Although we have not yet retained our Organic Certification from the USDA, we have taken great care in selecting the best organic starter plants and using all organic practices on them from day 1 to provide the best fruit possible. We do, however, feel that the practices we use are above and beyond "Organic" certification in that we use no salt based chemical fertilizers and no pesticides aside from an occasional Neem treatment.
We have a system in place to ensure the healthiest plants possible. More information will be coming soon regarding our procedures for various pests or problems with plants. Below are some common terms used in the garden.
Chitosan has been repeatedly found to exhibit potent antimicrobial activity in plant tissue as well as the induction of plant defenses, and/or the stimulation of beneficial microbes. These beneficial microbes also stimulate root growth which in turn reduces irrigation consumption. Fertilizers and pesticides not only destroy the microbes that make healthy soil, but also promote soil compaction by destroying the food-soil web, which are the organisms which keep soil loose and fertile. Loose soil better maintains an aerobic state, which promotes beneficial organisms over the harmful anaerobic ones. Our system should boost water conservation by over 50% in the coming years.
We are using well water from our farm to provide irrigation to the plants and trees. The well water is from a well drilled approximately 150 feet down to ensure best water quality. It is being filtered by a disc filter system to remove any debris to prevent drip irrigation malfunction. Our water test results will be posted when they are complete and will be updated regularly to ensure its within appropriate ranges for our soil biology and the health of the plants. Our drip irrigation system is open source and controlled by a custom built micro computer. We will provide instructions and step by step setup for those interested in building their own system. This, combined with real time weather data provided by the micro computer and our on site weather station, will ensure we are saving water whenever possible. All of this will be available through a web page designed to control the irrigation system from anywhere in the world. Our drip irrigation system is also specifically designed to help alleviate leaf fungus since we are not spraying the plants overhead with water. High amounts of moisture on leaves will lead to foliar nematodes and other fungal issues.
A trip to a local U-pick farm makes a fun family outing. You can enjoy fresh air and sunshine while choosing the best quality fruits and vegetables at the peak of ripeness. There are lots of benefits to picking your own. You’re reconnecting with nature, supporting your local economy, and getting to know your local farmers. A visit to a U-pick farm is a great learning opportunity for kids. They experience firsthand where their food comes from and how it grows; and studies show they’ll be more likely to eat their fruits and vegetables if they have a hand in the harvest.
Dress comfortably for your trip to the farm. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent, and wear sturdy shoes to protect your feet.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services maintains a list of U-pick farms throughout Florida, but, because such farms are not required to register with the Department, the list is not a complete one. Being listed does not imply that a U-pick farm is endorsed, approved, or otherwise sanctioned by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Agritourism marries Florida’s two largest industries, tourism and agriculture, to provide an on farm recreational experience for consumers. Florida experienced record tourism in 2015, with 105 million visitors spending more than $85 billion, according to VISIT Florida. The number of Florida farms offering recreational experiences more than doubled from 281 in 2007 to 724 in 2012, according to USDA Census of Agriculture data.
Florida has recently passed new laws, key to developing agritourism. A 2013 change in the Florida Statutes reduced the liability for agritourism farms so long as a warning sign is posted indicating participation in agritourism activities involves inherent risks and notifying participants that by choosing to participate they are accepting these risks. The change does not protect gross negligence, but provides some assurance for farms on the fence about opening their farm to the public.
Included in those changes was language to prevent local authorities from imposing regulations to prevent agricultural operations from engaging in agritourism, however, many questions arose after the ink dried. Several operations found themselves in difficult circumstances, as local authorities grappled with the new law, which lacked a reference to enforcement of existing local regulations. The definition of agritourism itself was a point of confusion, especially where the on-farm activities were not clearly related to agriculture. Rustic on-farm weddings have become a hot trend but were not specifically cited as an agritourism activity.