Our farmers' pledge to YOU, the subscribers:
"We, the growers and producers of Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative, do so pledge that, as your neighbors and fellow members of this community:
- That, from our local family farm to your family table, we grow the freshest, and thus most nutritious local produce Mother Nature allows us,
- That our produce is picked at peak ripeness, for the finest taste and flavors of the Sandhills, representing the unique diversity of this area,
- That our produce is SAFE, produced under healthy guidelines. We eat what we grow, and so do our children and grandchildren. All SF2T produce is GMO free, and we strictly comply with all regulations.
- That each piece of produce has a story that goes with it. We are your neighbors. All of us, including multi-generational family farmers, take sustainability and the stewardship of the land in our care very seriously."
We maintain that the "Sandhills Grown" produce in your box is the freshest product around, from our local fields to your table within two days. Our goal is to source from the Sandhills counties adjacent to Moore County first, and then move outward if necessary for shortfalls.
Sustainability is an interest of ours, and a "chicken-or-egg" phenomenon. Good nutrition starts with the soil, and most of our farmers universally use organic soil-building techniques like green manures and cover crops. In addition, none of the local produce sold through the Co-op is sown with GM (genetically modified) seed.
SF2T subscribers have indicated a wish for more organic produce, and your producers have heard you and adjusted a number of their practices. Unfortunately, the time, paperwork, complications and cost of becoming USDA-certified organic is not affordable for most of our small- to mid-sized family farms. Some of our farmers' produce items might have been classified organic had they pursued certification. As you come to know them, you will learn the efforts the farmers make to produce the freshest, cleanest produce, produce they themselves put on their dinner tables.
Remember, in the SF2T Co-op, the farmers who grow our food are our neighbors, and they live and raise their own children on their family farms - and have for generations. They eat what they grow and are very savvy and receive extensive training, and are loathe to do any unnecessary procedures. This is different from massive-scale industrial ag.
Many farmers will use sustainable farming methods in general, but may protect certain crops in the summer when the bug pressure gets too high. Sometimes there's no getting away from it, especially for crops like peaches, but in the last four years of being spot-checked by the Dept. of Agriculture, none of the SF2T farmers have had residue found.
We will not offer an organic box this year, but will strive to offer some organic products in the Alt box and in the Artisanal Market, and sometimes even in the Harvest Box if quantities are available. This variety will grow over time. We WILL continue to highlight those farmers who do go the extra mile, especially to offer extra items when available in the Artisanal Market.
We continue to encourage our farmers to either pursue USDA Organic certification or move closer and closer to sustainable methods. Your interest and questions help that process. Talk to your board representatives, and talk to farmers at Co-op Farm and Berry-Picking Days and at the Annual Meeting Potluck and farmer fair.