At J&A Farm we grow our vegetables according to organic principals. We are not Certified Organic. However….
All of our produce is ‘Certified Naturally Grown’. The following is a description of CNG from their website (feel free to visit their website for more info):
“Certified Naturally Grown farmers and beekeepers share a commitment to work within the natural biological cycles that are necessary for a truly sustainable farming system – a system that works in harmony with micro-organisms, soil flora and fauna, pollinators, plants and animals. Building on Organic Standards: A set of internationally accepted standards and practices for organic agriculture exists, but there’s always discussion around the edges of what should officially be considered organic. We took the USDA’s Organic standards as a starting point for our produce and livestock programs, to minimize confusion. As a private non-profit organization, we have the freedom to set our own standards, and we’ve chosen to do so in particular instances. CNG’s apiary standards were generated “from scratch” (the NOP doesn’t define standards for beekeepers) but in keeping with organic principles. Certified Naturally Grown is not affiliated with the USDA National Organic Program. Our certification programs do not confer permission to use the word “organic”. ” http://www.naturallygrown.org/programs
We are are also members of NOFA-NY and have signed their farmers pledge to farm according Organic practices and principles. To see a copy of the farmers pledge click on this link to the NOFA website…http://issuu.com/nofa-ny/docs/editable_certificate.docx
Why don’t we just label our produce as ORGANIC?
According to USDA regulations, we may not label our produce with the word ”Organic” because we are not “Certified Organic”. We have not paid a USDA certifying organization to give us a certificate that says that our produce is grown according to USDA Organic standards. Our lack of an Organic label in no way indicates a lack of commitment to organic growing practices.
So what does growing according to Organic Standards mean?
In order to be Certified Organic, a farm must only use inputs and controls (pesticides, fertilizers, amendments, treatments) that are approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). Mostly these are compounds that are naturally derived rather than synthetic formulations. At J&A Farm we only use inputs that are OMRI approved. Plainly put, that means that we do not use fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides unless they are approved for use on Certified Organic farms. But that is not all that Organic farming is about. We do a lot of work to build a healthy natural environment on our farm that supports biodiversity to keep diseases and pests in check. This entails; weed management, integrated pest management, crop rotation, incorporation of cover cropping and good sanitation practices. At J&A Farm we do not use any animal manures as fertilizers, we are lucky to grow in rich black dirt (muck soil) which by its very nature contains up to 80% organic matter. In addition, we take special care to handle our produce with great respect to food safety, ensuring that the food you get is clean, fresh, delicious and safe in every way so that you can feel good about eating it and feeding it to your loved ones. For more about what we do and don’t do, feel free to click on the link above for the farmers pledge.
What about seeds and varieties? We choose our seeds according to several factors including growing conditions and habit, flavor and taste. We always use seed that is un-treated and Non-GMO seed. We use certified organic seed whenever possible.