We must draw our standards from the natural world. We must honor, with the humility of the wise, the bounds of that natural world and the mystery which lies beyond it, admitting that there is something in the order of being which evidently exceeds all our competence.
Our Pledge of Organic Excellence
Round Right Farm is uncertified organic. We've decided not to seek organic certification because of the additional cost (now formidable since the WV Dept. of Ag. has ended its subsidies for certification). The cost of certification would push us toward raising our prices and we feel organic food should be affordable and accessible to all. We also feel a single annual visit to a farm, as is common practice among certifying agencies, is not adequate enough to actually certify that a farm follows organic practices. The infrequency of check-ins would make it very easy for an unscrupulous farmer to be certified organic when they shouldn't be. In our eyes, this makes certification potentially meaningless.
This is not meant to imply anything negative about farms that are certified organic. We know that organic farming works, and we trust that the large majority of certified organic farms are the real deal. We also know certification is required for growers who want to sell to certain wholesale markets and don't have the luxury of a direct connection to their ultimate customers.
We hope that you will pay us a visit and certify for yourself that the land is being farmed organically. We consider the farm a semi-public space, and, as such, invite our customers to visit the farm unannounced. Let us know once you arrive, and please do not be offended if we are occupied and unable to give you full attention, but do feel welcome to explore our operation. If you'd like a more formal tour, please make an appointment.
We purchased a hay field in 2006 and have been building our dream farm ever since. Since pesticides are not normally applied to hay fields, you can take comfort in knowing that no pesticides have been used on the land since it was taken out of corn production over two decades ago.
We promise not to use unnecessary and harmful inputs in the production of our produce and meats. This means that we do not use any of the following:
- Synthetic and chemical pesticides or herbicides
- Fossil-fuel based and chemical fertilizers
- Genetically modified seeds or feeds
- Growth hormones or antibiotics
- Manure from animals whose daily diet includes antibiotics or synthetic hormones
Organic is not just a list of "do nots" however. At Round Right Farm, organic means that we make every possible effort to improve the quality of our soil and increase the number and diversity of soil organisms on which healthy soils depend.
Incorporating cover crops and applying mulches adds organic matter to the soil, and organic matter is central to improving soil quality. It is the food that allows the myriad of micro and macroscopic soil organisms to grow and multiply. These organisms convert formerly living tissue (organic matter) into nutritive forms that are usable by the plants. They then become plant-available nutrients themselves when they die and decay. Undigestible portions of organic matter remain in the soil, adding to its moisture retention ability, nutrient carrying capacity, and soft texture. Soils with large amounts of organic matter and a diverse biosphere create a stress-free growing environment, giving plants an ideal place to grow and the strength they need to naturally resist pests. Combined with a good crop rotation, this makes pesticide inputs largely unnecessary. We have never been tempted to try agricultural strategies based on substances that are not biologically derived. To the contrary, we have always been able to find organic solutions to farming's many challenges.
Hoeing a furrow through the oats & peas cover crop for the next year's garlic. Winter frosts will kill the oats and peas, leaving a beautiful mulch and lots of organic matter for the garlic. No worries about winter erosion in this field.