HOW WE FARM
Organic Growing Practices
The Taliaferro property has been farmed organically for over 20 years. We will continue to follow the National Organic Program guidelines and the farm will be certified organic by NOFA-NY for the 2020 season. Being certified organic ensures our customers that we are striving to grow vegetables in an ethical, holistic way. This means we do not use any genetically modified seeds or synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. We focus on farm management systems that include crop rotation, cover cropping, and many other techniques that help to increase the amount of organic matter in the soil, which stores nutrients that lead to healthy crops. This, in turn, yields plants that are stronger and more resistant to diseases and pests.
Agriculture is thousands of years old and yet what makes farming so interesting is that researchers and growers are still discovering new insights on the relationship between soil, plants and humans. We strive to keep up with the latest science on soil and plant health. We send soil samples to Kinsey Ag Services in Missouri every year. Their labs provide some of the most informative and comprehensive results, with recommendations that allow us to plan a fertilizer system that gradually builds up the nutrients and organic matter in our soil.
Plant Tissue and Sap Analysis
Another way farmers can monitor plant health is by tissue testing, a process in which plant tissue (often the leaves) are sent in to a lab to be tested for nutrient content. For a quick snapshot of what is happening in a crop at the time the leaf is picked to be sent to the lab, tissue testing is a good way to help determine any major nutrient activity within the plant.
Even more accurate than tissue testing is sap analysis. Analyzing a plant's sap is like getting a blood test; different from tissue testing, which shows what was happening in the plant at the time the leaf was picked, sap analysis shows us macro- and micro-nutrient mobility between old leaves and new leaves, which indicates what the plant's nutrient status will be in the future. This allows the farmer to apply biological amendments to the plant and surrounding soil in anticipation of these potential deficiencies so that their effects are never felt by the plant. We work with Crop Health Labs in Ohio and Nova Crop Control in The Netherlands to get sap analysis results and recommendations from the best and brightest in this budding field.
If you can't already tell, we are total nerds about this cutting-edge agricultural science. Using plant tissue and sap analysis helps teach us about the life cycles and nutrition needs of our crops; the more we know, the better we can farm, and the tastier and more nutrient-dense our produce is for our customers.
We are committed to providing our customers with produce that is healthy and safe to eat. Both Leah and Orlando have a Certificate of Training from the Produce Safety Alliance; we are completely up-to-date on the safety standards and protocols laid out in the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act that was signed into law in 2011. We strive to incorporate these standards into each aspect of our operation: from the moment a plant sprouts in our greenhouse or field, to the time that plant is harvested, and all the way until it lands in your shopping bag, we take particular care in eradicating all risk of the development of foodborne illnesses in our product. Our customers can rest assured that we make every effort to uphold these food safety standards.
Want to know more?
Organic growing practices, soil and plant health, food safety — as farmers, this is the kind of stuff that lights our fire. We could nerd out about this forever. If you want to know more, please contact us!