Sustainable farming produce is both good for you and for the planet. Teena’s Pride CSA in Homestead, Florida, is a sustainable farm. “This means growing our crops using methods that protect our plants, our people, and our planet for future generations,” says Teena Borek of Teena’s Pride Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm.
Recently, I got a chance to tour the farm and chat with her. “We bought this beautiful property in 2005. My son Micheal Borek is the grower, I am just the mother now. I’ve waited 30 years to be able to say that,” Borek tells me as we stroll.
“We use natural predators, some certified pesticides, and we use other green chemistry. We are not pretending to be a certified organic farm but we do use organic input when we need to.” They also use a lot of silver-colored products on the the farm like meshing around the shade houses to keep out White Fly.
As we walk into a tomato shade house, I notice interlacing tubes connecting potted plants. “While a plant is growing we feed it through a drip line. It is a real hydroponic system,” she tells me. Drip line irrigation is also used in other parts of the farm.
We continue walking and come to a row of eggplants, a favorite of her CSA members.
The plants are growing in raised beds covered in silver plastic mulch, “We use silver mulch on the row covers to confuse the pests. It is so reflective that when the insect comes to land on it, they get confused and think it is the sky,” she says pointing at an extremely reflective section. “It reminds me of a mirror,” says Borek with a warm smile.
She points to some workers pulling large pieces of clear plastic from some raised beds, “See them–our farm team does all this work manually. Without them we could not accomplish as much. They are the reason for our sucess,” she says, calling out to them to look up and have their picture taken.
Teena’s Pride CSA doesn’t grow anything from June to August, sustainably letting the ground rest while the soil is cleaned via solarization (placing clear plastic sheeting over the beds).
“It helps because we do not use herbicides in our plantings. There is one,” she says, pointing to a plastic covered bed in front of us. “You let it stand all summer long. The sun beats down on it and kills any germs there. It kills weeds, nematodes, any insects. And it is a very important part of our agriculture.”
Teena’s Pride CSA doesn’t sell at farmers markets because the Florida heat wilts their produce and they want to sell the best quality possible. To ensure this, they pick the day before their deliveries.
All these sustainable practices have paid-off with crisp, delicious produce, and happy clients. Most of the original CSA members are still members four years later. Teena’s Pride farm is open membership and there is no cut-off date to apply. For more information you can go to www.teenaspridecsa.com