Produce Application

Blue Stone Farm

Owner: Mark Cowell

Address:
2051 Jefferson Rd
Otsego, MI 49078-9606
Allegan County

daytime phone: (269) 251-1418
evening phone: (269) 251-1418
Web site: http://www.bluestone.farm

Application Date: 2019-02-14

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
To provide a verifiable and transparent method for our customers to recognize that we use environmentally conscious, sustainable methods that are geared toward producing crops without the use of pesticides or herbicides. We also appreciate the opportunity to participate with and learn from the local community of like-minded farmers.
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
no
Have you ever been certified in the past? *
no
Have you ever been denied certification? *
no
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
from other farmers

General Farm Information

Farm Acreage you want listed as Certified Naturally GrownTM:
Total Farm Acreage you actually GROW on: *
5
Number of above acreage that you own: *
5
Number of above acreage that you lease: *
0
Do you have other acreage in "Conventional" Agricultural Systems? *
no
General Listed Acreage Breakdown
Veg Crops:
3
Fruit Crops:
1
Hay:
0
Grains/Beans:
0
Sugarbush:
0
Other Acreage:
pasture 1
Please check all items you grow and will market as Certified Naturally GrownTM *











Please Specify Any Other Items:
Please check all markets you grow for (this will be displayed on your farm profile to help potential buyers find you). *











Please Specify Other Markets:

Farmland Management and Practices

Primary Tillage System: *
We have permanent raised beds that were created using a BCS tractor with plow; deep tillage is done with a broadfork, shallow tilling for seed bed preparation is done using our BCS tiller and hand tools
Do you use Cover Crops? *
yes
If yes, please list: *
Primarily red clover, white clover, oats, buckwheat
Do you use Compost? *
yes
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
Produced on farm
Please list application rates. Give a specific amount or range (for example: one to two tons per acre, ten wheelbarrow loads per 1,000 square feet, or 1-2 inches deep). Do not answer "varies". *
• Applied to specific beds based on rotation, about one wheelbarrow per 100’ bed
Do you use Manure? *
yes
If yes, please note general sources (local dairy, horse farm, etc.): *
We incorporate manure from our own chickens into our compost. It is not applied directly to our beds
Please list application rates. Give a specific amount or range (for example: one to two tons per acre, ten wheelbarrow loads per 1,000 square feet, or 1-2 inches deep). Do not answer "varies". *
as part of compost
What time of year do you apply the manure? *
as part of compost
Do you apply any non-composted Manure within 120 days of veg-crop harvesting? *
no
Please list any other brought in fertility sources that you use (specific rock powders, lime, soybean / alfalfa meal, specific purchased pre-mixes, etc)and how often it's used. If you indicate a name brand product, please also specify the ingredient/s. *
We use rock minerals to restore the soil nutrient bank (remineralization) from decades of depletion by agriculture, and to replace nutrients that are lost annually to harvest. Exact quantities are determined each year in relation to soil test results. The principal materials are: Potassium sulfate (used at fairly low levels -below replacement- because of the excess levels of K already in the soil bank; this mineral is also beneficial in increasing S, which aids in the leaching of our excess Mg); Tennessee brown rock phosphate as a means to increase P, which is critical in healthy plant growth rates; Gypsum as a source of calcium to increase the Ca/Mg ratio while the sulfate helps leach excess Mg; Borax to increase the critical micronutrient B, and Azomite, a volcanic material from Utah as a source of micronutrients. We add biological materials to add nitrogen and some minerals, as well as to stimulate the microbiology of the soil. The primary materials are: Chicken manure pellets as a source of nitrogen, sometimes also using feather meal; Compost that we produce from chicken bedding, leaves, grass clippings and waste vegetables; Wood ash from our wood stove, primarily to beds of root crops or alliums for a potassium source.
Have any chemical fertilizers been applied to the fields you are seeking Certification for in the last three years (36 months)? *
no
Have any non-acceptable pesticides and/or herbicides been applied to these fields in the last 3 years? *
no
Do you use Professional Soil Testing services? *
yes
Describe your primary weed problems AND methods of control. Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate either actual weed challenges and/or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage (or would manage) them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
Our most difficult weed is quack grass. It is a cool season perennial that spreads particularly maliciously by its rhizomes to form thick clumps that are very difficult to eradicate. The main strategy to remove it is to allow it to sprout, but then cut back the plant after it has 3 leaves, thereby starving the roots – especially if conditions are dry. This is done primarily by hand tools and by hand. Annual weeds that are most problematic are lambs quarters, pigweed, velvetleaf. We use hand tools, flame weeding and tarps as the primary means of controlling annual weeds.
Describe your primary insect challenges AND methods of control. Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate either actual pest challenges and/or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage (or would manage) them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
Our main insect problems are flea beetles, Colorado potato beetles, cabbage loopers, squash bugs, cucumber beetles and tomato hornworms. We do not use pesticides to control insects, instead relying on timing of crops in relation to pests’ life cycles, and physical barriers like row cover. We set row covers immediately after planting for almost all brassicas and some cucurbits to limit flea beetles, cabbage loopers and squash bugs. For flea beetle damage on eggplants we use diatomaceous earth. Colorado potato beetles are controlled by hand squashing the larvae. Tomato hornworms are similarly controlled, and are excluded from the hoop house by closing it at night.
Describe your primary disease challenges AND methods of control. Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate either actual disease challenges and/or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage (or would manage) them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
Our primary disease challenges are powdery mildew (especially on winter squash), bacterial wilt (squash and other cucurbits), and early and late blight (tomatoes). We use a milk spray on plants with powdery mildew. We attempt to limit bacterial wilt by controlling the vectors (squash bugs, cucumber beetles) with row cover; for summer squash we plant multiple successions throughout the season with the expectation that we will lose many plants to wilt.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
On-farm well
Are there any known contaminants in the irrigation water? *
no
Are you a maple producer who seeks to certify your sugarbush? *
no

