Growing tree fruit organically in the Hudson Valley is extremely challenging- most commercial growers don’t dare try. We’ve found over the years that sustainable fruit production here requires a more nuanced approach, beyond the familiar methods of conventional or organic farming. We’ve sought to go above and beyond in how we manage the farm’s ecosystem health and the health of the trees.
We work to conserve habitats for natural pollinators, beneficial insects and orchard wildlife. We use woodchip mulch to build the soil and mycorrhizae of the tree’s roots. We’ve been free of synthetic fertilizers and herbicides since 2010, and work to conserve habitat for beneficial insects and native pollinators. We’re constantly looking for (and finding) evidence of the success of these management practices in promoting a healthy farm ecosystem.
In a 2015 study of orchards led by Cornell University, our farm and other Eco Apple orchards in the Hudson Valley were found to have over twice the number and abundance of wild bee species compared to conventional orchards. Here is a simple graph summarizing the relative and absolute abundances of wild bees in the different sites.
To learn more about the farm’s history and philosophy of sustainable fruit production, read this blog post by farm owner Josh Morgenthau.