The property is 30 acres, only 2-4 acres is used for production. Using intensive, sustainable practices, the farm is allowed to concentrate on quality, rather than quantity. Mechanization is kept to a minimum to allow the farmers to maintain a connection to the plants and soil. Conservation practices such as minimal tillage, cover cropping, and the encouragement of a beneficial and healthy ecosystem of insects, microbial life, and wildlife (outside the fence of course) are used. The goal is to have healthy soil, to have healthy plants, to have healthy customers.
Certified Organic - Most people know the term, and have their own definition of what it means. Some believe the certification is losing value. From big farms that use excessive chemicals (although they may be “organic”), to the government meddling in small farm's business and adding cost. While this may be true, Salad Days has always grown using organic methods, but has opted to be certified. Why? It defines them in a recognizable way to someone who doesn’t know the farm/farmer, helping them to make a decision about their choice of purchase. Being certified also adds to the statistics. Support for the program, means more effort, research, money, and importance is given to a healthy food and farming system. A small farm working to make a big difference.
GAP Certified - Unless you are in the industry of growing food or buying at a wholesale level this term may mean nothing. So what is it? GAP stands for “Good Agriculture Practices”. Salad Days farm has elected to go through this process and expense of being audited and certified for a number of reasons. The farm has always taken food safety seriously, but like organic, how is one to really know without external certification? GAP certification has historically been for large farms seeking sales to large chain grocers and distributors. Proving that small scale farms using intense, sustainable growing practices can be vital to our food system is important to the farm and being GAP certified is another way to show that there is a place for small farms in all markets.
Lean Principles - While this isn’t a certification or even exclusive to farming, it is another approach the farm takes to ensure a quality product. It begins with identifying customer value and building a system of management and production that eliminates waste, inefficiencies, and ensures constant improvements to all aspects of the business and team. Work smarter, not harder.