At Field Stone Farm we employ growing practices that do their best to benefit the health and microbial communities of the soil. As a classic Vermont hill farm, our 42 acres are heavily wooded and sloped: perfect for maple syrup production but not as friendly to annual agriculture. Therefore, we are naturally inclined to employ minimal mechanization and tillage in our system. Classic tillage systems disrupt the soil’s microbial balance and release previously stored carbon back into the atmosphere by churning and opening the soil. After enduring years of these types of practices, such as rototilling, the soil become less and less alive: the microbial communities that were making minerals and nutrients available to plants cannot survive in a system which continually displaces them.
While we are not yet completely no-till we strive to utilize no-till practices where possible to increase soil health and microbial activity, in turn increasing the vigor, vitality, nutrient density, and pest and disease resistance in our crops. These practices include:
- The use of solarization and other mulches to prep our beds and reduce weed pressure
- The use of compost, naturally-derived fertilizers and mineral soil amendments, and cover crops to improve fertility and soil condition
- The use of naturally derived foliar feeding and soil drenching for improved strength and immunity at important growth stages (primarily seaweed and fish-based fertilizers, which are high in micro-nutrients)
- The use of passive pest control such as floating row covers and beneficial insects
As a consumer of Field Stone Farm produce, we know that the benefits of these practices are passed on to you. You can chop, saute, roast, and raw-crunch to the ultimate satisfaction knowing that your farmers have provided you with nutrient rich, chemical free fruits and veggies!