something is inevitably going to fail for one reason or another. Since we grow such a wide variety of crops, the failure of one or two crops a season is of little significance in the overall scheme of things. The situation is better described in our statement of intent .

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© Mark Anderson 2015