Sammis Farms to supply fresh, organic produce to Crystal Springs Resort in 2013
When it comes to farming nowadays, the right way isn’t always the easiest. Local fifth generation farmer Jim Vough knows this all too well. He is tasked with turning Sammis Farms in Vernon, NJ into a 100 percent organic farm that in 2013 will supply fresh produce to the restaurants of Crystal Springs Resort.
“It’s not easy to be organic around here, unless you really put a lot of effort into it,” said Vough. “Organic is not the norm. You’re growing naturally, transforming from traditional agriculture. It’s a little more intensive, but worth it.”
Crystal Springs’ Executive Sous Chef Florian Wehrli is excited to have the crops of Sammis Farms literally at his fingertips next year. “Vegetables don’t ship well,” according to Wehrli. “It will be so nice to get produce right from the farm. Not only is that convenient and cost-effective, but also better for our customers who will experience the freshest, highest quality food available.”
With organic gardening, Vough has to have the soil prepared ahead of time and spent the summer testing how various crops would grow. He dismisses any type of spray chemicals. “Gardening requires constant attention,” Vough explained. “You can’t just spray and walk away. We don’t want to harm local wildlife or affect the water supply.”
Vough is also adamant about “making plants happy.” For instance, he plans on mixing his own compost, brewing it into a tea and treating it as a liquid fertilizer. Hay will be used as mulch, corn plastic will battle weeds, and an organically-approved clay will deter insects. “The goal will be to grow super healthy plants that can defend themselves.”
These careful farming techniques will lay the foundation for nutritional and delectable gourmet meals created by Crystal Springs Resort chefs, and you will certainly taste the difference.