Many said it just couldn’t be done in Niagara. Along with the problem of pests, we have such humid conditions that promote mildew and rot. But at Rumar Farm it is very important that we figure out how to grow them and provide our community with fresh organic fruit.
First, it starts with healthy soil and trees. When you keep your trees very healthy and give them what they need, they will build up natural defence mechanisms. We use cover crops and green manure to nourish the soil and in the spring, apply barrel compost and biodynamic preparations 500 and 501 which is like magic elixir for the soil and trees.
One of the biggest pests to peaches is Oriental Fruit Moth that originated in the Orient and is now found all over the world. We use Pheromone emitters called Isomates that we hang on the lower branches of the trees which disrupts their mating behavior and significantly reduces their population. We prune the trees to provide lots of airflow and ensure maximum access to the sun for ripening. Once the fruit start forming, we spray it with Kaolin clay that coats the fruit and makes it unpleasant for stinging pests. Early in the season we go through our orchard and thin the fruit removing any peaches that are damaged leaving only the very best for sizing and ripening. When they are ready, we go through and hand pick the largest allowing the other fruit to continue sizing and ripening. All the fruit is carefully sorted into number one (CSA and sales), number two (at a reduced price for canning and baking) and number three (our staff and we eat with a knife). Any that are just not good enough for consumption goes to our chickens. They love them too.
This gives you an idea of how much work and effort goes into providing you with pesticide free peaches. The reason peaches are on the “dirty dozen list” is because pesticides are toxic especially to children and it remains on the fruit even after washing and peeling. Heath professionals recommend that consumers choose organic whenever possible, especially for the items on the Dirty Dozen list (https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php). At Rumar Farm we go through a lot to produce organic peaches because we think you and your families are worth it.
Here is what is in our online store at www.rumarfarm.ca this week:
Zucchini and Summer Squash
Cucumber Mix and Slicers
Head lettuce and lettuce mix
Kale and Swiss Chard
Sweet Yellow Peppers
Herbs and Mushrooms
Ruth and Marc