Twin Springs is not an “organic” farm, although we use many organic methods. Our Greenhouse Crops, for example, are successfully protected from insect and fungus problems by using either organic spray materials or biological controls. (We release predator bugs which feed on pest species such as white flies or aphids.) We have been taking this approach since the early 90’s, but we are not able to claim to be organic because some of the fertilizers, applied through the irrigation system, are not available in “organic form”.
The insect controls used in the Greenhouse do not work effectively on field crops. We still apply sprays at peak pest times. We monitor our fields, and apply pesticides only when nessessary. It has always been our policy to use either insect specific, low mammalian toxcisity pesticides or organic options whenever possible.
Commerical organic tree fruit production is in its infancy on the east coast. Our high humidity levels are the perfect breeding ground for apple scab and brown rot in peaches. As yet, there is no way to raise peaches organically but apple production shows promise with selected disease resistant varieties.
Just because we cannot grow organically at the present time does not mean that we are doing nothing. We have, since the 1980’s, been adopting new and safer practices. We have used integrated pest management, (IPM), methods for many years rather than the old style “shotgun” approach of applying a pesticide on a calendar basis from the start of the season. For the past six years we have been using mating disruption techniques for our major pest complexes. We are achieving significant control of peach tree borers, oriental fruit moth, codling moth, tufted apple bud moth, and apple maggot by releasing sex pheremones in the orchards which make it difficult for the males to find and mate with the females. We have also had excellent success with an organic insecticidal virus for codling moth, our most difficult to control apple pest.
All of these techniques are specific to the insect targeted, causing no mortality to other species. We will continue to identify and adopt newer and more environmentally conscious approaches to our farm practices as they become available. Our aim is to provide you with the best quality and safest food that we can possibly produce.