Produce & Flowers

SolFed Farm

Owner: Liz Strohmayer

Address:
2208 Lismore Rd
Duluth, MN 55804
St. louis County

daytime phone: (651) 387-6504
evening phone: (651) 387-6504
Web site: http://www.solfedfarm.com

Application Date: 2022-04-03

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
We already grow at and beyond organic standards, however the certification process for becoming certified organic is not well suited for small farmers like us who grow 30-40 different crops. We want to proudly show our CSA members and folks at the farmers market that we grow responsibly.
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
no
Have you ever been certified in the past? *
no
Have you ever been denied certification? *
no
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
I first heard about it on a Facebook group of market farmers when I was looking for advice on organic certification agencies in our region.
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? *
We have been farming at our current location for 6 years, and this is our second year as a CSA and market farm. From the beginning we have been adhering to organic, biodynamic, and regenerative farm practices because we care deeply for the land and environment around us. We wanted to grown the most responsible way possible and teach others to do the same. I see no one is currently CNG in Minnesota, we would love to be the first and set an example!

General Farm Information

Farm Acreage you want listed as Certified Naturally GrownTM:
Total Farm Acreage you actually GROW on: *
12
Number of above acreage that you own: *
2
Number of above acreage that you lease: *
0
Do you have other acreage in "Conventional" Agricultural Systems? *
no
General Listed Acreage Breakdown
Veg Crops:
1
Fruit Crops:
1
Hay:
0
Grains/Beans:
.1
Sugarbush:
0
Other Acreage:
10
Please check all items you grow and will market as Certified Naturally GrownTM *











Please Specify Any Other Items:
We are planning to expand our apiary and chicken flock in the future, and will likely include those things in the future. We are also looking to expand to some grains in the future, but not this year.
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:
I am looking to potentially add a local restaurant and/or grocery store later this year, but do not yet have a buyer lined up. We currently are doing a market, CSA, and farm stand.

Farmland Management and Practices

Primary Tillage System: *
No Till and minimal till. We've only tilled when we initially create crop beds, but once they are created we no longer till at all.
Do you use Cover Crops? *
yes
If yes, please list: *
Crimson Clover, buck wheat, dikon radish, field peas.
Do you use Compost? *
yes
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
on farm and purchased from a local farm just down the road who have cattle.
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". *
Initially we use 40 yards per 50x100 foot field block and then use 5 yards for top dress annually in the fall for 50x100 field block.
Do you use Manure? *
no
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. *
Jobe's Organic Fertilizer for seedlings that are started in the nursery. In the past we have tried worm castings and compost tea but don't have plans to use that this year.
Have any chemical fertilizers been applied to the fields you are seeking Certification for in the last three years (36 months)? *
no
Have any non-acceptable pesticides and/or herbicides been applied to these fields in the last 3 years? *
no
Do you use Professional Soil Testing services? *
no
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. *
quack grass, daisy, plantain, grass, creeping charley, native prairie grasses, tree foil, dandelion, horse tail. We manage by flame weeding, silage tarp, wire weeding, living rows with a mower or string trimmer, and hand weeding.
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. *
Cut worms have been our main insect challenge for brassica seedlings that first emerge or are first transplanted. We hand pick them if there are few when we are scouting, but if we are facing a crop loss we use BT. We have had flee beetle pressure with our greens, radishes, baby bok choy and kale. We've tried diatomaceous earth with success when we notice a presence. Root maggots have been an issue yearly, but we have never tried an intervention other than just planting those crops later in the spring/early summer when the threat of root maggots are reduced. We've occasionally encountered aphids and either remove manually or with a water spray, but no other interventions have been needed.
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 blossom end rot on our tomatoes each year, but no interventions have been tried other than more frequent watering. We always get leafy mildew on our peas and squash (summer and winter) later in the season but have not included any interventions other than plant removal in the fall. We sometimes have potato scab in some potato crops, some more susceptible than others. We have not done any interventions because we haven't experienced a huge crop loss. We just keep those potatoes to eat ourselves instead of selling them to consumers.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
We use our house well as the only form of irrigation. We have an at home water kit we have used annually before the start of the season to ensure the water is safe for our family and the garden.
Are there any known contaminants in the irrigation water? *
no
Are you a maple producer who seeks to certify your sugarbush? *
no

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 save a lot of our own seeds from year to year for more crop resilience. When we first started gardening 6 years ago we bought a mix of organic and conventional seeds, but now we buy organic or open pollinated if we can't find organic. Rarely have we bough hybrid varieties, primarily just for sweet corn. We have never used coated or treated seeds. Our goal is to save as much seed from our farm each year as possible. Some crops are not possible or not worth saving for us- primarily corn, beets, carrots and onions.
Do you purchase or grow using any Genetically Modified seeds? *
no
Do you use any chemically treated seeds in your operation? *
no
Do you grow your own transplants? *
yes
Do you purchase potting soil, or do you mix your own on the farm? *
Purchase
What ingredients does your potting mix contain? If you purchase a mix, please also indicate which product. *
Pro mix- premium organic seed start mix is all we've ever used because it's OMRI certified and I can source it locally.
Are all of your transplants grown according to CNG standards, without synthetic fertilizers or wetting agents? *
yes
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. *
NA
Do you purchase any transplants from outside sources? *
no
Chemical/Spray Drift and Buffers:
Is there any likelihood of Chemical/Spray drift contamination of your fields? *
yes
If yes, please state the source (conventional farm field, golf course, etc.)and any details you can provide (type of pesticide, fertilizer, herbicide used, and/or what used for.) *
There is a hay field across the street from us. To our knowledge they do not spray it, they've only ever applied lime. But it's still a potential. We have a tree buffer and plan to also plant shorter bushes for wind blocks this summer in case our neighbors ever decide to change what they are doing.
Do you have an adequate buffer to protect yourself from potential contamination? *
yes
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 have tree cover and tall grass as a buffer on all sides of our fields. There is a 100' buffer of grass and then a row of mature trees to the north. This separates us from the main road and then 100 acres of hay field at our neighbor. A 75' buffer of grass and then 50' buffer of forest to the East between us and our next door neighbor who has a house, horses, and hay fields about 300' beyond that. A 30' buffer of grass and then 1000'+ buffer of forest to the south that we own, and a 40' buffer of grass and then 200' of our yard and 1000'+ buffer of forest to the West.

Agreements

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:
Thank you so much for offering CNG!