Preserving the environment and soil structure for future generations of farming.
OUR FARMING PRACTICES
Crop rotation is one of the most important sustainable farming techniques. Ben has a map of what produce was planted in which field, every season. With Crop Rotation we can plan our fields accordingly to help eliminate disease transfer while using the nutrients in the field strategically. Some varieties of produce and fruit use larger amounts of certain nutrients like Phosphorous, Nitrogen & Potassium than others so it is strategic to plant one variety (needing a higher nutrient quantity) after a previous variety was planted in the same location (that used less of that certain nutrient). Crop Rotation also helps deter pests, especially boring insects.
In some parts of our fields, black mulch is laid down the entire length of the rows. Black mulch is beneficial because it warms up the soil increasing plant growth early in the spring; it can help insulate from late frosts, it reduces topsoil drifting, and it keeps the weeds down. Black mulch is a common technique used by organic farms. We are not certified organic, but we will use sustainable farming methods whenever we can.
We use black mulch with a few varieties, a great example is the vining crops like melons. Watermelons send shoots out in every direction which makes it very difficult to use a hoe without damaging their vines. Using black mulch eliminates the need for hoeing at all, and it gives the melons extra heat in the spring which results in more blooms and more melons!
We do not use herbicides. We weed by hand or weed with a hoe. This is a very important maintenance task in the field and is important to keeping good root structure in our plants. Even though we recognize how much time this takes to hoe an entire field, we feel that we are willing to put in the extra time because it is important to keep things as natural as possible for all of us.
We use as many natural methods in our fields as possible, but the short answer is we would use a pesticide if we were at risk of losing a whole crop. Though we have a lot of practices (like crop rotation) in place so that we're not ever in this position.
The longer answer: Many people don’t know that there are organic pesticides, they are naturally occurring compounds that can be applied to plants eliminating the pest problem while not harming the produce. We use one Certified Organic pesticide but we are not Certified Organic (CO).
We have many sustainable farming methods that support our mission to provide fresh vegetables fruits and herbs as naturally as possible to our CSA Members.
We use Drip Tape Irrigation instead of overhead watering systems because it conserves water and energy. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture declared this is the safest type of agricultural watering system for food safety.
Drip tape irrigation is a basically a thin plastic hose that runs the length of the rows, it has small pin-prick holes every 6 inches and waters the plants slowly allowing more water to go to the roots, also reducing run-off.
Another perk to drip tape is that the water doesn’t reach the middle of the rows where weeds like to grow. That allows for more time between hoeings of those fields because the weeds obviously don’t grow as fast if they aren’t watered.
Drip tape does not cause damage to the plants like traditional overhead watering systems. Overhead watering systems spray water evenly across the entire field. If water is on the plant’s foliage during the heat of the day, it can cause damage and ultimately lead to disease of the plants which would reduce the harvest success.
This season will look a little different for us here at Brown Family Farm.
In the past, we worked with a couple out of Elk River who tended to our hives. They moved to South Dakota to be closer to family and we wish them well!
Last season Ben's little sister Anna was tending to the bees here at the farm as a first time bee keeper.
This season, we will have bees at the farm again! Spoiler alert, they're really important ;)
We will also continue to have two honey packages for sale as Add-ons through our CSA!
We grow our produce with integrity knowing that we are doing everything we can to produce the highest quality, most nutritionally dense, & flavorful! fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs for our Members. I will go over some of our farming practices below.
Transparency and trust are both very important to our CSA, know your food & know your farmer!
Pictures and explanations only go so far. I enjoy explaining how we are mindful of our farming operation but there are different entities that can also confirm our farming practices.
We were recently certified by the State of Minnesota for our land stewardship!
We received the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification.
"Through this program, the public received assurance that certified producers are using conservation practices to protect Minnesota's lakes, rivers and streams."
We are proud to do right by our family, our customers & our farmland! Read more about our certifications and associations at the link below.