Produce Application

Cook's Lake Farm

Owner: Christina Buesching

2941 RR1
PO Box 113
Upper Branch, Ns, NS B0J 2H0
Lunenburg County

Mailing Address:
PO Box 113
Mill Village, NS B0J 2H0

daytime phone: 1-902-677 2168
evening phone: 1-902-677 2168
Web site:

Application Date: 2016-06-16

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
We are growing haskap berries (16 acres). We do not use any artificial fertilisers (only composted horse manure from own horses) or pesticides, and our approach to farming tallies with the philosophy of your certification agency. (our 300 acre woodland surrounding the haskap orchard is FSC-certified)
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? *
Through a local vineyard owner, Dr. Bruce Wright

General Farm Information

Farm Acreage you want listed as Certified Naturally GrownTM:
Total Farm Acreage you actually GROW on: *
16 acres
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:
300 woodland
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:
regional manufacturers of fruit products

Farmland Management and Practices

Primary Tillage System: *
Beds were tilled before planting, but since then (spring 2012), beds were not tilled again (and won't be either) to allow natural grassland community to reestablish, avoiding erosion through wind and meltwater, as well as drying out of the soil.
Do you use Cover Crops? *
If yes, please list: *
natural grass and "weeds"/ wildflowers. We do not seed these, but let the original hay meadow ecosystem take over the haskap berry beds, which had been tilled over before planting 4 years ago.
Do you use Compost? *
Do you use Manure? *
If yes, please note general sources (local dairy, horse farm, etc.): *
own horses, manure is left to compost for 1-2 years. Manure produced in the week after worming/ medication is kept separately and NOT used on the fields
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". *
one handful (ca 10cm3) per plant once per year
What time of year do you apply the manure? *
due to scale, half in spring after snow melt, and half in autumn before first frost
Do you apply any non-composted Manure within 120 days of veg-crop harvesting? *
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. *
occasional ash from wood fire
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 let all weeds and grass grow up around the berry bushes, but hand weed very occasionally in small areas, to decrease particularly vigorous weeds. This has the advantage that small bushes are protected from too much sun and strong rain/ winds (saplings were ca 10cm at time of planting), and had time to get established in a 'protective micro-climate'. Now that the bushes are bigger, they are starting to out-compete the other vegetation, and grass/ weeds do not grow directly under the haskap canopy. Nevertheless, we free the bushes of weeds once per year (due to time constraints, half in spring and half in autumn) by simply disentangling the haskaps and bending the weeds down to the ground (not uprooting them). Because we do not cut the grass, it grows far less vigorously then cut/ grazed pasture. In addition, it forms a natural thick sward, acting as natural mulch. We do, however, prevent forest/ shrub encroachment by cutting/ pulling out sapplings
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. *
The orchard is surrounded by a 2m high deer fence with chicken wire on the lower half. This excludes deer, bear and coyotes from the berries and bushes. However, porcupines can get under the fence (but cause - so far - no problem), while raccoons can get over. Thus far, berry loss to raccoons has been negligible, but if they should become a 'pest' like in many commercial berry operations, we plan to install electric fencing. So far, birds have not been a problem, possibly due to our "no weeding/ cutting approach". This resulted in the berry bushes being surrounded by almost equally high wild flowers, and thus a) the conventional 'search image' birds might have re fruit orchards does not apply, and b) ripe berries are considerably less visible, while c) birds might feel more vulnerable feeding in denser vegetation instead of being perched on top of proud-standing fruiot crops, which provide a good vantage point from where to spot predators.
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 biggest problem currently are slugs and snails, which eat berries. Unfortunately, they never eat the whole fruit, but rather grind through the skin of many berries on the same bush. This leads to bleeding, making the berries unsuitable for sale as fresh produce (attracting fruit flies). As yet, we have not come up with a solution per se, as slug pellets are not an option for us. Evidence however suggests that bigger bushes that have broken free of the surrounding weeds are not at risk anymore - the next 2 years will tell. Although there is spotted wing drosophila in the province, we have had no indication that it will become a problem (haskaps ripen much earlier than most other berries)
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
We do not use irrigation; Nova Scotia has sufficient rain
Are there any known contaminants in the irrigation water? *
Are you a maple producer who seeks to certify your sugarbush? *

Seeds, Transplants and Buffers

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? *
Please describe the sources of your transplants. *
LaHave Natural Farms provided the original bushes for our orchard (haskaps can become ca 30 years old)
How have you confirmed with your supplier that the transplants are grown without synthetic fertilizers or wetting agents? *
Please list any bought-in transplants not grown according to CNG standards. This produce may not be sold as Certified Naturally Grown (except, in the case of perennials, after twelve months of CNG cultivation). *
bushes are now 4 years old, and we do not intend to buy additional ones
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 orchard is surrounded by our forest (nearest field ca 1km as the crow flies)


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: