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We are sending out our application to be Certified Organic!

posted Feb 7, 2012, 1:12 PM by Admin at Yacolt Mountain Farm and Nursery
After spending many hours working on organizing our records and filling out the paper work, I am happy to be able to announce that we are sending our application in the mail!
Some of you may wonder why we are so interested to be certified, because anyone that is interested to visit our farm can come see for themselves what our practices are. Some of you may just be interested to buy local and fresh. Others like the fact that we try to be sustainable, by using horse power and having a diversity of animals.
So why certify our farm to be organic? We have several reasons.
Although a lot of you may be able to have the time to come meet us, ask us about what feed we use, what fertilizers we use, make sure we are trust worthy and that they can believe we do as we say, many of you simply do not have the time to do a background check on all the farms they buy products from. Getting our certification is our way of telling you that you can trust that we follow all of the organic rules by the book. 
So what does organic really mean? It doesn't just mean that we don't spray any chemicals, it means that everything that we put on our fields has been recognized as an organic product, either through certification or because it is a generic natural product, such as lime for example. We buy organic seed, organic materials to make our nursery soil, organic planting stock, organic feed, organic bedding and organic minerals. Thus, when you buy vegetables, plants, fruit, turkey, chicken or eggs from us you can be certain that we have taken all the care to provide you with a product that is organic from start to end.
Now, you may think that all local farms use only organic products, but unless you have checked their records this may not be true. I know first hand that it is not always easy to find organic products and certain non-organic products may claim to be more natural than they really are. I understand that what we eat is a personal choice and some of you may not think non-organic products are harmful to us, but why take the risk. We want to certify our vegetables, plants, fruit, turkeys, chickens and eggs because we believe following organic practices is better for our health and our environment.
When we buy organic products we also believe that we are supporting other farmers that we can trust are following organic practices. Being certified organic gives us an obligation to never take a short cut.
In addition, we go through a lot of trouble and extra costs to buy only organic products, and because we do that, our products are more expensive to produce. Being certified is a way for us to get credit for all of this effort and justify our prices.

This being said, we will not include our sheep in our certification for only one reason. Although we follow organic practices and we are certifying our pastures to be organic, we are trading work for local hay which is not certified organic. We know this hay is not sprayed or treated in any way, but because it is not certified we are not allowed to claim our sheep to be organic. We looked around to buy organic hay but could find no local source so when our good friends, the Courtneys, asked us if we wanted to help them hay a few fields and trade for hay, we thought it made a lot of sense. Thus instead of buying organic hay from hundreds of miles away, we are trading for local hay which we know where it comes from. If we didn't know that this hay met organic standards we would not want to feed it to our sheep for our own consumption. We do not use antibiotics, hormones or do not feed our sheep any grains, and we use an organically approved garlic juice as well as rotational grazing to prevent parasites. We hope to some day produce hay on our own fields which will allow us to certify our lamb as well.

I should also mention that being certified organic does not credit us for free ranging and pasturing our chickens, using crop diversity, using horse power and other practices that we do to reach our goal of sustainability and to be ecologically balanced, so be sure to keep in mind that an organic certification is only a label that describes the use of organic products, it does not mean that any farm with certification uses humane, sustainable or small scale practices. To know your farmer well, will always give you the best sense of what you are buying.

 

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