Produce & Flowers
Eldur Heron FarmOwner: Nathan Minor
15366 Ovenell Rd
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
1207 Clevland Ave
PO Box # 162
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
daytime phone: (360) 202-9484
Web site: http://www.eldurheron.farm
Application Date: 2022-01-12
- Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
- After struggling to financially justify an NOP organic certifation for a farm of my scale, I'm stoked to have found this similar, yet more rigorous, transparent, bureaucratically efficient, and financially feasible certification process for farmers.
- 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? *
- Another local farmer near me that I follow on IG recently posted about getting certified. After looking into this certification process further, I decidied to pursue it for my farm, too.
- 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? *
- I grew up in a home garden that inherently practiced organic farming, without ever actually calling it that. As I grew up I tried various passions of mine (computer programming, math/physics, ski instruction, calibration lab engineer), trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Eventually, I ended up helping teach gardening classes with Heather Tiszai at Whatcom Hills Waldorf School in 2015. Soon after I found out about Viva Farms through a friend, and reached out to Rob Smith through email about enrolling somewhat last minute in their first FIELD Practicum program in 2016. After completing Viva's Practicum, I began leasing land from them in 2017 and have been farming in their incubator program ever since. I started out on about 0.5 acres, and have slowly added more land over the past 5 seasons. This year I will be managing about 1.20 acres of annual/biennal vegetable crops. As part of being an incubator farmer with Viva, not only have I had hands-on training and experience in the art and science of organic farming practices through their initial practicum program, but I have also been steeped in a culture of constant learning and engagement with my fellow farmers. Each year, as part of our lease agreement, we are required to participate in at least 6 workshops that help broaden and/or deepen our understanding of best farming practices. This continued education built on a solid foundation of best practices is what has prepared, and continues to prepare me, for success as a farmer adhering 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:
- inlcuded in veg
- 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: *
- Spring/Fall: 85hp Kubota tractor (flail mower, disc, chisel plow, perfecta cultivator, rototiller, bed shaper/mulch layer) for flipping ground from fall/winter cover crop to production space. Summer: Wheelhoe, diamond hoe, stirrup hoe, finger cultivators (Tilmor walk-behind) Winter: none, minimize foot traffic
- Do you use Cover Crops? *
- If yes, please list: *
- Fall/Winter: Rye/vetch mix (~60/40), fava beans, hard red wheat Spring/Summer: Buckwheat (weed suppression), oats/peas mix (~60/40) & rye/vetch mix (~60/40) for walkways and any other unused production space
- Do you use Compost? *
- If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
- On farm compost managaed by Viva Farms. Industrial scale, produce waste and other crop residue from Viva farmers mixed with wood chips and spent grains from local organic sources that donate surplus materials. Temperature monitored and flipped according to CNG standards.
- 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". *
- 2-3 tons per acre in spring and fall
- 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. *
- Alaskan Fish Fertilizer (5-1-1) OMRI listed. Foliar spray bi-weekly to weekly for young seedlings & early transplants, and as a supplement for heavy feeders during peak growing season (Jul-Sep). total: 2-3 gallons per season Down to Earth Fish Bone Meal (3-16-0) or (4-12-0) OMRI listed. For onion seed bulbs, and onions right berfore transplant in May. Also used to prep garlic beds in Oct. total: ~75lbs per season Down to Earth BioFish (7-7-2) OMRI listed. Ingredients: Fish Bone Meal, Fish Meal, Feather Meal, Sulfate of Potash, Alfalfa Meal, and Kelp Meal. For kale, chard, cabbage, tomato, tomatillo, and other heavy feeding transplants right before transplant. total: ~100lbs per season. Maxicrop Soluable Seaweed Powder (0-0-17) OMRI listed. Ingredients: Derived from: Seaweed extract (Ascophyllum nodosum) and Potassium Hydroxide. Foliar spray & fertigate bi-weekly to weekly for heavy feeders such as tomatoes, tomatillos squash, onions, garlic during peak season (Jul-Sep). total: ~6-8 oz. dry weight per season.
- 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. *
- Major annuals: Lambs quarter, wild amaranth, dandelion, sheppard's purse, fireweed. controlled through mechanical and hand cultivation methods (wheelhoe, diamond hoe, stirrup hoe, hands, finger weeders on Tilmor), and through cover cropping with buckwheat, oats & peas, and rye & vetch. Major perennials: thistle, perennial rye, crabgrass. controlled through mechanical and hand cultivation methods (wheelhoe, diamond hoe, stirrup hoe, hands, finger weeders on Tilmor), and through cover cropping with buckwheat, oats & peas, and rye & vetch. Specifically target these three and prevent them from going to seed during spring, summer, and fall. Primarily use mowing to control these perennials, but hands and hoes are also used to cull young plants. Additional Measures: re-usable woven plastic mulch fabric is used on cucurbits and solanaceae rotation groups (four 300' beds per group, ~2400 bed feet of mulch fabric total).
- 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. *
- Aphids and slugs are two of the most consistent and largest pest problems. Aphids are controlled by promoting habitat for ladybgs and other predatory insects in cover crops, as well as weekly spraying of neem oil on infested plants or crops. Slugs are kept at bay using Sluggo and mowing nearby cover crops or fallow ground that could harbor slugs.
- 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. *
- Early blight in tomatoes, powdery mildew on squashes and chard, downey mildew and rust on alliums and other monocots. Bi-weekly to weekly spraying of neem oil on suceptible crops as a preventative measure during peak growing season (Jun-Sep) helps keep the worst of these foliar fungal diseases at bay until late fall when most crops are done producing. Crops are also rotated to help prevent these foliar fungal disease from thriving in a particular spot.
- Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
- On-site well, originally drilled prior to WWII. Updated pump within last decade. Tested annually for E. coli, other coliform bacteria, oxidized iron, and a host of other contaminants.
- 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. *
- Most of my seeds are now produced internally on the farm. Starting out prior to saving my own seeds, and any new varieties are sourced from certified organic or CNG sources. Top suppliers for seed include: Uprising Seeds, Territorial Seeds, High Mowing Seeds, Johnny's Select Seeds, Osborne Quality Seeds.
- 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. *
- G&B Organic Potting Soil Mix (red bag) OMRI listed. Ingredients: Recycled forest products, rice hulls, perlite, peat moss, composted chicken manure, bark fines, hydrolyzed feather meal, dehydrated chicken manure, worm castings, bat guano, kelp meal, alfalfa meal, oyster shell & dolomite limes (as pH adjusters).
- 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. *
- Bordered to the north and east by fellow organic farmers that are also incubating with Viva Farms. Approximately 200+ yard buffer in each of those directions before encountering other land. Also there is a large stream that is part of the Skagit River watershed which borders the northen edge of the plot. Train tracks and Hwy 20 more than 100 yards from plot's southern most boundary. Also to the south, there is an old parking lot that is used by Viva Farmers, as well as Viva's composting facility and south greenhouse. The plot borders Higgins Airport Way on the west, and the western plot boundary is approximately 30+ feet from the road. Directly across Higgins Airport Way is conventional farmland that has been managed as fallow ground for the past 3-5 years. Conventional land is approximately 75+ feet from western edge of plot. On either side of Higgins Airport Way are ditches that buffer the farmlands from the roadway. Furthermore, Higgins Airport Way is elevated ~5-10 ft higher than either patch of farmland bordering the roadway, thereby acting as an additional buffer between them. Further to the west and north of the overall Viva farmland is woodland that surrounds that Skagit Regional Airport.
- 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: