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Spring harvesting is in full swing at the farm, and we are seeing some beautiful produce coming off so far. April started off a little dry, but the rainfall over the last couple weeks has been consistent. We thought the insects were going to be out in full force by now due to the mild winter; however, we haven’t experienced many problems from a pest standpoint so far (fingers crossed). The strawberries we are picking are starting to get a bit smaller, but are still plentiful in number.
With the recent rains and warm weather, the grass and weeds seem to be growing a few inches a day! We are trying hard to keep up and there are only a couple of areas that need immediate attention now.
Direct seeded crops like carrots and beets are always a challenge this time of year. They take some time to germinate and by the time they emerge, they are already competing with weed and grass seedlings. It is of the utmost importance to clean these areas when the weeds are just beginning to surface. Unless you are using a flame weeder, you have to wait until your crop seeds sprout so that you don’t dig them out in your weeding efforts. You will save a lifetime if you can battle the weeds when they are just emerging as opposed to when they are a few inches tall.
As some of you who have read previous posts may know, we manage our farm using organic practices. We have been actively managing this way and keeping records for the past three years and we’ve recently become Certified Naturally Grown! This is a program that was developed for small farms and is an alternative to Certified Organic.
The production and management guidelines are very much aligned, but the certification process and record keeping requirements are different. With the Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) program, you are inspected and certified by other farms that are already a part of the program. To keep your certification (once you receive it) you must perform at least one inspection per year of another CNG farm.
The cost to maintain membership in the program is less than the Certified Organic program and is, therefore, an appealing option for smaller operations. Both of these programs are great options for farms that engage in sustainable practices and want to be able to market their products as such. If you are interested, check both of them out and see which one fits your operation and goals the best!
Brad manages our farm operations, which include our certified naturally grown farm outside Madison and the Kelly family’s plantation in Leesburg, Ga, known as Rock House Farm. Rock House Farm produces grass-fed beef, heritage Berkshire hogs, and two varieties of heirloom corn, among other crops.
Monday–Saturday 7am – 7pm
Monday–Saturday 7am – 10:30am
Monday–Saturday 11am – 3pm
Saturdays (April – September) 9am – 1pm