Farm Focus: Putting the 'certified' in Certified Organic

As you all know Frog Hollow Farm is a Certified Organic Farm but what does that really mean? If you have been a CSA member for a while you know that we use practices like compost, cover cropping and vermicompost to grow our fruits and veggies without chemical pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. California Certified Organic Farms (CCOF), the folks who provide our certification, audits the farm, with an inspection of the farm and our records to make sure that we’ve kept to our words. Passing this inspection comes down to two things: practices and proof of practices …. AKA: paperwork!

Practices:

You’ve read about lots of our farming practices which we see as normal, but might seem fairly strange and a whole lot of extra work to a conventional farmer.

Cover Cropping - For one thing, we encourage weeds to grow around our trees, letting them protect the soil from erosion and moisture loss. We weed whack that cover crop to create a living mulch which helps us retain moisture in the soil and add precious nutrients back into the soil for our trees to use.

Compost - Waste not, want not! Any fruit that doesn’t meet our standards to sell or cook goes right back into the soil through our compost program. Combined with wood clippings from pruning and coffee grounds from Blue Bottle’s iced coffee production, these materials help feed beneficial microbes who fight off pests and make nutrients more available for our trees. Additionally, we enlist the help of worms who help make vermicompost, which we use to make “tea” that gets sprayed on our trees to fight of microbial pests like brown rot.

Paperwork:

Now how does CCOF know we do all this stuff? Documentation, and lots of it. We’ve got to keep daily records of everything we apply in the orchards. We also have to make sure that our crew knows how it all works so we make lots of signs around the farm. The laminator has been working overtime as Rachel and Carla are busy making sure that everything is ready for CCOF to come next month to check up on everything.

Just another part of our exciting spring season!