Over the last fifteen years, 6th generation farmer/owner, Dave Bartlett, has been transitioning every aspect of Bartlett’s Farm’s field grown produce to Certified Organic. It has been a long and arduous process; endless lists of requirements, years of transitioning the fields away from conventional approaches, buffer zones, long inspections, and a mountain of paper work.
Bartlett’s journey of becoming fully certified organic still has a ways to go, but completion is finally in sight. Currently, the vast majority of Bartlett’s field production is already certified organic, some is in the transitioning process, and a small percentage still requires conventional methods. One of the last crops to complete the process and become certified organic is our sweet corn.
The organic crops of corn start in the greenhouse; the cornstalks were germinated in the greenhouse and transplanted into the field after a few weeks; a process Bartlett’s does with most crops, but has not done with corn since at least 2002. The corn was transplanted on black plastic and drip tape, a similar process as our field tomatoes and lettuce. The black plastic helps with weed control and drip irrigation injects the exact amount of water & nutrients explicitly where needed. This process allows more control over the plant’s environment, increasing viability from the get go; the goal of any good agricultural operation.
Transitioning a fan favorite to certified organic is still a very a daunting task as ditching conventional methods can initially cause serious headaches with pest management and plant fertility. Dave tells us the crop’s vigor, fertility and yields could not be stronger; a welcome sign of what is in store for the near future.
As a wonderful surprise to everyone, we will have some certified organic sweet corn for sale in the Market this weekend! We will have two organic varieties ready to pick; Allure Organic from Harris Seeds, and Natural Sweet from Johnny’s Seeds. This crop will not last long, though! The crew will pick daily, Thursday through Saturday, but when it’s gone, it’s gone! This crop is in addition to our regular crops, so no need to fret, there will be enough corn to go around!
Dave says the goal is to push all farm grown corn to certified organic and to move as close to 100% certified organic production as our island environment will allow. It will be at least three more years before this process can be completed. So far, it has been a long and painstaking process, but one well worth the effort. We sure have enjoyed the ride, and the sweet treats along the way.