Jeffery A. Miller Catering

The Dish

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Our Three Sisters Farm in Waterloo Village is now certified ORGANIC!

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Our Three Sisters Farm in Waterloo Village is now certified ORGANIC! 

Organics is a fascinating and large topic. Organic farming is constantly evolving and improving and there are many different reasons behind buying organic vs. non-organic produce. Old techniques are now being combined with the latest research and scientific backing for the best environmental practices.

  • When we started the farm with Jeffrey Miller, back in 2015, "we didn't even have a single worm crawling in the dirt!" Gina Barkovitch, head farmer and gardener tells us. The space where we wanted to plant and design the gardens held festivals in the historic Waterloo Village for many years. It was compact and extremely hard to dig into. We have come a long way!
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  • We have over 50 fruit trees! Some include: European and Asian pears, apples, peaches, plums, apricots as well as red and yellow raspberries bushes, just to name a few.
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  • We have 2 active beehives! Did you know native pollinators increase crop yields? Native pollinators, most importantly wild bees, provide free pollination services and enhance farm productivity and profitability through increased yields and improvements in crop quality.
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  • We follow a strict enforced rotational planting schedule. Rotating plants through the garden produce organic soil conditioning. Some reasons we rotate crops include: disease prevention, insect control, nutrient balance and nutrient enhancement. Extensive paperwork must be kept up-to-date with specifics on each crop as well as current farm maps, purchase records and harvest yields for each crop. Written day-to-day farming and marketing records, covering all activities must be available for inspection at all times. 
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  • Did you know each country AND state has different legal enforcement for organic farming? Federal guidelines differ between each state and the certification is overseen by the federal government. The use of the term organic is legally restricted and not easy to use.

 

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We sat down with...Jeff Miller

  • Aside from Three Sisters Farm in Waterloo Village, how many organic farms do you work with directly? Were these farms already organic certified before partnering or were you a part of the process to meet the regulations?

JM: We have been working with a number of organic farms for several years through the Lancaster Farm Fresh CO-OP, as well as Weaver's Way in Germantown.

  • Some might say organic farming is an old-fashioned way of doing things- what would you say to those who are new to the organic movement? 

JM: Sometimes the old ways are the best ways! Best for the health of the land, the waterways, and for those of us living now on earth, and our children and their children to come.

  • You have worked in kitchens around the world- Do you see a difference between American and say, European chefs using organic produce?  

JM: I have not worked in Europe for several years, but I know that Europe started the organic food movement in the 1920's, and Sweden has hosted a "Nordic Organic Chef's Competition" for several years now, so European chefs are already onto organic. Europe has their own stringent standards a grower must meet in order to get a license to sell organic products. In many ways, Europe is more environmentally sensitive than we are here in the US - we have some catching up to do.

  • Lastly, why is organic farming so important to you?

 JM: Organic is important to me because I have learned about the harm that traditional farming is doing to the oceans, to the land, and to our health. The fertilizers that are used in farms can get washed into the oceans where they create algae blooms that are huge dead zones in the ocean. The Pesticides used in farming contaminate the aquifers- which is our drinking water. Additionally, organic farming, by avoiding pesticides, helps preserve the health of beneficial insects like honeybees, which we need to pollinate our fruit and vegetables, as well as other wildlife.