Sunday, July 13, 2008

Grower's Statement

Our mission is to grow the finest quality produce, focusing on flavor, freshness, and nutrition. We’ll use only sustainable farming methods that will enhance the soils natural fertility, and thereby its capacity to produce healthy produce.

We have moved back to southeastern Massachusetts, after farming for 2 seasons at Hawthorne Valley Farm in the Hudson River Valley of New York State. Hawthorne Valley is a diversified farm producing Biodynamic vegetables, milk, yogurt, and other value added products. Before my time in NY, I have farmed on Martha’s Vineyard and in the Boston area. This season as we begin to get the new farm established on Tucker Road, I’ll be managing the Dartmouth YMCA’s Sharing the Harvest Project; a 2-acre community garden that produces vegetables for hunger relief efforts on the Southcoast.

As a vegetable grower, I believe there is a strong relationship between the quality of food and the soil upon which it grows. Over the next few seasons we’ll work to build the soil on Tucker Road, improving its biological activity, chemical balance, and physical structure. This first season we have sown a good portion of our main field with clover, oats, and vetch which will act as cover crops building the soil for the future.

Long term, our focus will be to continue to build the health and quality of the soil, realizing without vibrant soils sustainable agriculture couldn’t exist. In addition to the use of cover crops (or green manures) we’ll be enriching soil fertility using compost, rock minerals, biodynamic preparations (compost teas), and trace mineral fertilizers.

We will not use any “chemical” fungicides, herbicides, or pesticides in the production of our vegetables. Instead we’ll work to create healthy soils, to produce healthy plants that are more resistant to the common ailments and pests affecting crops in the Northeast. We’ll use crop rotation to minimize disease and insect pressure, and also utilize row cover when necessary to prevent insect damage. Cultivation will be done with small scale equipment and with hand tools, instead of chemical pesticides.

We’ll begin monitoring our produce quality using a refractometer, which measures Brix levels. Brix levels reflect the total soluable solid content of a crop and are associated with both sweetness and nutrient density. We believe that our growing methods combined with a short-time between harvest and marketing will allow our crop’s quality and flavor to surpass that of produce typically found in supermarket aisles.

If you have any questions or would like more information about our farm, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Derek Christianson

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