Produce & Flowers

Clay Fish Farm

Owner: Aaron Johnson

1135 Effie Welch Rd.
Bear Creek, NC 27207
Chatham County

daytime phone: (531) 739-9997
Web site:

Application Date: 2022-05-01

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
My family and I are passionate about what we grow and the methods we use. We feel that joining a community of like-minded folks is important to our business model and sense of being a part of something bigger than ourselves. We work hard to grow our crops and feel like having the CNG certification is something we can share to our customers that will give them more of an appreciation of the quality of the food we provide and our efforts to make it happen.
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 learned about it by visiting some of the farm websites of farmers I admire in terms of their method and business model.
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 have been farming for three years and just recently transitioned into farming full time. My family and I own a fourteen acre farm in Chatham County, North Carolina. We only utilize natural/non-GMO methods and rely on a low-till, mostly hands on approach. I was drown to the work and books of Joel Salatin about four years ago and then later JM Fortier's market style and certainly the broad fork. My wife and I have both dealt with health issues in the past and live by the model that food should be our medicine - along with being active and outdoors - and have seen tremendous benefits from eating healthy/nutritionally dense foods. We grow heirloom vegetable varieties - we get our seeds from Baker Creek and purchase our compost from a local producer (about 8 miles from our farm) that is completely chemical free. We utilize row covers, fencing, and diatomaceous earth for pest and critter control.

General Farm Information

Farm Acreage you want listed as Certified Naturally GrownTM:
Total Farm Acreage you actually GROW on: *
2 acres
Number of above acreage that you own: *
all of it
Number of above acreage that you lease: *
Do you have other acreage in "Conventional" Agricultural Systems? *
General Listed Acreage Breakdown
Veg Crops:
2 acres
Fruit Crops:
Other Acreage:
We own a total of 14 acres
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 primarily rely on a broad fork for tiling. We do however, utilize a tiller when first breaking ground.
Do you use Cover Crops? *
Do you use Compost? *
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
We buy all-natural compost from Brooks in Goldston NC.
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". *
After tilling soil with broad fork/tiller we add a top dressing of compost of about 1 to three inches that we either direct seed in or transplant seedings we raise into
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. *
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. *
Weeds that we have we pull them out by hand or use a strirup hoe. My wife, kids, and myself we pull weeds a little each day - its one of the least favorite things to do at our farm.
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 rely on row covers and diatomaceous earth to control our pests. On occasion we use neem oil as well. We use row covers for most of our leafy crops (i.e. arugula, radshes, kale, etc) and diatomaceous earth we have used as much as once a week.
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 experienced powdery mildew on our squash plants in the past. To address this we use diatomaceous earth and adjusted the amount of water we use.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
We rely on county water and a well we have on our property.
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 only use heirloom seeds from Baker Creek but we would be open to contacting other suppliers if that is the expectation.
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? *
Purchase organic potting soil (Coast of Maine) from a local provider in Pittsboro NC.
What ingredients does your potting mix contain? If you purchase a mix, please also indicate which product. *
sphagnum peat moss, composted manure, perlite, aged bark and fertilizer
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. *
Our fame has grass-fed cows on the eastern border and northern borders. Our crops are more than 100 yards from these cows. To the west and south are wooded tracts of land that do not have any agriculture on them. Our farm has a small rural road that runs in front of our house.


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:
To the best of our knowledge no chemical fertilizers or non-acceptable pesticides and/or herbicides have been used on our farm in the last 36 months. Since owning the farm we have not used any chemical fertilizers or non-acceptable pesticides and/or herbicides on our farm. We bought the farm in the spring of 2021. Prior to our purchase of the farm the land was owned by an elderly couple and was mostly overgrown. While we have no reason to believe the land had any chemicals, pesticides, etc. used we cannot say with absolute certainty therefore we are applying for the transitional certification to be completely transparent with our customers.