If all goes as planned we'll have NY grown asparagus from Pedersen Farms in many of the produce boxes next week! We're psyched to have more and more local items on the way!
Rick Pedersen knew he wanted to farm from day one. Growing up on his parents hobby farm Rick worked with all kinds of livestock but somehow growing vegetables really got his attention. Rick went on to work in forestry and earn a Bachelor of Science in vegetable crops – all the while working on farms and gaining the experience he needed to get out on his own. Along with his wife Laura, who also grew up on a farm, Rick found the right spot in 1983 and the Pedersen’s have been the owners, operators and masterminds of Pedersen Farms ever since. When they started, the farm spanned 60 acres. Today, they grow both organic and conventional grains and vegetables on 1,500 acres – 400 of which are certified organic.
Always interested in growing organics, the Pedersens got serious about it in 2002 when the National Organic Program was approved. Pedersen Farms does all of their business as a wholesaler, so increased consumer demand from retail stores helped seal the deal. The Pedersens now grow organic heirloom tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, garlic, winter squash, corn, soy beans, barley, spelt, asparagus and cauliflower.
Since the wholesale market also demands non-organic vegetables Pedersen Farms obliges with many of the same crops for the conventional market. However, many practices from the organic standards are universal on the farm. We don’t use GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and we use organic fertilizer because it just works better,” says Rick. “If the crops are managed properly, you have yields that are about the same or even a little better [than conventional practices].” Another novelty that can be found on Pedersen Farms are 10 acres of hops which are harvested and sold to local breweries. With a roaring market for local, sustainably grown products, Rick and Laura Pedersen, as one of the largest organic growers in the state, can rightfully say that they are at the forefront of a movement.