Food Safety & Quality
What is “organic” and why isn’t the Chatfield CSA labeled as “organic”?
It was our original intention to pursue the USDA Organic Certification for the CSA. After extensively reading through the certification paperwork, talking with both local certified and non-certified organic growers, representatives from the CSU Agricultural Department, Colorado Extension Agents and more, we decided that organic certification was not for us.
The primary reason for this decision was the incredibly diverse use of the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield site. We have so many different areas within our property to maintain including turf, wild riparian areas, wetlands, a total of 18 acres of corn and pumpkins, as well as events such as concerts, private rentals, etc. While we are working hard to incorporate more sustainable practices in all of these areas, we can not commit to being 100% organic.
However, everything that we do within our CSA fields is - and will always be - done using the organic certification standards as our guide. This means that we will not use any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or anything else for the CSA. All of our inputs from seed to fruit will adhere to the organic standards. We are also committed to protecting our soil by creating extensive crop rotational plans each year, as well as incorporating organic matter each season. Our drip irrigation system is highly efficient and gets the water directly to the plants’ roots so that we can use less water per acre. We test both the irrigation water for the CSA plot and the CSA wash stand each year to be sure that it is pathogen free.
So, why don’t we call ourselves "organic"? We can not officially use the word organic unless we are certified organic through the USDA. We will never refer to our vegetables as “organic” but rather as “sustainably grown.”
How do you as shareholders know that our practices are truly sustainable and the healthiest options possible? Our farm is open to you and the general public every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you are interested in our practices, please come to the farm and check it out. We continue to keep rigorous records of all of the inputs (and their sources) used on our fields, within our greenhouse and anywhere else related to the CSA. All CSA members are welcome to look through these records and do as much research as they need to if they are concerned about the food that we provide.
The Chatfield CSA is your farm, and it is where you get your food from to feed your family. That is very important to us. We have, and always will be, committed to providing our members with the healthiest, freshest, most sustainable food possible.
Food Safety Note
We have a comprehensive Food Safety plan for the Chatfield site to ensure the quality of our produce. We take food safety very seriously and we will continue to build on this plan for the future.
Although we have washed most of our produce once after harvesting it in the field, members should wash the produce at home again before eating. Our farm produce should be treated the same way as grocery store produce - always wash before eating! The best way to wash produce is by running it under cool water. Cleaning products are not necessary.