Growing Methods Glossary
Our farms represent a variety of different growing philosophies, balancing sustainability and environmental considerations with economic and natural realities. At Pippin, our goal is to give you all the information you need to be able to shop by your values, whatever those may be. Here is where you can learn more about the growing methods that are noted alongside each farm's profile.
Some farmers choose to have their farms certified organic. The lengthy (and often costly) process includes: avoidance of synthetic inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics; banning of GMO products, farming on land that is free of prohibited chemicals, and on site inspections. In the New York region, the Northeast Organic Farming Association is responsible for the certification process.
The goal of a biodynamic farm is to create a living, holistic system that is self-renewing, rather than needing to depend on imported materials. The biodiversity of the farm is organized so that the waste from one area becomes energy for another area. This farming philosophy has its roots in terrestrial and cosmic forces, looking to the environment and outside forces to dictate fertility and soil management, as well as seed production and planting calendar. Rather than synthetic materials, biodynamic farms use fermented manure, minerals and herbs to enhance the quality, flavor and nutrition of the food being raised.
Integrated Pest Management
This form of pest management focuses on prevention instead of extermination, which means fewer (although not necessarily no) chemicals covering your food. Farms that use IPM prevent pests by reducing clutter, trash, and overgrown vegetation, installing pest barriers like netting and fencing, emptying standing water, and more. Should creepy crawlies find their way in, farmers employ traps, heat and cold treatment, physical removal, and occasional and targeted pesticide application.
Natural Pest Control
For farmers who want to keep it extra safe, they use natural pest control. Similar to IPM, farmers remove weak plants that may be infected, build healthy soil through natural composting, and spray or lay seaweed which contains natural pesticides like sulfur, iron, zinc, and other elements. The method requires focus and time to ensure plants are well cared for without the need of chemical intervention.
The natural pollination method is preferred among many farms. It reinforces the natural ability for a plant to bear fruit and seeds, and hinges on insects, animals or wind to transfer pollen from the male to female part of a plant. A thriving bee population is integral to this method, so many farms provide attractive habitats to keep bees in their fields or rent hives during the growing season. Bees, of course, are rewarded for their work with all the nectar and pollen they can eat!
Drip irrigation is one of the more popular methods of irrigation in the region, as it conserves water and targets small and specific areas of crop rows. The irrigation system is fairly simple, using a network of tubes, pipes, and valves that are positioned to steadily drop water directly onto the soil surface or to the plant’s root base. Unlike surface irrigation, such as sprinkler systems, drip irrigation reduces evaporation, which is how it conserves water use.