A few months ago, I got to chat with a worker at Behneman Farms, a family-run, small-scale, local organic farm. This type of farming needs to become more prevalent because avoids many of the problems that come with large-scale monoculture operations. This blog contains some of the questions I asked and a paraphrased version of the response I received. Before reading this, it might be helpful to read my latest blogs on organic farming and sustainable agriculture if you haven't already.
What types of crops does Behneman Farms grow?
Behneman Farms grows citrus, avocados, persimmons, flowers, and seasonal veggies.
Where is the farm? How big is it?
The farm is in Valley Center, California. It is a family business with multiple small locations that sum up to around 27 acres.
How long has the farm been running?
The farm has been operational since 1971.
Where does Behneman Farms sell its produce?
Behneman Farms mainly sells its produce at farmers’ markets, but they also have a partnership with other local farms where they deliver a box of fresh produce to customers once a week.
What does the farm look like? Are its fields diversified?
Behneman Farms grows many crops and has very diversified fields. They grow their produce in the area between rows of citrus trees.
How does the farm control pests?
Each of Behneman Farms' locations are pesticide-free, and they use insect netting to keep out pests. Since they have small-scale operations with diversified crops and other sustainable practices, they do not have large pest problems.
How does Behneman Farms deal with water shortages and high water prices in this area?
They use the least amount of water possible to have successful crops and they use drip irrigation practices.
In what ways does the farm try to be sustainable?
This farm is trying its best to be sustainable. One of the locations is certified organic, they are all pesticide-free, they follow no-till methods, they utilize crop rotation, and they have integrated composting practices into their farming. They also use natural manure-based fertilizers, natural soil amendments (to make the soil more conducive to growth), drip irrigation, and insect nets. Additionally, they are a part of a carbon sink program that promotes carbon sequestration practices into farming methods.
What are your personal views on farming?
The person I interviewed emphasized the importance of small-scale farms and for these farms to use sustainable practices.
What do you like best about farming?
The person I interviewed said it was really rewarding to see growth and the success that comes from hard work.