I just received noticed via e-mail that my paperwork and farm inspection have moved forward in the long process and that Happy Hollow Farm is now officially Certified Organic by the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP). I began this process back in February beginning with developing a farm management plan, creating field layout and growing maps, identifying nearly 100 different types and varieties of vegetables I'll be growing as well as a number of other things required by the certifying agency. The certification process is pretty intense, like one of my fellow farmer friends said, "It's like going thru your graduate thesis defense all over again."
The USDA Certified Organic label is a guarantee to you (my customers) among other things that no synthetic fertilizers, insecticides or other non NOP approved chemicals are used on this farm. My goal as a farmer is to provide as much habitat to beneficial insects as possible thru intensive crop rotation, cover cropping and soil health management practices. I purchase as much as possible organically raised seed (there are still some seed sources that are not yet available as organic). One of the main companies (Johnny's Selected Seeds) is working with growers to find out what seeds we want and then identifying ways to have them organically grown. My seed/sales rep. from JSS was just out to visit the farm a couple weeks ago; she was very interested in knowing what seeds I wanted but could not currently source as organic.
The NOP logo will be up on my website soon so keep a look out for it as well as other posts and pictures that I update on a regular basis. Happy spring to everyone! I'm ready for some sunshine!!!