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New Paltz, NY
Full SeasonOssining 05/06 – 12/09
Fresh NowFruits + Vegetables: asparagus
According to Pete Taliaferro, an organic farmer is "someone who is trying to be the best possible steward of the land and growing the healthiest food available." But Taliaferro, stresses the importance of his USDA certification. "I mean you can be the best driver in the world," he says, "but you still need a driver's license."
Before he and his wife Robin purchased their own 32-acres of land in New Paltz, Taliaferro did everything from clearing brush to designing and installing irrigation systems for some of the best growers in the region. "I have a strong background in commercial production; I took that experience and rolled it into the world of organics," he says.
Still, with three kids and a mortgage on his house and farm, Taliaferro didn't have the start-up capital to jump right into growing everything organically, although he wanted to. Rather, he started on four acres and changed it over in little segments. He bought a rototiller at an auction, started tilling and planted beans and legumes as cover crops. The transition took some time because, according to organic regulations, non-organic land must lie fallow for at least three growing seasons.
Taliaferro's sons Peter and Ian, his daughter Delaney and his wife Robin participate in all aspects of running the farm. The Taliaferro's avoid the need for synthetic chemicals on their apples and in their fields by using all-natural botanical insecticides, like copper as well as companion planting, crop rotation and beneficial insects.
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