HOW WE GROW
Many customers ask us whether or not our fruit is organic. Unfortunately we are not organic, but we are gradually reducing the amount of chemicals we expose our fruit to.
Insects pose one of the greatest threats to the well being of our fruit. The cheap and easy method for eradicating these pests is a shotgun approach to spraying insecticides - simply spraying all the trees on a regular basis. We used to employ this technique.
However, over the last several years we have taken steps to reduce our chemical usage in an attempt to provide cleaner, safer fruit for our customers and to become more environmentally friendly. We have a couple of different methods that help us do this:
- Mating disruption is the process of interrupting the mating process for harmful insects. We have used this method to replace restricted-use pesticides. As a part of the mating process for peach tree borer, lesser peach tee borer, oriental fruit moth and codling moth, the female insects release a complex chemical mixture of sex pheromones meant to attract their male counterparts. By placing synthetic pheromone strips on our peach and apple trees, we are able to prevent the males form locating the females in the first place. This then decreases the reproduction rates, which in turn decreases their population totals in our orchard.This selective method also allows us to target only the insects that are harmful to peaches and apples, while not harming the insects that are very helpful to us. There are several predatory mites that are necessary to prey on the dreaded European Red Mites that would otherwise require harsh chemical usage to exterminate.
- Planting sweet clover and sunflowers is also beneficial to keeping our growing environment as natural as possible. The sunflowers keep bees present, and bees are very important for cross-pollination in apples. The yellow sweet clover we plant on old orchard acreage not only aids in cross-pollination, but it also builds up the ground and keeps it healthy for future plantings. Because the sweet clover builds up the soil, less fertilizer is needed later on.