Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food
One of the key benefits to buying local is knowing who grows your food and how it is grown. We have a policy of being open with our customers and our growing practices and seek to educate you on how and why we’ve chosen these practices. Our top three concerns are always consumer safety, environmental stewardship, and quality control of our products.
All of our homegrown produce here at Ort Farms is grown in a way that is natural and sustainable. While we are not certified organic, there are many organic practices we use in our growing process. We are proud to use these methods to achieve our goal of providing safe, delicious, and quality products to our consumers while nurturing the land we grown on. One of our founding family members, Harvey Ort Sr, has lived here on the farm for over 85 years and he was raised eating homegrown meats and vegetables, grown on the same soil as those which he fed to his own children. We consider him living proof that eating local, farm-fresh food promotes a long and healthy life.
We work with Rutgers University to perform soil testing, which assesses the quality of the soil and nutrients available. When the results come in, this allows us to learn if we need to use any natural additives (such as lime or eggshells) to create the adequate soil properties and ph balance. We adjust home much additives are needed according to the soil test, as each different crop needs different amounts of nutrients. When we plant produce in the ideal soil it promotes healthy growth and higher yields naturally.
Biodegradable Ground Cover/Raised Beds with Trickle Irrigation
We use a biodegradable plastic ground covering that promotes moisture retention, controls soil temperature, and acts as a natural weed barrier. We all plant all of our produce on raised beds which promotes earlier growth, aids in moisture control, and is disease preventative. Trickle irrigation allows us to conserve water and fertilize as needed.
In relation to the soil testing, all of the fertilizers we use are formulas which contain natural nutrients for the soils.
Integrated Pest Management
We work with expert scouts from Rutgers University to monitor and control insects and other pests that damage our plants, The scouts monitor the amount of pests in our environment using a bug light trap and field scouting for insects. There are certain thresholds that we use for pest presence that dictates if and when we would take active pest control methods. This acts as a preventative measure and dictates use of pesticides on an as needed basis.
Every fall, cover crops are planted to start preparation for next year’s growing season. Cover crops reduce soil erosion, add natural nutrients, and help with weed control.