Recycling & Reusing

As farmers, Tom and I are always looking for ways to help the environment.  I’d like to share with you three ideas we have implemented in trying to achieve this goal. These methods use the concepts of recycling or reusing.

In 2012 we completed work on a one acre pond. The purpose of this pond is to capture runoff water and nutrients from our fields and pumping it back on our crops by way of drip irrigation.  Drip irrigation is a method of applying water to our crops directly to the roots by way of small tubes or hoses that run just under the surface of the ground.  Drip irrigation conserves water far more than overhead irrigation.  By capturing this runoff water, we are preventing nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous from going into the waterways and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

Many of you know that we grow our fruits and vegetables on black plastic mulch.  This mulch aids in weed control (thus cutting down on herbicides, helping with water retention, and warming the soil for earlier crops.  Whenever possible, we “double crop” on the black plastic.  For instance, when our strawberry season is finished, we reuse that plastic to plant winter squash, gourds, and specialty pumpkins.

Another method of “reusing” that we have implemented at Harman’s is reusable bags.  In the past 3 years, we have handed out over 1500 reusable bags to our customers.  We encourage them to bring them to our market or use them in their other shopping trips.  In addition, we have grocery hand baskets readily available in the market for people to use for shopping.  This has greatly reduced the use of plastic bags, for we bag the vegetables at the counter and can consolidate the produce after weighing it.

Although these measures may seem small, anything we all can do will add up in our efforts to help the environment.

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