I decided to skip "Wordless Wednesday" due to the fact that I don't really have any pictures besides snow! I think everyone is tired of seeing snow. So I decided that I would take this opportunity to go into detail on how we decided what to do as far as chemicals.
When we were first thinking of starting the farm, we had talked to a representative from Cornell Cooperative Extension about the soil and what they thought we should do. When they came out they told us that our land was not good, our soil had a lot of clay and we would have a very hard time growing. We would have to add a lot of matter and minerals to get the soil to a good point. Mind you, we live on a hill and have no flat land at all. So we also have to deal with a lot of soil erosion and rocks. Which every produce farmer has to deal with rocks!
So our first year we decided that we were going to grow and not worry about the organic stuff, so we used commercial fertilizers. We also sprayed when needed, which was not much. To be honest our crop that year was very good. It was beautiful. We had very few problems as far as pests and things of that nature.
The next year we decided that we would just use commercial fertilizers. Our product that year came out pretty good as well. We had some problems with aphids in the greenhouse, which we used insecticidal soap with a Neem oil base. Neem oil is an organic insect repellent. It comes straight from the Neem Tree. Other than that it was not too bad of a year.
Our third year, we did a lot of discussing and research over growing everything organically. We decided that we were going to go that route and eventually get the organic certification. Our crop has been ok from then on, but we don't have enough organic matter to get the nutrients into the soil that we need. Our produce is always under nourished and weak. It has not been the quality we want.
Now this is how we wanted to grow. We don't want our kids exposed to the chemicals, let alone our customers. But our product has been suffering. We haven't been getting enough yield out of the product that we plant.
So we discussed things this year and decided that we will still not use any sprays or insecticides. But we are going to use commercial fertilizer. Where we live, and the type of soil we have is just not working. We cannot get enough organic matter into the soil to get it to the level we need.
I know a lot of our customers like the fact that we have been growing naturally, but at this point we need to make a change. We do not want to be buying a ton of produce in (which we don't know if it has been sprayed or not) to be able to supply our customers in the Binghamton markets. We want to give you what we grow. And if we do not use the fertilizer we would more than likely have to buy in produce to be able to make the amount of money we need to sustain the farm. We hope that you as our customers will appreciate that we are honest and up front. We hope for a great year, a great yield and a great weather season.