We grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on the farm. We do not often bag, bunch, or otherwise mutilate or organize our veggies—you pull them out of bulk bins that are coming in a stream from the field. Things are pulled out of the soil and put on the tables for you to pick up often quite literally as you stand there and watch.
While the farm does not produce any animal products and employs only veganic growing practices (see below), we will offer for separate purchase eggs from some of the outstanding farms nearby whose growing practices we trust (shout out to http://www.oldfordfarm.com/ ).
Historically, the vast majority of our distribution has been through the CSA model. We are looking to expand our distribution channels over the coming years.
The choices we make in our growing practices are not based on profits or yields as much as they are on our commitment to the health of the land and our bodies.
WEED CONTROL: We don't use anything but mechanical cultivation or mulch. We DO NOT use herbicides in our growing fields—even the USDA-Certified organically approved herbicides.
PEST AND DISEASE CONTROL: We feel that too many of even ORGANICALLY-APPROVED pesticides and fungicides are far too toxic, not only to the environment but the farmer and the consumer so we use them extremely sparingly. If we apply a product on our crops that is not organically-approved, we will tell you what and why we applied it and most importantly why it passes OUR definition of "safe"-for us, for the environment, and for you.
FERTILITY MANAGEMENT: Our fertility program also differs (drastically!) from common Organic practices and we keep members up-to-date on what we do through the CSA newsletters. We are very lucky because we have an excess of land and so we are able to rotate complete fields and we can use green-manuring and fallow years to replace nutrients lost during cash crop years. Still, we DO make mistakes (or have a cover-crop failure) and so sometimes we fall short (and some nutrients simply can't be grown in place, so need to be replaced through other means). We do not subscribe to wholesale use of bought-in chemical fertilizers as being a sustainable way to farm BUT neither can we approve of the standard practice on organic farms of tons of salt-ridden, GMO/PESTICIDE/HORMONE-laden factory-farmed waste-product manure, which is currently the PRIMARY source of nutrients on USDA-Certified Organic farms!
IRRIGATION: We do not use the river for irrigation and instead irrigate using the same spring water that we drink and that has been tested clean and pollutant-free, unlike the river. We've NEVER irrigated out of river and won't.
SEEDS: We don't use any chemically treated or Genetically Modified seeds here, but we do NOT always buy organic seeds. Mostly we buy based on what varieties are best suited to our situation and will grow best here with the best taste and nutrient level. So ... if there are two varieties of broccoli, and we know one is better than the other for us ... EVEN if it was raised non-organically (*as long as it doesn't have a chemical seed coating) we won't hesitate to buy it!
Although everyone thinks we are, Huguenot Street Farm is not TECHNICALLY an Organic farm! We were at one point Certified Naturally Grown, a standard that we helped develop right here on the farm.
See https://www.naturallygrown.org and our Innovations tab for more information.
Here's a little background:
Regardless of growing practices, to call yourself "Organic" in the United States, you have to be certified by an agency approved by the USDA. Although there are many amazing organic farmers in the country and a crowd of inspiringly passionate people working on the USDA Organic program, we do respectfully disagree with some of the practices (currently) used on USDA-Certified Organic farms. We do not feel they are safe to the soil or consumers and we feel that recent science is proving our points.
We also have concerns about the process by which farms obtain USDA-Certified Organic status at this time. We feel that it might be appropriate for big farms selling into the anonymous mass-market food chain, but it is unnecessarily expensive and exclusionary for small direct market farmers.
So what is veganic agriculture? Basically, for us, it just means that with the possible exception of our McEnroe organic potting soil we don't use any slaughterhouse by-products or manures to grow our fruits and vegetables. All vegetables are grown using green-manure-cover-crops and plant-based nutrient sources, as well as ground-up rock powders. Really, we are just "cutting out the middle man." The middle man in this case is the cow, chicken, horse, pig, or whatever. What is their manure made from anyway but plant materials? There is no "magic" that goes on inside the animal that makes their manure better for the soil or plants than if we used the base material. In FACT, it is quite the opposite if you are using factory-farmed wastes!
Organic crops grown using factory farmed manures and offal are now PROVEN to take up the toxic products used in those factory farms! People buying USDA-Certified Organic products and thinking they are avoiding the chemicals that poured onto factory farms (and into confinement factory-raised animals) are being horribly fooled. It has become too common for some organic vegetable farms (especially the big ones that now grow most all the organic produce you buy in grocery stores) to rely almost exclusively on slaughterhouse by-products (chicken manure, blood, bone, and fish meal) to get nutrients to their plants.
The idea of supporting these industries in any way, and putting what we consider to be toxic waste products onto our otherwise clean fields, seems completely counter to our goal of organic clean living.
It's important to note that not ALL farms using animal waste products are getting them from factory farms! Many (especially smaller) local organic farms have their own well-treated animals, or have access to a neighboring farm's manure. If this is something you are concerned about, just ask your local organic farmer how they handle nutrient needs on their farm. They'll be more than happy to explain it to you.
Also known as Antique or Heritage varieties, they are the taste of another place and time. Bursting with flavor and nutrients, these varieties generally do not ship or store as well as the newer hybrid (or GM) varieties currently in the grocery stores. This makes them a perfect match for a CSA farm, where everything is hand-picked and packed and moves from our field to your table in hours instead of days. We have a tremendous background in heirloom seeds. Peppers, Melons, Squash, Cucumbers ... you name it, we've personally tried more varieties than you knew existed ... and we're still learning and trying more!
Although the bulk of our food is distributed through the CSA, we have a growing number of terrific restaurants that we provide with our produce:
A Tavola (New Paltz)
Mountain Brauhaus (Gardiner) http://www.mountainbrauhaus.com
The Commissary (New Paltz)
We also sell produce through High Falls Coop and Health and Nutrition in New Paltz when we have more than the CSA can handle. And we give away good quality surplus to the Family of New Paltz Food Pantry and Dutchess Outreach as well.
If you are interested in contacting us about restaurant or wholesale ordering, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.