Organic Production and Pesticide Use
Kuhn Orchards is not a certified organic farm. Organic production of fruit on the East Coast is difficult due to our higher humidity levels which cause problems such as fireblight and scab in apples and brown rot in peaches. However we employ the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to help control our pests with as little pesticides as possible. IPM is the use of of multiple methods, including biological, cultural, genetic and chemical controls. For example, we have been using mating disruption techniques to help control our populations of peach tree borers, oriental fruit moth and codling moth. Plastic ties are hung in the orchard that release sex phermones, making it difficult for the male insects to find and mate with the females. We then monitor the numbers of these pests with traps and only spray pesticides as a last resort when harmful population levels have been reached. We have also been planting more varieties of "disease resistant" fruit (such as GoldRush apples) that are less affected by pest pressures.
We are familiar with and abide by the Food and Drug Administration's "Guide to Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables." We want to ensure consumers that they need not worry about the safety of our fresh produce!! After all, we live, work and eat in the orchard everyday; why wouldn't we want it to be safe?
Energy, Water and Soil Conservation
Kuhn Orchards shares many of the same concerns about the environment as our consumers. In 2006, our operation was enrolled in the "Conservation Security Program" (CSP) administered by the US Dept. of Agriculture. The program identifies and rewards those farmers and ranchers who are meeting the highest standards of conservation and environmental management on their operations as they address resource concerns. Our conservation practices include:
- the installation and use of windbreaks to improve air quality
- performing an annual energy audit and installing new energy efficient lighting in our buildings
- recycling of all used motor oil from our farm equipment
- planting several pollinator borders with wildflowers to encourage a biodiversity of native pollinators
- maintaining our forested riparian buffers along all creeks and waterways to capture nutrient runoff
- utilizing "trickle" irrigation
- completing annual soil tests to limit the use of unnecessary fertilizers.
Of the 300 acres under Kuhn Orchards' ownership, 150 acres has been permanently protected from future residential development through the granting of conservation easements to the Adams County Agricultural Land Preservation Program and Land Conservancy of Adams County. Another 40 acres of the farm was enrolled in the US Dept. of Agriculture's "Wetland Reserve Program" in 2009, providing for the restoration of former pasture to valuable wetlands that will be permanently preserved.