Weather conditions in the Northeast make growing tree fruit organically in large quantities near impossible. Though local fruit growers are not certified organic, most small, local farmers will follow good growing practices because avoiding the use of pesticides means preserving their farm land and protecting their own family from toxic materials.
Integrated Pest Management
To ensure safe growing practices, farmers use a method called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This method is an environmentally sensitive approach to growing fruit that reduces or eliminates the use of pesticides, while at the same time managing pest populations at an acceptable level. Potential pests that may endanger the fruit are first analyzed; strategies are then decided on the best way to deter these pests from the crop. Strategies of IPM include using mechanical trapping devices, natural predators (e.g., insects that eat other insects), insect growth regulators, and mating disruption substances (pheromones). Though IPM has no public certification, a farm’s IPM program is closely monitored by an agricultural institution, such as Cornell Cooperative Extension, to ensure the most strategic and least toxic methods are being used. Many times, however, farms will not become IPM certified because the cost of certification is expensive.