Catalpa Ridge Farm

a community supported farm

Growing Practices

FAQ: Growing Methods

Question: Could you please give me some information about how your produce is grown...chemicals etc?

Here is some guidance on our growing practices

We have posted our practices clearly on the website for years, as we are fully transparent. Here is the link: ReOrganicCertification . We dropped out of the NOFA organic program when the US government took it over in 2002, though we are still members of NOFA-NJ.

As far as organic, we cannot use the term organic as the US government now owns that term ( as that is what the "big boys" want). As far as fertilizers &  supplements that we use, they are all organic and natural - NO chemicals. We also DO NOT SPRAY anything !!!! Not even those allowed by the federal  standards.  Some examples that we use are alfalfa meal, kelp, cotton seed meal, mined rock, limestone, greensand. These usually come blended from Fertrell Company.  We also use crop rotation, such as replacing where the fava beans were with our fall/winter greens after they are harvested. Fava beans & peas fix nitrogen in the soil, which then becomes available for the next crop, such as the winter greens in this case. We don't have any animals at the farm, so buy our compost from Ag-Choice which is OMRI approved. We also use what we refer to as our "air-force". An example would be when Farmer Rich plants red cabbage instead of green cabbage so when the green worms appear the birds can see them better and swoop down to pick them off the cabbage "naturally".

Also you should know that certified organic farms that do spray actually have to get a pesticide license from the state!  People think that organic means pesticide free - but it does not. It just means that they use organic-based pesticides and some are actually worse than synthetic ones. The reality is that farmers really don't want to spray anyway, as it is very costly. But the consumers want nice pretty produce & fruit so it has come to be a necessary evil for most farmers. Consumers in general don't want bug holes or worm holes in their produce. You will notice there may be bug holes, etc with our produce since we do not spray. Often we have to throw out a crop or two if it is too bad and not deliverable. Though still edible, not pretty.

The fruit we deliver is from fruit farm local to us, and we prefer to deliver fruit from those farms that use IPM practices. This involves just spraying when needed, not on a regular schedule. Residues usually get removed normally through weathering and washing. Making sure you wash any produce is always a good practice to remove any residues no matter where you buy them. We often supplement our deliveries with produce from other farmers close to us who use eco-friendly practices also. We might not have enough lettuce or beets one week, so we work with other farmers - which helps them out too. Probably the main reason that people join community supported farm groups is getting locally grown fresh produce & knowing exactly where your food is coming from. It also helps sustain a small farmer who grows using traditional farming methods.