Friday, September 30, 2016

USDA Organic Certification, Year Two

Wednesday morning we met with our certifier from Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO) for our annual site visit. This visit is the culmination of a process that began in January as we submitted our organic systems plan for managing our farm.

Binders containing
pertinent information such
as invoices, product labels,
receipts & other data
along with the PCO-provided
accordion file filled with paperwork.
And yes, the zinnias in the
vase on the dining room table
are certified organic, too!
The purpose of the annual inspection is to verify the information submitted electronically to PCO and to take a look at fields, storage facilities, etc. This year our fellow PATH participant, Alvie Fourness of Wooleylot Farm, was along to audit the process in his quest to become a USDA Organic inspector. Between them, they were very thorough and I was delighted to be able to locate all the documentation they requested.

We are pleased to report that we met all the criteria for year two of USDA Organic Certification for this old family farm. 

When we set our on the path to USDA Certified Organic certification, we knew that it would add additional expense and lots more record keeping than we were used to in all of our years of "organic" farming. But, we also felt we owe our customers the assurance that our farming practices – from the sourcing of organic seeds (and seed potatoes) to the management of disease and pests, to soil health and fertilization – meet the standards of organic production.

By achieving this certification, our customers can be assured that all of our farming practices meet the National Organic Program standards. In the words of PCO, this process provides "evidence of the operation’s adherence to a prescribed system of agriculture and food production that involves the building and enhancing of the soil naturally, protection of the environment, humane treatment of animals and avoidance of toxic synthetic substances."

And now it's on to complete our 2016 harvest  of certified organic potatoes and apples along with the last of the vegetables in the high tunnel.

Though the Farmers' Market is now done for 2016, please call us (274-8004) or email metzgerfarm@gmail if you're interested in buying any of our offerings. Presently we have lots of hot peppers (mostly Maya Red and Ring of Fire but some Hungarian Hot Wax, JalapeƱo, Czech Black, Hot Portugal); Swiss Chard; limited green beans in 1# quantities; lots of beets along with potatoes and apples.
We'll have potatoes soon at Costa's Shursave in Coudersport and at Genesee Natural Foods.
Thank you all for your support during the Farmers' Market season. I know I speak for all of the participants when I tell you that we appreciate your encouragement and friendly faces every bit as much as your purchases!