We refer to our vegetable department as the Farm Grown department and it encompasses all of the vegetable production here at Bartlett’s Farm. This includes certified organic greenhouse production, certified organic field production, conventional greenhouse production and conventional field production.
Currently we have 12 greenhouses which are certified organic by Baystate Organic Certifiers, 7 greenhouses for growing tomatoes conventionally, 20 acres of certified organic land, 10 acres in transition to certified organic production, and 85 acres in conventional field production. Bartlett’s Farm is designated as a mixed operation because we grow both certified Organic and conventional produce.
So how does certification work?
First we to learned the certification procedures of Baystate Organic Certifiers (BOC) and the organic standards of the National Organic Program, then submitted an application packet which then went to a certification specialist for technical review. When that was complete, an on-site inspection was performed to be sure we meet the requirements of, and were in compliance with the National Organic Program.
Now that we are certified, inspectors can visit the farm at any time to check for continued compliance, proper record keeping and to answer questions and provide guidance.
It is a common myth that products grown organically are grown without pesticides. There are hundreds of pesticides that are rated for use in organic growing. OMRI (Organic Materials Rating Institute) is the gatekeeper for organic pesticides and fertilizers and the document listing the chemicals approved for use is 58 pages long. Many are derived from natural sources and have been used in conventional growing for years. That being said, it is incumbent upon all growers, large scale and small, to choose and use every pesticide, herbicide, fungicide and fertilizer in the most responsible manner. That means following the label directions to the letter of the law, and providing training and continued education to all of our employees.
Our overall pest control program is driven by the principles of IPM, or Integrated Pest Management. The basic premise of IPM is this…insect populations are monitored and pesticides are only used when the population reaches a level where crop damage will be incurred. The population of beneficial insects (link to The Garden Center page) is also monitored and knock-down techniques that protect the beneficial insect population are chosen whenever possible. For more information about IPM, click here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_pest_management
The following crops are certified organic as of 2017, however things change from time to time, so if you are looking for organic produce, you can tell by the label or the sign.
mesclun salad mix
field grown flowers
all herb and vegetable seedlings sold in the GC are also certified organic
The following vegetables grown conventionally, using Integrated Pest Management techniques