Egg Harbor Natural Gardens is now Certified Naturally Grown. Myles and Mary Dannhausen’s garden at 7592 Heritage Lake Road grows fruits and vegetables for local businesses and sells at a small roadside farm stand one mile east of Highway 42.
The Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) program recognizes small farmers who practice sustainable agriculture but can’t afford the cost of the National Certified Organic Program. CNG farmers adopt the same practices as certified organic growers and are subject to an annual inspection to verify their sustainable agricultural practices. CNG growers do not use synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or GMO seeds and use sustainable methods to maintain soil fertility.
Instead of chemical fertilizers, Egg Harbor Natural Gardens uses cover crops, composted leaves collected by local landscape contractors and retrieves compostable food waste from a local lodging facility to improve soil nutrients.
Through a federal loan program, Egg Harbor Natural Gardens added a high tunnel greenhouse seven years ago to extend its growing season. The Dannhausens also installed thousands of feet of drip irrigation that maintains needed soil moisture with a small amount of water.
CNG standards are largely the same as those of the National Organic Program but the program employs a different and less expensive inspection process. CNG inspections are often conducted by another certified local farmer or the local Extension Service. These inspectors are best suited to ask specific questions based on their knowledge of the local pest pressures and farming challenges, and to make helpful suggestions to improve the farm’s sustainability. This participatory model ensures that the standards are being upheld and strengthens the local farming community by connecting farmers to one another. CNG helps build the organic movement by including small farms.
Visit Egg Harbor Natural Gardens farmstand daily, or email [email protected] to order or arrange a tour of the garden. A list of available products is published weekly on Facebook.