Produce & Flowers

Rattlebox Farm

Owner: Paul Buseck and Dana Helfer

4300 S Audrey Road
Tucson, AZ 85730
Pima County

daytime phone: (520) 240-6230
Web site:

Application Date: 2015-07-24

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
We are applying because we would like a certification primarily for selling to restaurants and wholesale markets. We value and believe in CNG and feel that the organic standards aren't strict enough. CNG seems to be a good alternative.
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? *
other local farmers
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? *

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:
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 operate using a low till system largely using a walking tractor (mower & tiller) and a broadfork. We grow a cover crop, mow it, shallowly till it in (2-3 inches) with a walking tractor, plant crops. If beds seem compacted we rip with a 2-3 shank ripper once a year.
Do you use Cover Crops? *
If yes, please list: *
Summer: cow peas and millet. Winter: biomaster peas, wolly pod vetch and wheat
Do you use Compost? *
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
purchased complete
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". *
8 wheel barrow for a 130'x3.5' bed
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. *
alfalfa meal - we are trying to find a local source for this. worm castings,blood meal and fish emulsion
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. *
Our primary weed is Mediterranean grass. We control it with a wheel hoe. We do have a small amount of wild mustard which we also control with a hoe. Thankfully that is it!
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 primary insect problems are bagrada hillarius, aphids, caterpillars and cucumber beetles. We control all of these insects primarily by exclusion and prevention. We cover almost everything with floating row cover during the winter and until flowering in summer. We hand control by pruning prior to transplanting and in the field and remove plants if their are small infestations. We try to keep up with the weeds to limit habitat and plant flowers to attract beneficial insects. We sometimes use a spray of diluted molasses to control aphids. We also use some non chemical colored sticky traps for aphids and cucumber beetles. This past year we did use a OMRI listed BT spray twice during the season for caterpillar infestation but we really prefer not to use any sprays. We are looking into beneficial nematodes for the caterpillars and cucumber beetles but we have not implemented this yet.
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 really don't have too many problems with diseases thank goodness! We get a small amount of downy mildew towards the end of the summer season if it has been a wet year. We address this with plant removal.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
Private well
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. *
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 potting soil, or do you mix your own on the farm? *
What ingredients does your potting mix contain? If you purchase a mix, please also indicate which product. *
Are all of your transplants grown according to CNG standards, without synthetic fertilizers or wetting agents? *
If any transplants are not grown according to CNG standards, please list them here. (If they all are, put "N/A".) This produce may not be marketed as Certified Naturally Grown. *
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. *
We are in a peri-urban area and there are no other farms near by except for small home gardens (for 20+ miles). We are a 1/2 mile from the closest major road. Our property is 4.5 acres. Our neighbor to the west is a residential home on a 8 acre lot with a few horses and no crops. On the east 60 feet from the farm there is a small dead end dirt road, and the neighbor on the other side of the road also is a residential home with a few horses and no crops. To the south is an open field and dry river bed (wash) and to the north there is a vacant 2 acres that is just desert plants.


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: