Lots of people talk about doing farm tours and in particularly organic farm tours, so recently I decided to go and do my own. All in the name of research of course and nothing to do with all the fresh produce sampling ;-)
I'd seen Sun Catcher Farms at the local farmers' market here in Lake Country and met Tony Cetinski, the owner so I decided enough procrastinating, now was the time to check it out for myself.
It is a relatively small farm on just under 8 acres of what is the oldest farm land in The Okanagan Valley and has been certified organic for more than a dozen years now. They mostly supply to high end quality restaurants and Urban Harvest, the organic produce delivery people my wife and I always use in the winter when the farmers' markets are not operating. I found it fascinating to learn more about organic farming practices which is much much more than just a case of not spraying the crops. Tony likes to call it good farming practice which sums it all up very well and includes everything from organic seeds and fertilizer, to the correct cleaning products and working closely with the neighbouring farms to ensure integrity of his crops. It also includes such ethics as sustainable farming, rather than producing the largest crop from the smallest effort, a practice that many of the large agri-businesses seem to follow. He even has uncultivated strips of land between his crops to provide a natural home for the good bugs and insects that are needed to keep the bad ones away. There's a lot more to organic farming than meets the eye and I strongly encourage anyone who wants to know why it seems more expensive in the short term than so called 'conventional farming' to check and read this simply explained layman's guide to organic farming in BC. My own take on this is fundamentally a nutritional one; to get the same, (if it's even possible) amount of nutritional value from 'conventionally' farmed food as we can from organic produce, we would have to eat and therefore buy so much more than we need. This really is a case of 'Less is More'!
And if you're reading this and you're local to The Okanagan have a think about this; our valley can provide almost everything we need to live well and eat healthily for many generations to come, if we let it! We need to stop thinking of the short term savings and think more about the future of where we live, after all, we live here for a reason don't we?
Thanks to Tony from Suncatcher Farm to taking time out of his day to show us around, and to Lisa from Urban Harvest for organising the tour!