Cold Press Organic Juice – Organic Farming
Here at Sown our dedication to the well-being of the individual and the environment we all share is paramount. The journey of good health begins long before our Cold Press Juice reaches your door and is an integral part of our story and the generations of farming here at St Helen’s farm.
We are an Organic Farm situated in the beautiful rolling hills of God’s own country, Yorkshire. Among our fields and orchard’s, you will find over thirty varieties of organically grown fruits and vegetables. We have farmed in the area for six generations and decided to transition to organic agriculture in 1999, driven by our desire to produce safer, healthier food for local people.
The shift to organic farming has seen a rise in popularity over the last decade as our collective priorities have shifted to tackle some of the problems we face globally.
On a personal level we have all begun to really take care of our own health, to really care about what we put into our bodies, from where it is sourced, how it is grown and how it impacts the environment within which it is grown.
Traditional farming methods have developed as a way to be beneficial economically as well as to try to increase the yields from crops so as to feed an ever-growing global population.
The two main points of consideration in farming are how to grow the biggest and healthiest crops, and how to prevent those crops from being damaged by pests.
If we can grow big healthy crops, and prevent them from being damaged, as a farmer we can produce the biggest yield and the best quality and so pass on to the world the best food that we as people desire and deserve.
With the advent of new chemicals in the early 20th century, manufacture of new and novel methods of fertilization and pest control emerged.
Advantages of Chemical Fertilisation: When crops are sown, they take nutrients from the soil and turn them into the building blocks required to grow into healthy plants. The rate at which nutrients are removed from the soil varies from crop to crop, but typically within a few seasons the nutrient level in the soil has depleted enough to affect the yield and quality of the crops being grown.
Fertilisation then, appears to be a great way to ensure that each season the soil is revitalized with the nutrients required to grow that season’s crop without depleting the soil as a whole.
Fertilisation can even add extra nutrients to the soil that are beneficial to humans, such as zinc or calcium, or even simply allow the crops to grow larger than they would without fertilization, resulting in a greater yield.
Disadvantages of Chemical Fertilisation: The problems begin to occur however on two major fronts.
Harm to the Environment: Chemical fertilizers are not natural to the environment; they sit freely in the soil rather than bound together with other organic matter to make up the contents of the soil. This means they are susceptible to run-off, and so they are washed through the soil before being taken up by the plants and end up in our groundwater, our rivers and throughout the surrounding environments.
They cause harm to the ecosystems they infiltrate and can even seep into the products we consume and use, causing harm to us over time. Nutrients broken down by plants and turned into organic matter are perfectly healthy for us, but these same nutrients in raw and unfiltered form can cause great damage to our health.
Nutritional Quality: The other problem arises from the quality of nutrition within the crop. Crops grown with excess nutrition grow quicker, and so grow bigger, but the bigger the crop doesn’t necessarily mean the greater the nutritional content. Crops grown with chemical fertilizers tend to be larger by mass, but poorer in nutritional content than organically grown fruit and veg.
The natural cycle of slowly breaking down and releasing nutrients from the soil to be grown into the food we eventually eat is much akin to the slow rate at which crystals may form. A crystal grown slowly over time creates very strong bonds in a very regular and ordered pattern, it makes beautiful objects such as diamond and quartz. Whereas a very quickly grown crystal forms very weak and irregular bonds making them weaker, even if the starting ingredients were the same, like coal and graphite.
And so it is with our plants. When forced to grow and use the abundance of nutrients around it, the plants natural cycle goes into overdrive and it focuses on growing itself in quantity at the expense of its quality. So, whilst from the outside the plant may look bigger and healthier, inwardly the nutrient content, the cell health and the plant in general is of a much lower quality.
Pesticides are another major problem in farming, both locally and globally. Many plants are eaten not just by us but by other animals and insects too. When too many gather in one area, such as a field of produce, they multiply and become a detrimental problem. To combat this, chemical pesticides, insecticides and even herbicides to remove unwanted plants were introduced into the environment.
Advantages of Pesticides: The one advantage of pesticides is that if there is a pest problem, pesticides will kill and eradicate the pests, saving the plant crop and allowing we human beings to eat.
Disadvantages of Pesticides: Without trying to sound biased, (I am), there is nothing else but disadvantages to pesticides. Whichever way we cut it, pesticides are poison. Poisons often delivered in liquid form into the soil of the plants we are about to eat. In some cases they are even sprayed onto the fruits and veg we consume.
‘Wash before use.’
