Using a biological approach, we are growing wheat, rye, einkorn, oats, sunflowers, canola, buckwheat, black beans and hops in the town of Ancram, Columbia County, New York. We were USDA certified organic in July 2017 by NOFA-NY.
“Biological farming” is essentially putting soil health first and foremost. Crop rotation (we rotate both cash crops and cover crops) is foundational. We are proactively managing soil mineral balances, encouraging soil “biology” with bacterial and fungal inoculants and feeding this teeming wildlife with molasses, liquid fish and kelp as well as cover crops. Plant sap analysis is used to identify plant mineral imbalances which are remedied with foliar spraying. Cover crops, which are used to build soil organic matter, suppress weeds, recycle minerals and provide nitrogen, include red clover, berseem, turnips and radish.
The hop-yard, established in 2015, is currently one acre. It comprises 1000 plants, each plant deployed onto two strings. Irrigation is provided from a well with a solar powered submersible pump which feeds a tank atop a hill whence water is fed by gravity to the hop-yard drip lines. Hop varieties are Cascade, Chinook and Newport.
Operations & selling
All farm operations are done in-house with our own equipment. Hops are harvested, dried, pelleted and vacuum packed on the farm. Grain is dried, cleaned and stored on the farm prior to sale to local outlets. Our markets for our hops, grains and oilseeds are local brewers, malting houses, flour mills, bakers and livestock farms.