Zenger Farm includes four acres of vegetable crops and fruit orchards as well as livestock: a flock of laying chickens, honey bees and composting red wiggler worms.
We believe in using sustainable farming practices to grow safe and healthy food today while protecting this farm and wetland for generations to come. We start by following organic practices (farming without the use of synthetic products – we expect to be certified organic in 2017). Organic certification is important because a third party verifies that you are following organic practices. But we strive to go beyond organic to respect the environment, our neighbors and everyone who eats our food or visits Zenger Farm.
Sustainable Farming Practices
Sustainable farming is more than not using synthetic products. At Zenger Farm, we use farming practices that protect the environment, public health, our community and provide for the welfare of the animals on the farm.
- Crop Rotation: We rotate our vegetable crops to break pest insect life cycles and to prevent plants from depleting our soil nutrients.
- Cover Cropping: While our fields are not growing vegetables, we plant other crops to prevent soil erosion, increase soil organic matter, to retain and add nitrogen for soil fertility, and to feed our poultry.
- Native Hedgerow: Near the edges of our fields and property, we grow native plants and plants that provide food and habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects.
- Pest Management
- Floating Row Cover: We cover vulnerable crops with a thin fabric that keeps out insects but lets in sun and water.
- Fencing: We use mobile fencing to protect our crops from geese who live or visit our wetland.
- Beneficial Insect Plantings: We grow small patches of plants scattered throughout our farm fields to provide food and habitat for a strong population of beneficial insects.
- Water Conservation: We use drip irrigation and timers to minimize evaporation and apply only the water that our plants need.
- Low Carbon Footprint: We strive to minimize the use of petroleum products. Our tractor runs off biodiesel sourced from used cooking oil, we never deliver produce beyond ten miles from the farm, and we use as little plastic as possible.
- Rotating Livestock: Our flock of laying hens live in a mobile coop with mobile fencing that gives them plenty of room to roam. We move them around our farm so that they can have eat insects, eat our leftover crops and fertilize our soil.
Products used on the farm
We strive to be transparent about our farming practices. Here is a complete list of every product we have applied to our fields, crops, produce and livestock since 2010 and why we use it:
- Feather Meal: A soil amendment made from ground-up poultry feathers that provides nitrogen for soil fertility.
- Lime: A soil amendment mined from the Earth and raises our low soil pH.
- Poultry Feed: Our poultry feed is made from locally sourced grains.
- Potting Soil: Our potting soil is used to raise our plants in the greenhouse before transplant.
- Fish Emulsion: An amendment made from fish and applied to plant starts for fertility.
- Crushed Oyster Shells: These provide calcium to our chickens and plants.
- Boron: A soil amendment mined from the Earth that treats a boron deficiency.
- Dormant Oil: A pesticide made from canola oil applied in the winter in our orchards which suffocates hibernating insects.