Produce & Flowers

Early Bird Farm

Owner: Rawley Johnson

4220 Gay Rd E
Tacoma, WA 98443
Pierce County

Web site:

Application Date: 2020-02-04

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
I have been farming using beyond organic practices for more than 6 years but I do not hold any certifications to show for it. As a small scale producer who runs my business by myself, the cost and paperwork of an organic certification are prohibitive to me. Certified Naturally Grown will help me better communicate to my customers about my growing practices. Also, I look forward to supporting and connecting with other CNG farmers through the peer review process.
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? *
I know other local farmers who use the CNG label.
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 have recently replaced our rototiller with a power harrow which greatly reduces soil disturbance for bed preparation. Before using the power harrow, cover crops are incorporated using a disk harrow. In rare instances when the disc fails to kill the cover crop, we use a plow to incorporate residue.
Do you use Cover Crops? *
If yes, please list: *
Summer: buckwheat, oats, lacy phacelia, clovers Winter: fava beans, barley, winter wheat, vetch, clovers
Do you use Compost? *
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
We produce a small quantity of our own compost from farm-produced chicken manure mixed with straw. We are considering buying in larger quantities of WSDA Organic Program compliant compost from the Pierce County composting facility with the goal being to suppress weeds and increase soil organic matter percentage.
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". *
1-2 inches deep
Do you use Manure? *
If yes, please note general sources (local dairy, horse farm, etc.): *
Each year we rest vegetable production fields and allow our flock of 500 laying hens to forage on residues and cover crops in these fields. Their fresh manure fertilizes the fields for crops in subsequent seasons.
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". *
Chickens poop directly on the fallowed fields
What time of year do you apply the manure? *
April - May on fields fallowed until following year or cropped in the late Fall.
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. *
We apply OMRI listed fertilizers based on soil test results as needed. We are following a USDA NRCS nutrient management plan to ensure that the fields are getting proper fertility. Last year, based on soil test results, we applied approximately 80 pounds per acre of nitrogen and phosphorus to most of our vegetable production fields. The product used was Concentrates, Inc All Purpose Fertilizer 5-5-3. In the future, because we are monitoring soil phosphorus levels because of the chicken manure from our flock, we may apply organic fertilizers that provide nitrogen only. We also apply lime when needed based on soil test results. Last season we applied 1000 lbs per acre of lime in the spring before planting.
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 most common annual weeds are lady's thumb (polyganum) and pigweed. Some field areas have perennial weeds to contend with including horsetail, buttercup, dandelion, and bindweed. Mostly, we deal with weeds through hoeing and hand cultivation. Before planting we try to limit weed seed germination by stale bedding, silage tarping, and/or flame weeding. The power harrow reduces the weed seed bank compared to a conventional rototiller because it does not stir up weed seeds from the subsurface. This year we plan on experimenting with a deep mulch/compost to suppress weed seed germination, which may lead to an experiment with no till growing.
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. *
We manage flea beetles in brassica crops by using floating row covers. Aphids can also be a problem especially in kale and brussel sprouts. We interplant flowers to try and encourage beneficial insects near our aphid susceptible crops. In order to disrupt aphid life cycles, we do not grow any broccoli or kale in July/August. If aphids become a problem, we will spray organically approved Safer soap. Wireworm has become a problem for lettuce and some brassicas. When an infestation is killing young seedlings, we have sprayed a beneficial nematode from Arbico organics. Wireworms are a new and growing problem for leafy greens like lettuce and escarole on our farm. The wireworms live in the soil and eat through the stems of young transplants. We have not found a solution to this pest and currently try to avoid growing lettuce in areas where we know to have wireworms present. We also will avoid growing a grass like annual ryegrass as a winter cover crop because that is known to be good habitat for wireworms. We may experiment with mustard seed meal as an organic fertilizer/biofumigant in advance of lettuce plantings to deter wireworms from that area. It is my suspicion that rotating our 500 laying hens through fallowed vegetable fields helps disrupt pest cycles (since chickens eat lots of bugs and grubs), but it's impossible to know.
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 seen a little bit of powdery mildew on cucumbers and eggplant in our high tunnels, but that issue has been solved by opening the sidewalls to improve air circulation. By growing basil in the dry high tunnels instead of in wet fields, we have dramatically reduced downy mildew. Clubroot became a problem in our brassicas for the first time in 2020. This soil born pathogen is almost impossible to remove. We plan on trying to contain the clubroot to the area it was found and practicing a longer crop rotation for brassicas. We may try to raise the pH of the soil with lime to neutral to stifle the clubroot. In general, by practicing very long term crop rotations in brassicas (4 years or more) we have not seen any soil borne diseases and we hope to keep club root off of our farm (which has been a problem for many of our neighbors). We rest/cover crop all of our fields at least once every 3 years and allow the flock of 500 chickens to run through them, which in all likelihood helps to reduce soil borne disease pressure as well.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
We use a private well that is also the well for our house drinking water.
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. *
We seek out certified organic varieties first and prefer seed suppliers who only stock certified organic seed: High Mowing, Uprising Seeds, and Adaptive Seeds. We do purchase some non-organic varieties when no other option is available.
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. *
We purchase an organic soil blocking mix from Specialty Soils. In 2021, we purchased an organic soil blocking mix from Tilth Soils in Cleveland, OH that features food scrap based compost in the mix.
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 fortunate that our farm is isolated from all non-organic production. In all directions we are bordered by either forest, pasture, or wetland habitat. Across the road and beyond a 3 acre pasture to the north, our neighbor runs a certified organic vegetable farm. The nearest non-organic vegetable farm is approximately 2 miles to the east.


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: