Our objective is to provide clean, nutritionally rich fruits and vegetables to customers in the Chippewa Valley and the Twin Cities, while building a business that supports our family.
We chose to work primarily with perennial fruit as we start to build a sustainable farm system. It’s important to us to build healthy, biologically active soil as a base for plant and human health.
As of July, 2016, our orchard is certified organic! We are not “no-spray.” We use a sprayer for different things throughout the growing season, including nutrient sprays that plants take up through on their leaves -- molasses, kelp, hydrolyzed fish, and compost teas. Through careful monitoring, when we determine that a pest (such as plum curculio!) or a disease (such as apple scab) reaches a threshold of economic damage, we use inputs that target that specific pest or disease.
Practices we’re proud of:
- We have planted and encouraged a diverse understory for our orchard, with wildflowers and perennial herbs mixed in with grasses and legumes, to provide habitat and food for beneficial species as a first line of defense.
- In maintaining plant health, we avoid inputs that negatively affect those beneficials, as well as inputs that persist in the environment.
- We conserve water, reducing our need for irrigation through mulching and building healthy soil for better water retention
- We avoid monoculture! Our orchard includes a huge diversity of plants, which provides a natural defense against pests and diseases, as well as helping us manage risk of loss in extreme weather events.
- We are constantly learning and improving our practices. We have taken part in Land Stewardship Project’s Farm Beginnings Program, Farm Business Management courses, UW Madison’s School for Beginning Apple Growers, Annual Midwest Organic Farming Conference, and annual events with the Organic Fruit Growers Association.
- Our home and outbuildings are built primarily from locally-sourced or reclaimed building materials and powered by renewable resources -- collected rainwater, solar energy, wood heating.