Seeds, Transplants and Buffers

Do you purchase or grow using any Genetically Modified seeds? *
no
Do you use any chemically treated seeds in your operation? *
no
Do you grow your own transplants? *
yes
Are they grown using Naturally Grown/Organic methods? *
yes
If they're not grown according to CNG methods, please list them here. This produce may not be sold as Certified Naturally Grown. (If they are, put "N/A") *
N/A
Do you purchase any transplants from outside sources? *
no
Chemical/Spray Drift and Buffers:
Is there any likelihood of Chemical/Spray drift contamination of your fields? *
no
Do you have an adequate buffer to protect yourself from potential contamination? *
yes
Please describe your buffer. Be as specific as possible. On all sides, how far is it from your crops to the next closest use (road, conventional crop, residential yard)? Be sure to specify what is grown on neighboring land that is in agricultural use. For example: To the north and east, a wooded area of at least 100 yards separates us from the neighbor's corn fields, to the south is a fallow field at least 100 yards deep separating us from the road, and to the west about 60 feet separates our crops from a field where conventional corn and soybeans are grown. *
The north side of our farm is forest, and adjoins more forest land. The south side abuts Jefferson Road; there is a berm and a tree row of 100’ separating the road from our beds. The west side of the property has a buffer of 120’ composed of tree row and pollinator habitat separating the neighboring field from our beds. The east side of the property has a tree row, with 75’ separating the neighboring field from our beds.

Agreements

Please indicate your agreement with the following statements by checking the boxes.
I will not label, or in any way lead consumers to believe that produce not raised in accord with CNG standards is Certified Naturally GrownTM. *
I understand that I have to complete at least one (and hopefully more) Certification Inspection(s) of another farm in my area each year, and that the inspection will NOT be of the same farmer that inspected me. *
I have reviewed the Certified Naturally Grown certification standards, I understand them, and I will abide by them. I understand that if I have any questions I may contact CNG for clarification. *
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your farm: