Beyond simply running a for-profit business that produces food, there is so much more that we do! Here are some of our key values, concepts, and business practices:
USDA Certified Organic, and beyond...
The USDA’s rules & regulations for Organic Certification are a starting point. We are fully certified, but this is not our end goal. We go beyond organic. Our vegetables are grown without any synthetic chemicals at all. No chemical pesticides. No chemical fertilizers. No chemical fungicides. No synthetic chemicals.
We want to provide produce of the highest quality possible for our local customers. With this concept, there is no need to ship produce long distances -- thus eliminating the need for preservatives and saving the cost of transportation!
We want our business operations to grow to just the right size. Not too big. Not too small. The quantity of what we produce should match the local demand. It is all about balance. There is no place for greed. We don’t want to compromise our values. For example, if we would produce more than our local customers need, then we would have a problem in that we would then need to ship our produce long distances, or use refrigeration, or use preservatives, etc. -- all of which would lower quality.
We believe in recycling, reducing energy consumption, working toward renewable energy sources, and being responsible stewards of the earth. We are working to create our own ecosystem around Bear Butte Gardens. We strive to minimize inputs from outside our system.
We are part of our community. We know our customers, and they know us. We meet each other at community events, at other local businesses, at school events, at weddings, and at funerals. We know their kids, and they know our kids. This is a way of life and it is important to us. It builds trust, respect, and civic responsibility. We wouldn’t want it any other way!
Do you know where your food comes from, how it was produced, and how it was handled? If you are interested, then we would love to share with you how we do it. Review our website, read our blog, check out our YouTube channel, visit our farm, ask questions, network with us. The more you know, the more you will enjoy!
Let me try to explain this by providing just a few examples of what we have done:
• Grasshopper problem? Instead of pesticides, use guineas to eat the grasshoppers.
• Mosquito problem? Instead of pesticides, improve habitat for bats and dragonflies.
• Pollination problem? Get a honey bee hive.
• Weed problem? Instead of herbicides, utilize mulch to discourage weeds, or arrange your garden so that shade created by desirable plants blocks-out un-desirable plants, or plant companion crops that will choke out undesirable plants.
• Soil nutrition problem? Instead of applying a synthetic, chemical-based fertilizer, try planting a companion crop (nitrogen fixer), or rotate crops, or apply natural compost, or try “hugelkultur” methods.
• Bugs eating your garden plants? Instead of pesticides, plant companion crops which repel bugs (e.g. garlic, marigolds), or encourage other bugs that will eat the bugs (integrated pest management) that are eating your plants.
The examples could go on and on. I think you get the point.
Why and How We Do What We Do
We make every attempt to live in harmony with nature, encouraging a habitat in which diverse life can exist.
Hand tools are a part of every-day life on the farm.
This is an example of using Hairy Vetch as a cover crop to enhance soil fertility (nitrogen fixer), to control weeds, and to provide a pollinator habitat.
Many folks consider Dandelions a nuisance, but we love them! Dandelions are one of the first plants to bloom in the spring and provide food for the bees, they mine nutrients from deep down and bring that nutrition to the surface, they bring moisture to the surface, and control erosion.
Got weeds? We do. Lambs help keep the weeds under control.
Spring cleaning of the chicken coop. All this bedding/manure goes to the compost pile.
More hungry mouths to feed on the farm. These guys will grow up to be part of our "bug control squad".
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We reduce water usage by utilizing drip irrigation methods.
Aphrodite, part of our critter control team.
The weed patrol, outside of the high-tunnel greenhouse. Oh, how they wish they could get inside the high-tunnel greenhouse!
The compost pile. The ultimate recycling program! It's hard to see by the photo, but this pile is about 8 feet tall, 15 feet wide, and 30 feet long.
Mike, keeping the equipment clean and well maintained.
Apolo, our greenhouse mouse control.
Michelle, enjoying a warm evening after a hard day of work in the gardens.