Cal-Organic Farms takes pride in the way we care for our vegetables, from our fields all the way to your home. Our delicious organic food starts with produce that’s grown in ways that protect what we value most – the health of our communities, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the future for generations to come. It is our character, consistency, and our caring that makes us unique and ultimately Cal-Organic.
Organic methods of food growing and processing rely on the earth’s natural resources. Pests and weeds are managed using earth-friendly means such as beneficial insects and mechanical controls. Organic produce is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, or fumigants. Organic produce is never genetically engineered or modified, and is never irradiated. Products labeled “certified organic” have been grown and processed according to strict USDA standards. Representatives from CCOF, a full-service third party organic certification agency, annually inspect our farms and facilities to ensure that:
• No synthetic chemicals have been used for at least three years
• Foods are processed using sustainable methods
• Buffers are established between their fields and nearby conventional farms
• Growers and processors keep detailed records of their practices
There are three key areas that play an important role in the development of organic farmland:
The foundation of organic farming lies in the health of the soil. A fertile soil provides essential nutrients to a growing plant and helps support a diverse and active biological community of microorganisms. Healthy soil keeps diseases in check. Beneficial microorganisms compete and prey upon disease-causing organisms. An organic farmer will rely on 1) composted animal and green manures which supplies nutrients, adds organic matter, and encourages biological processes in the soil; 2) “cover crops”, such as vetch, which improves the tilth and promotes soil fertility, suppresses weeds and diseases; and 3) “crop rotation,” to reduce the buildup of pests and diseases.
Controlling weeds is done by mechanical cultivation and by hand. Weed populations may be reduced by using crop rotations and by eliminating weeds before they set seed and reproduce. Weed management is based on prevention.
Organic farmers build up populations of beneficial insects, predatory or parasitic mites and spiders to help keep pest populations down. We use plant host crops, such as alyssum, vetch, and clover, as habitats for beneficial insects around fields. Crop rotation is also used to help with pest control as it breaks the infestation cycle, and prevents pest buildup. In severe infestations, farmers may use organically approved insecticides. These include soaps that interfere with an insect’s ability to respire, pheromones used as bait for traps and as disruptors of mating cycles and botanical extracts.