Produce & Flowers

Sweet Seasons Farm

Owner: Sue Haynie

2557 Spaulding Road
Saint Johnsbury, VT 05819
Caledonia County

daytime phone: (802) 751-7005
evening phone: same

Application Date: 2014-05-22

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
Even though our farm follows NOP practices, We are concerned about using the term 'Organic' without being Certified Organic. We cannot afford to be 'Certified Organic' and are hoping "Certified Naturally Grown" is more reasonably priced. Also, I'm not happy with some of the NOP standards. For example, Nicotine Tea, is a Certified Organic pest control for cabbage loop. I have purchased cabbages that were sprayed with Nicotine Tea and I could taste actual Nicotine residue in the cabbage leaves.
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
Have you ever been certified in the past? *
Have you ever been denied certification? *
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
Our customers know that our produce is "Naturally Grown" already. I found out about this 'Certification' process advertised in a Farmer's y Market Newsletter.
How did you learn to farm, and for how long have you been farming for market? What has prepared you to farm successfully according to CNG standards? *
Attended many New England fruit & berry grower workshops and started practicing in 2006 with test parcels of Apples / Blueberries/ Raspberries and Strawberries. Began farming for market in 2014. Studying materials from various university extensions, reading books on holistic growing, attending workshops and getting my hands dirty is what prepared me to farm according to CNG standards.

General Farm Information

Farm Acreage you want listed as Certified Naturally GrownTM:
Total Farm Acreage you actually GROW on: *
Number of above acreage that you own: *
Number of above acreage that you lease: *
Do you have other acreage in "Conventional" Agricultural Systems? *
General Listed Acreage Breakdown
Veg Crops:
Fruit Crops:
Other Acreage:
Please check all items you grow and will market as Certified Naturally GrownTM *

Please Specify Any Other Items:
Hazelnuts, Currents, Bush Cherries.
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:
Pick-Your-Own commercial operation on our farm as well as local Festivals.

Farmland Management and Practices

Primary Tillage System: *
The 2 acre parcel was recently plowed and disc harrowed by a neighboring farmer. The Apple/Pear Orchard sits in an existing hayfield and is mowed weekly during the growing season. The existing parcel of soil where Blueberries/Raspberries and Strawberries reside was hand tilled.
Do you use Cover Crops? *
If yes, please list: *
Buckwheat and Oats are being used for weed suppression and adding organic matter back into newly plowed 2 acre hayfield which hasn't been plowed in over 50 years. These cover crops are being used in our new PYO 'Naturally Grown' Blueberry Orchard.
Do you use Compost? *
Do you use Manure? *
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. *
Elemental Sulfur to be used for reducing PH, Sol-Po-Mag to increase Potassium/Magnesium , Dr. Earth (For Apple & Pear Fruit Trees) We also use Espoma, "Blood Meal" to add Nitrogen to our existing Blueberry parcel.
Have any chemical fertilizers been applied to the fields you are seeking Certification for in the last three years (36 months)? *
Have any non-acceptable pesticides and/or herbicides been applied to these fields in the last 3 years? *
Do you use Professional Soil Testing services? *
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. *
We use soft wood chip mulch for weed control around existing blueberry planting and landscape fabrics around fruit trees. We hand pull weed around tree trunks and berry bushes. Cover Crops of Buckwheat and Oats are being used to prep the 2 acre parcel for weed suppression. Wood chips and strip crop of Hard/Red Fescues and Perennial Rye will be used to manage "Row Middles" of the PYO Blueberry Farm.
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. *
Japanese Beetles on apple trees: We use Omni approved "Fruit Tree Spray made by Bonide" twice per month to kill beetles on a rotation with a blend of Organic Neem Oil, water and cayenne pepper twice per month which is used to repel beetles. Our spray cycle is 6-8 times per growing season. Our Blueberries are not affected by Japanese Beetles. We spray Blueberries with Bonide's BT one per week for a few weeks if we notice an excessive amount of catapillars/worms. Most of the time we can hand pick the insects off the bushes. Our Raspberries are affected by Japanese Beetles but we choose to "hand gather" into containers with soapy water four (4) times per day during both fruiting and post harvest periods as we don't want the peanut/garlic flavor Neem Oil gives to penetrate the fruit cells. Raspberry Cane Borer is managed through cutting 2 inches below the portion of the cane where the insect 'girdles' it. On occasion, if we are quick, we can "clap" the RCB with our hands to kill it. This insect flies fast, so it is easier to trim off the cane where the eggs are laid. We see signs of Spittle Bug on our strawberry leaves but no harm is done to the actual fruit so we do not treat spittle bug.
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. *
We have experienced Spur Blight on some of the Raspberry canes and have managed it through thinning out the beds and using Omri approved Oxidate Lime/Sulfur Spray which was sprayed weekly last year (post harvest) when weather was cooler.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
Currently, we rely on rainfall as our primary water source as there is an abundance in Vermont. That was back in 2014. It is now 2020 and we installed a drip system which replaces a 900' water hose for the blueberry orchard.
Are there any known contaminants in the irrigation water? *
Are you a maple producer who seeks to certify your sugarbush? *

Seeds, Transplants and Buffers

How do you select your seeds? CNG standards call for growers to make a good faith effort to locate organically grown seeds by contacting at least 3 major suppliers. *
High Mowing Seeds USDA Certfied Organic / Johnny's Seeds USDA Certified Organic /
Do you purchase or grow using any Genetically Modified seeds? *
Do you use any chemically treated seeds in your operation? *
Do you grow your own transplants? *
Do you purchase any transplants from outside sources? *
Chemical/Spray Drift and Buffers:
Is there any likelihood of Chemical/Spray drift contamination of your fields? *
Do you have an adequate buffer to protect yourself from potential contamination? *
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 two (2.5) acre PYO Blueberry parcel is surrounded by wood lands on the North, West and South faces. Our home and the other 1/2 acre Raspberry, Strawberry and Blueberry orchard is on the East face. The Apple/Pear Orchard runs parallel to our driveway as trees are lined on both the North and South sides. A wooded area runs parallel to the South side of the orchard, A small 1/2 acre neighboring hayfield runs parallel to the North side of the orchard. The farmer who hays this field neither sprays nor fertilizes this field. The West side has a small area of road frontage and the East side has some wooded area the driveway then more wooded area.


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:
The Apple and Pear trees purchased are standard varietals, Heirloom / Hybrids and were grown "Certified Organic". The hayfield in which these trees are planted has never been treated with chemical synthetic sprays/fertilizers. The 2 acre parcel in which the PYO Blueberry Orchard is to be planted has not been plowed in over 50 years we are told by neighbors familiar with the old 'Bean' farm on which our property resides. We have lived at this residence since 2005 and have never treated the hayfield with any sprays or fertilizers. The cover crops (Buckwheat/Oats) used to suppress weed (hay regrowth) in the 2 acre parcel have been purchased from Buchard Family farms in Kent, Maine. They use no pesticides or herbicides on their seed which are also NON-GMO seeds. The Strawberry, Raspberry and Blueberry plants in the existing 1/2 acre parcel are a combination of certified organic and synthetically propagated Wood Cutting and Tissue Culture plantings.