We get this question often. We are not 100% organic but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t careful or safe when it comes to growing food not only for you, our customers, but also for our own family.
We have been as concerned as any other family with children and pets about how to grow tasty food that is free from harmful chemicals while also yielding a good product. With Bill’s experience in the agricultural world, we feel that we have had an opportunity that many ‘newer to farming’ local farmers have not had regarding first hand knowledge in how all of the chemicals (everything IS a chemical after all) synthetic and naturally occurring can help or hinder proper food growth.
We do use some of the safer organic chemicals, but didn’t want to limit ourselves from being able to use newer pest control methods that are safer to mammals and the environment than some of the organic materials. These methods include mating disruption, insect viruses (that only affect worms), and fermentation products that are in the safety range of beer. Believe it or not some of these materials haven’t received organic registration at this time. Organic growers can still use antibiotics on their produce along with organic forms of insecticides (plant extracts, etc.) many of which kill the beneficial insects that are trying to eat the bad bugs for us.
We don’t use organophosphate or carbamate insecticides, which are considered to be longer lasting and more harmful to our environment. We do use some synthetic pyrethroids. These are the same materials that we apply to our pets for flees and to ourselves for ticks and mosquitoes. They are rapidly broken down into harmless plant type materials by the sun.
When we make choices regarding any pest control system on our farm we always take into consideration the effect on the food, the soil and surrounding environment, any animals that may come into the area, and of course, how our human bodies may respond. Many of the pest control systems available to us today manage the reproduction of the insect by simply not allowing the males to find the female. Even many of these methods have not yet been approved by the organic governing body.
Please email us here: lori at mackintoshfruitfarm.com let us know if you have any other questions. We’ll get them posted on a FAQ page soon.
Sincerely,Bill and Lori Mackintosh