Using a biological approach, we are growing hard red wheat, rye, einkorn, oats, sunflowers, canola, buckwheat, black beans and hops on 380 acres in the township of Ancram, Columbia County, New York. We are USDA certified organic by NOFA-NY, and certified by the Real Organic Project.
“Biological farming” is essentially managing the soil as the living ecosystem that it is. Foundational to this approach is maintaining a soil environment which shelters and feeds soil micro-organisms (primarily fungi and bacteria) which in turn make soil minerals and other compounds available to plants. We feed this underground wildlife with molasses, liquid fish and kelp, as well as cover crops. In addition to feeding soil micro-organisms, cover crops help build soil organic matter, suppress weeds, recycle minerals and provide nitrogen; “covers” we use include various clovers, turnips, radish, flax, oats, Phacelia, buckwheat, sunflowers.
Damage to soil through tillage is minimized through techniques such as planting green, roller-crimping, strip-tilling and tilling with abundant surface residue. Bare ground is avoided with year-round living roots (from cash crops and/or cover crops) being the goal. We are proactively managing soil mineral balances. Plant sap analysis is used to identify plant mineral imbalances which are remedied with foliar spraying.
All farm operations are done with our own equipment. All crops are grown for human food. Grain is dried, cleaned and stored on the farm prior to sale to local outlets: rye for distilling and milling, wheat and einkorn for milling, oats for rolling into oatmeal. Sunflower and canola seed is pressed into oil on-farm for sale locally.