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Growing Practices

At The Pickwick Place, we strive to provide a safe, sustainable, and affordable product for our customers. The environment is of utmost importance to us and we do many things to go above and beyond what’s required. We use a “hybrid” production method that includes the best practices of both organic and conventional agriculture. To get started, you might be wondering what is sustainable agriculture? The USDA defines it like this:

"The term sustainable agriculture means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term:

-satisfy human food and fiber needs;

-enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends;

-make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls;

-sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and

-enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole."

How do we practice sustainable agriculture? First, we use an Integrated Pest Management approach (IPM) which includes monitoring, trapping, and utilizing biological controls. Monitoring a crop ensures that pesticides aren’t being applied when they aren’t necessary; we only spray when we know what exactly is there. Once a pest is identified, we need to know how many are out there before deciding on an appropriate response. A threshold is determined specific to each crop and each bug to decide this response. The third part to IPM is biological controls; once a threshold is reached we then decide what to spray, and if appropriate, it will be a biological pesticide. There are many new biological pesticides coming out that are forms of living organisms and are often very safe.

Every pesticide that is considered for production is assessed with their Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ). An EIQ takes into effect all impacts a pesticide might have on the environment, workers, and consumers and compiles this information into a rating that is easy for growers to decide upon. We aim to only use pesticides that are classified as Reduced Risk (RR). By focusing on RR pesticides, it takes the guesswork out of whether a certain pesticide is safer than another.

Cover crops and no-till are also very important to what we do. No-till is exactly what it sounds like, not tilling your ground. Soil is very alive which is not recognized by many people: earthworms, enzymes, fungus, and organic matter all play an important role in keeping the soil healthy and preserving it for many years to come. Did you know that it takes 500 years to create one inch of topsoil? Soil is one of our most valuable resources. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Lastly, we want to convey all that we do to you, our customers. Questions are always welcomed and we would be more than glad to start discussions with what you might have questions about! Feel free to contact Ethan, our produce grower, at any time via email.