Apple Hill Blog

Earth Day is a Great Way to Celebrate Our Sustainable Apple Hill Grower Farms

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Earth Day is a Great Way to Celebrate Our Sustainable Farms

(April 22, 2022) – For many Apple Hill Grower farms, every day is Earth Day. The worldwide event on April 22, 2022 is a reminder that we are all stewards of our environment.

The Apple Hill Growers spend their days managing the land in ways that provide safe and affordable food for our region and beyond; but many are also working to preserve the planet for future generations. These farms don’t just preserve the natural beauty of the foothills; they contribute to clean air, water, and wildlife habitats. Many of our farms have transitioned to organic practices and others are using innovative farming techniques to reduce both the use of water and pesticides.

A great example is Fudge Factory Farm. The family has been farming since 1985 and made a decision to use sustainable practices and grow their apples, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries using as few chemicals as possible. Not only does this mean growing especially delicious fruit, but it also shows customers that our farms really care about what we produce. However, growing this way does push farmers to think outside the box.

“We’ve adopted things like hand-pulling weeds instead of spraying, bug zappers that attract pests at night with lights and repurposing our cardboard boxes as bands around tree trunks to keep pests away,” said Seana Hartsell of Fudge Factory. “As a farmer you are always learning. You never know where you’ll get your next great idea. We have been supported with great advice from so many local farmers. The torch has been passed to the next generation – me – to keep up with this way of farming.”

Sloan Winters Mountain Orchard and Garden is a California Certified Organic Farm, which involves a rigorous (and often expensive) approval process. They also use a solar pest abatement system to keep destructive bugs off their fruit trees overnight but won’t harm honeybees. Edio Vineyards is in the process of moving the winery to organic certification. They don’t use any herbicides and use cover crops to naturally deliver nitrogen to the grapes. The farm is also home to an adorable flock of baby doll sheep who eat those cover crops and in turn create their own, low-emission fertilizer. Madroña Vineyards has been farming following organic practices and without herbicides for about a decade as does their sister vineyard, Rucksack Cellars.

“There is more care, effort and expense involved with organic and natural farming practices,” said Paul Bush, owner and winemaker at Madroña Vineyards and Rucksack Cellars. “But we believe eliminating herbicide use and focusing on organics is the right thing to do for the health of the land – now and for the future.”

On your next visit, stop by one of our farms to learn more about how they are preserving the environment while providing first class produce and wine grapes for all to enjoy.

For more information and a map of the area, please visit http://applehill.com/ and follow @applehillofficial on Facebook and Instagram for up-to-the-minute information and more on how Apple Hill farmers are using sustainable practices to be stewards of their land.

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