We look beyond certifications and labels, measuring the sustainability of a grower’s practice on an individual basis. Fundamentally, we work with growers driven by flavour,flavor, not yield and their growing methods reflect that choice. By having real transparency in our interaction with our growers, we are able to know exactly how they grow.
Incredible flavour flavor is a good indicator that a plant is grown sustainably, but we have identified six growing methods that we believe are key to building a more sustainable food system. We look for at least one of these techniques in each of our growers. Where there is room for improvement in their practice, we offer our support to make the transition possible.
We build the necessary infrastructure for small-scale growers to supply their produce at a higher volume without the need to compromise on the sustainability of their methods.
Promoting the presence of bacteria & fungi, grasses, trees, insects and mammals on the land.
Creating a natural environment in order to encourage this biodiversity through limited or no use of pesticides.
i.e. Jean-Emmanuel Rigas,
Wildflowers and linseed grow between his grape trellises as natural pest control, resulting in open pollination of his eight different varieties.
i.e. Nicholas Boldt,
Stone fruit trees at Nicholas Boldt Farms are an indirect food source for red-tailed hawks and owls. Nicholas and his team carefully select each fruit for Natoora, picking by hand when the fruit is fully ripe. Anything that doesn’t meet their standard or has fallen from the trees is left behind as food for the local ecosystem.
NO OR MINIMAL USE OF CHEMICAL INTERVENTION
Provide transparency on use and frequency of chemical and synthetic fertilisers, and pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides).
Use of these measures is limited to a last resort, if at all.
i.e. Oli at Mora Farm,
Inspired by the Natural Farming philosophy of Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka, Oli treats his quarter-acre fields as small gardens - letting biodiversity flourish and nurturing the soil for the future.
i.e. Nevia at Bodhi Tree
Farm, Pemberton, NJ
Nevia grows with no chemical intervention, allowing nature to take its course on her vegetables; loss is inevitable and is managed through growing a diverse mix of varieties. In line with Buddhist philosophy, Nevia believes that the natural processes of struggle allows her crops to develop extraordinary depth of flavor with each new naturally occurring stress factor.
Selection of heritage varieties for flavour flavor, not yield or shelf life.
Saving own seeds year on year from their best performing plants for future crops.
i.e. Martin & Ted Sanders’
Martin and Ted are the third and fourth generations of their family to be saving seeds of Purple Sprouting Broccoli, capturing the physical characteristics that they value most: multiple sideshoots, deep purple heads and tender, leafy stalks.
i.e. Kitchen Garden Farm in
Tim and Caroline grow over 150 varieties of peppers, constantly trialing seeds from around the world. Over fifty are grown from their own saved seeds, selected and saved for the traits they value most: depth of flavor and heat, never yield.
TRADITIONAL GROWING TECHNIQUES
Practice of traditional growing methods that preserve the cultural artistry of their growing region.
Producing varieties with the unique characteristics that industrial practices are in danger of eliminating.
i.e. Sand-forced Pink
Most industrial growers plant modern varieties that have been developed to ‘self-blanch’ in the field. Our grower Antonello perseveres with sand-forcing for the delicately-balanced flavour flavor, dense texture and standout colour that only this unique method of growing can produce.
i.e. Chris & Jessi at Campo
Rosso, Gilbertsville, PA.
Chris and Jessi opt for growing practices and seed varieties inspired by our Italian grower, Antonello, in Veneto. Looking for extraordinary flavor over yield, they tie each head of radicchio carefully in the field which deprives the core of chlorophyll. This manual process results in tender leaves almost free of bitterness.
No or low tillage of the land to protect ecosystems against soil erosion and nutritional depletion.
Low tillage also contributes to increasing organic soil matter and sequesters carbon.
Cover cropping: This practice suppresses weeds, manages soil erosion, helps to boost soil fertility, controls diseases and pests.
Crop rotation: allowing soil to rest for a full growing season. This practice restores the nutritional deficits caused by the cultivation of particular varieties.
Composting: using it to build organic matter and provide natural fertiliser.
i.e. Oscar Zerbinati in
Oscar solarises the fields post the last harvest in September to cleanse the soil, adds manure and tills it, preparing it for a rest over the winter. Soil rotation is practised through excess land that is not cultivated year round. Legumes are planted to regenerate and reinvigorate the soil.
i.e. Garcia Organic Farm in
Operating organically since the early 1990s, the Garcia family utilizes chicken compost, cover crops, and mulch to maintain its fertile soil. Beneficial insects like lace wings and lady bugs protect the family’s 60+ varieties of fruit.
Use of renewable energy in their production.
Close attention paid to their waste production and resource use.
Use of a water conservation system.
Recyclable or compostable packaging.
i.e. Crocadon Farm,
Our farm in Cornwall has water conservation systems in all the sink units used for washing vegetables and salads. Silt and residue is filtered at the bottom of the unit and clean water is then recycled into the hose. These systems significantly reduce the volume of water used on our farm.
i.e. Fifth Crow Farm,
Fifth Crow irrigates its certified organic crops with water-saving systems and a steady supply of coastal fog. A portion of the land is leased from the Peninsula Open Space Trust, an organization devoted to protecting open land on the San Mateo Coast.