Bartlett's Farm is committed to excellence in services and products, and we strive every day to do our best for our customers and the island. It is a small world and we understand that what we do here will have an impact both locally and globally.
Farm-wide, we do what we can to lighten that impact. For example, in the greenhouse, we have switched nearly half of our annual flower production into wheat pots. (See photos at right) These bioplastics are a new generation of biodegradable and compostable plastic derived from materials including starch (potato, corn, wheat, etc.), cellulose, soy protein and lactic acid that are not hazardous to the environment when produced or discarded. They reduce the waste stream and save us several trips to the dump! This year, all of our pot geraniums are in rice pots. Rice pots are made from a by-product of the rice growing industry. The hulls are compressed and formed into pots.Both these types of pots are 100% biodegradable, so they can go in your compost or into your household trash (which then goes through the composter at the dump.) We grow all of our mums in Fiber pots that are 100% biodegradable.
Our head greenhouse grower, Pete Smith, has been using beneficial insects for more than 15 years. Using 'good bugs' to fight the 'bad bugs' reduces chemical use and is especially valuable in limiting exposure to chemicals. Many greenhouse crops are fertilized organically. And instead of using chemical fungicides, we use an organic product to prevent root diseases. It is OMRI listed (Organic Materials Review Institute) and it essentially 'eats' the bad fungus that sometimes grows on plants.
All of our herbs and vegetable starts for the home gardener are certified organic this year.
We never grow GMO's. Let me repeat that. Bartlett's Farm does not grow Genetically Modified Organisms.
The vegetable plants that need to be transplanted into the fields are now grown in 'elle pots.' These are small bundles of soil wrapped in a biodegradable covering. When the plants are large enough, the whole 'pot' is planted right in the ground. This eliminates the need for us to buy plastic pots, then turn around and recycle them. We also use the elle pots for flowers that we transplant to the field.
Farmer Dave's greenhouse tomatoes are grown with biocontrols. Like Pete, he uses beneficial insects to eliminate damage from whitefly, aphids and a host of other damaging insects.
We have begun a new venture this year. Dave went off-island to purchase 2 pairs of Oxen (pre-named Ben & Jerry and Dunkin & Donut) to use in farming our new organic certified field. Approximately 2 acres of field has been certified organic by Baystate Organic Certifiers. The oxen will be plowing and cultivating this area that will have mesclun greens, arugula, head lettuce and cutting herbs. This is also where we will be growing hay to feed the organic livestock, and composting their manure to provide fertilizer to grow the crops. We strive to make this kind of sustainable practice a larger part of our business. Between the four oxen, they eat two bales of hay, 10+ lbs of grain, and 20 lbs of potatoes every day! Weather depending, Ben and Jerry will begin their work sometime in May. The barn is happy to see farm animals again!
Dave's organic greens houses have just begun producing this spring. They are 100% organic, certified by Baystate Organic Certifiers. Watch for the organic label combined with the Farm Grown label and you will know that you are holding the freshest organic spinach, arugula, basil, mint, thyme, oregano, lemon verbena, sage, tarragon, curly and Italian parsley, chives and micro greens you can get on the island now.
In the market, we make certain to have our recycling bins available to customers, and in the kitchen, we make every effort to use smart packaging. There is no short cut or quick answer to this. There are so many types of packaging available, we try to choose products that reduce the negative environmental impact, and positively affect health and well being.
'Tis the season for Iced Coffee, and our cups are a PLA cup, which is 100% renewable through annual corn harvests, as well as being fully compostable in municipal and industrial facilities. It begins to break down at 150 degrees, 90% humidity, and with proper conditions will decompose in approximately 50 days.
The parchment paper that we use in the kitchen is packed in Post Consumer Recycled Fiber cases, and the paper itself is a petroleum free product. The paper is compostable, made from renewable resources, and biodegradable. Using this product ensures a reduction in wood based packaging, greenhouse gases and a reduction in energy and wastewater needed to produce the paper.
Our Deli containers, prepared food and pie containers are reusable and recyclable, and the brown boxes that we use in the Deli are 100% recycled paperboard.
Carrying low-impact environmental products for your home and garden is another way we try to keep things earth-friendly. From recycled aluminum foil to door mats made of formerly free-floating fishing rope, to Mrs Meyer's cleaning products, we try to offer a wide variety of eco-friendly choices.
In the garden center, Liz is carrying a full line of organic soil amendments and organic fertilizers for your vegetable or flower garden. If you choose to grow organically, you can get everything you need here. Liz is NOFA certified and is well-equipped to answer any questions you may have about organic gardening. We also provide space for NOFA (in conjunction with the Nantucket Land Council) to hold trainings for members of Nantucket's landscaper community.
We can't have a discussion about sustainability without touching on energy use. We have long searched for ways to reduce our energy consumption. This has been accomplished in the greenhouse through the use of energy efficient curtains and computer controls to modulate furnaces and to maximize their efficiencies. We also use drip irrigation technologies both in the greenhouse and in the field to reduce water usage and the energy associated with pumping it. We recently erected a windmill to further reduce our reliance on outside energy sources as well as limit our carbon footprint. While the windmill has suffered a setback we are not deterred and feel wind power is still a sustainable resource and part of our long term strategy here at the farm.
We strive to be good stewards of the land and active and responsible members of the community. This Earth Day gives us the chance to review and reflect on our practices and to continue to look for new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We are committed to advancing our practices in sustainability which include energy efficiencies, renewable energy, and organic food production. We would like to thank you for your continued support.