Research & Development

Our Research & Development mission was born from a curiosity and a desire to find ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change that were becoming ever more apparent here on the farm—mainly, cycles of excessive heat and drought followed by heavy rains.

These extreme dry and wet periods result in the loss of topsoil, compaction, and decreased nutrient availability throughout our fields. Plants suffer from heat stress, dehydration, and malnutrition, and are therefore more susceptible to damage by pests and disease. These challenges necessitate extra inputs—increased irrigation to help mitigate the prolonged drought and cover crops to keep our soils protected during extreme rain events.

While our growing practices adhere to the USDA’s organic certification standards, our research program focuses on exploring practices that go beyond organic (i.e. no-till) to build and protect soil health, with the purpose of regenerating our land and resources for years to come.

Current Projects

Use of Indigenous Microorganisms in High Tunnel Production

Exploring the use of IMO’s into our nutrient management systems for greenhouse tomato production. The goal is to help build farm resilience by reducing our dependance on off-farm inputs. This project has been designed to be a long term look into our nutrient management systems. There will be many data points related to soil health, plant health, and yields as well as the economics of on-farm IMO cultivation.

Transition to Regenerative Organic No-Till Production

Assessing the viability of a 5-year plan to transition from a traditional organic system with tillage to a regenerative organic, no-till system for vegetable and berry production. Our strategy includes planting diversified cover crops during fallow (non-productive) years for nutrient management and weed control. In a single quarter-acre plot in Field 1, in its fifth year of transition, we have experimented with and are continuing to evaluate strategies for nutrient management, weed suppression, crop termination, and cover crop strategies.

Read more about our No-Till Strawberry Production Preliminary Study (2020-22) here.

Cut Flower Garden Ecological Transition

Converting a portion of our cut flower garden, which was managed entirely in an annual system up until 2023, to a perennial production system in order to: increase native plants in our landscape, support pollinators, reduce our carbon footprint, and build soil health with less tillage. The transition will be implemented in phases over 5 years, starting in 2023. Managing the perennial and annual systems side-by-side will allow us to evaluate the cost of implementation, maintenance, and productivity, as well as to compare impacts on pollinators.

Read more about this project on our blog, here.