We’ve all seen this in the supermarket on our veg and fruit. There’s no mud, no pests, no clear, visible reason why the produce needs cleaning. One of the major reasons is to make sure we wash off any excess pesticides that the farming process didn’t remove entirely.
Even with washing it has been shown that the pesticides used on crops find their way into the crops in small amounts and are ingested by humans. These are poisons entering into the very thing that is our source of good health. Whatever advantages of pest control maybe, the hazard to our health, the contradictory insanity in poisoning the very source of our health and wellbeing is enough to cut pesticides not just out of our lives, but from our world entirely.
Every time it rains those pesticides and poisons are washed from the soil and into the rivers, into the ground water. They pollute the environment and have a very slow process of degradation, meaning they will stay in the soil for years to come, continuing to slowly build up and poison the environments we very much depend upon.
Organic Farming - Nature’s Solution
So how do we combat this horrific modern age of farming that has caused so much detriment to our environments and our health?
Returning to Organic Farming is the simplest and easiest method.
Fertilisation: Organic Farms use natural fertilisers that break down into the soil first, and then are absorbed at a natural rate and in a normal amount by the crops being grown.
Natural fertilisers are anything from manure to old plant matter. These are the things of which soil is made up.
Each year in autumn the leaves fall forming a bed of autumnal beauty that we can walk upon. Over the winter and the coming years, these leaves that once grew from the tree are broken down by microbes and insects and fungi, and returned to the soil, which the tree then uses to grow itself bigger, grow more leaves, more fruits and survives another year. There is no excess being added, or very little if there is. It is a process of recycling the nutrients already available and no longer needed that allows nature to sustain its beauty and its health over all these millions of years.
Who are we to change that?
This lack of being force fed, allows the plants to grow at their natural rate, producing the right amount of chemicals and nutrients within them for them to be balanced and healthy. That balance and health is then passed onto the consumer in the form of delicious and nutrient dense produce.
Organic Farming and Pesticides: There are many ways to deal with pests. Indeed, it has been found that the lack of health in these crops, due to the overabundance of fertilizer and chemicals in the soil, increases the likelihood of pests eating the crop. It is like our immune systems. When our immune systems are functioning improperly due to excess and poor nutrition, we become susceptible to disease, bacteria and viruses which make us sick.
When a plant isn’t healthy or happy its own immune system is compromised allowing pests to move in and eat away at it.
So, when you grow crops organically, the health of the plant is boosted, its own immune system acts as a defense against pests and the integrity and quality of the produce remains intact. The health of the plant becomes the pesticide.
Other benefits of Organic Farming: Other methods of organic farming allow for things such as crop rotation. Rotating crops mimics the cycles and seasons of natural environments in which plants grow in areas that are suited to them. Their existence in the soil changes the soil content which, in turn, allows other crops to grow there more efficiently. When they die back in winter, they ready the soil for the spring plants which give way to summer plants and onto the autumnal plants. In essence it is about balance, and the rotation of crops allows the soil to get a variety of nutrients and organic matter and so become a balanced and healthy system capable of supporting food growth for the years to come.
Another aspect of crop rotation is the resting of the land which is used. Whilst some crops are sown to be harvested, others are sown to simply grow and die back in this natural cycle, giving the area a few years of natural regeneration before farming on it again creates that natural vitality that is so important to producing healthy and delicious crops.
Organic Farming – The Future
In these ways and many more, organic farming is becoming not just the popular choice, but the sane and logical one. Whilst man-made practices and chemicals can boost the speed of growth, with this comes its own problems and detriments. These problems in turn create more problems and the bottom line becomes that this way of farming is damaging to not only our own health, but the health of our environments that we intimately depend upon.
There is currently a soil crisis, hidden under the headlines of doom and gloom is yet another potential disaster waiting to happen. The very health of our world’s soil is under threat from unnatural and harmful farming practices on an unprecedented scale. Returning to natural organic farming that allows for soil regeneration is the only way we can ever turn the tides against this most pressing of issues.
Organic farming understands the processes of nature, and allows our food to be grown in tune with the natural cycles and harmonies that have evolved themselves over millions of years to great longevity and health for all creatures great and small upon the face of the earth. Organic farming returns to these roots, and so returns to our food and to ourselves that deep connection we all have with nature, and that deep yearning for healthy, quality food that our bodies desire.
With these practices in mind and this ethos before us we at Sown and Grown produce our fruits and vegetables organically, hand picking them with care and juicing them to deliver to you, fresh, nutritious and as environmentally friendly as we can be.