Appleton Farms veggies are now Certified Organic!
Since The Trustees’ founding in 1891 as a land conservation organization, we have preserved and protected farmland in Massachusetts. Today, we operate several beautiful and iconic working farms, while welcoming members and the public to visit, learn about sustainable agriculture, and best of all: enjoy and eat the food we grow for our communities.
Growing food sustainably is a key part of our agriculture vision. Organic production take a long term approach to land management, with a focus on biological processes to support production and healthy land.
This means we are committed to growing food without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides; and rather than depleting and eroding soils or polluting our nearby waterways, we are building soil health and nutrition through farming practices that contribute to a healthy local ecosystem where pollinators, birds, and wildlife can thrive in balance alongside our crops – preserving healthy farmland forever.
We have generally followed the organic standards from the very first year of cultivation on these fields (2002) and have discussed and debated certification within our farm team since then; we are taking the final step over the finish line to be fully certified organic now. We want to show our commitment to excellent land stewardship and sustainability by fully participating in the rigorous application and inspection process, and model transparency with you, our customers.
What does it look like?
We submit all of our farm records to a third-party inspector (Baystate Organic Certifiers), who works with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to determine our eligibility each year.
This includes everything that happens on our vegetable fields, from seed to harvest!
- We share all of our seed purchase records, sources for compost and fertilizers, water tests, planting schedules, sales details, equipment inventory, field maps, and much more with the inspection team, and will repeat this process every year.
- We host the certifier for a comprehensive farm inspection each year, after they have combed through all of our submitted records.
Limits and restrictions (Full Organic Standards listed here):
- We can spray herbicides or pesticides only if they are included on the list of approved materials – no synthetic chemicals or fertilizers are permitted.
- No GMO or treated seeds are permitted.
- Irrigation and wash water must be safe and within healthy limits.
Why not livestock and meats?
Our livestock production will continue not to be certified organic. Our dairy cows and beef cattle are almost entirely grass fed and we don’t use any synthetic fertilizers or routine antibiotics. However, we can best fulfill our stewardship responsibilities towards both our animals and our pasture lands if we retain the flexibility to use a broader range of safe and effective tools. We remain committed to raising healthy animals, working with humane processors, producing nutritious and delicious meats and taking care of our land to the very highest standards.
Summary: We care about food safety, crop nutrition and health, worker safety, and land stewardship! We are choosing to fully participate in the organic certification process to be even more transparent about our farming practices.