Neversink Organic Farm is Certified by NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC.
We are in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains on the floor of the Neversink River Valley. We are a small organic farm with 20 acres of mixed woods and pasture, with the Neversink River flowing through the middle. Here we strive towards sustainable human scale agriculture.
Our farm grew out of our passion for
food, a healthy environment and our interest in animal welfare.
We produce vegetables, fruits, flowers, honey, eggs and pork. This wide variety helps to build the circle of sustainability on a small farm.
Radical Practices and Outsider Agriculture
No Tractor / Human Scale
What can be more radical than removing the symbol of vegetable farming; the tractor? We practice Human Scale Agriculture which is farming by hand and replacing the tractor with hand tools. All planting, cultivation, and harvesting is done manually, though we use modern tools and techniques that keep us efficient and competitive. We find that farming this way is easier, more productive, and can produce vegetables of a higher quality.
We feel the minimum requirement for sustainable farming is to grow our products organically. Thus, we follow strict organic growing practices throughout the farm. Organic farming is not just about avoiding petroleum based fertilizers or pesticides, but about completely removing synthetics and genetically modified organisms from your food.
Its great that more and more farms want to avoid synthetics in their growing practices but we feel that without certification both small and large food producers may avoid the significant costs, complexities and time involved in fully removing synthetics from their operation. Removing synthetics is not an easy task and thus the certification standards are justly complex. Organic certification is really cheap ($150 our first year) and easy while practicing organic methods is expensive (thousands more than conventional) and complex. If we believe that it is not right for factory farms or corporations to call their products "un-certified organic", "practicing organic", "beyond organic" or "organically grown" without certification then it isn't right for small farmers, like ourselves, to do it. I am an organic farmer with in-depth knowledge of the National Organic Practices, and just knowing a farmer and visiting their farm, I would not be able to tell if their claims matched their practices. I just do not see how even the most well informed consumer could know. Thus, we believe that having our farm Certified by a non-profit third party, and supporting the organic standards, is the best way to move the entire food system towards Organic Agriculture.
Further Reading - Beyond Organic?
Deep and Intensive
We then move beyond the minimum of certifying our farm as organic and practice intensive planting and growing techniques. Our beds are replanted constantly through the season from early April through late fall. Our hoop houses produce vegetables year round. We do this by maintaining extremely fertile soil. As a result we do not need to leave fields fallow or cover crop. We believe that farming this way creates healthy vegetables resistant to diseases and pests.
We practice no till and use permanent beds that minimize soil disturbance. Instead of tilling our fields we manually broadfork our permanent beds. This maintains soil structure, reduces our weed pressure and helps keep our soil fertile. It an integral part of growing intensively without tractors
We believe customers should not be lied to or manipulated. We tell the truth about farming and our products when asked. We never market our products in a way to confuse customers with claims like "hormone free" on our chicken or pork, for example. It is illegal to give chickens or pigs hormones, and thus all are hormone free. Or make ridiculous assertions like being chemical free. Water is a chemical.
We also do not use words like natural, farm fresh, or make untested claims about nutrients in our food. We are certified by third parties where we can and then let the taste of our food stand on its own. Feel free to ask us anything about the food we grow.
Terms used to market vegetables which have no meaning and no validity; Certified Naturally Grown, Low Spray, Minimal Spray, Sensitive Spray, No Spray, Farmers Pledge, Chemical Free, All natural, Better than organic. These are not regulated or legal terms and are used to market vegetables to unsuspecting consumers. Check for a farms certified organic status to be sure that their claims have been verified.
More on food claims
We are redefining what sustainability means to our farm all the time. We started with the premise that the farm must sustain our family financially. Within that framework we try to employ more sustainable practices as our farm evolves and grows. Some practices we think add to our sustainability presently.