As Sarah mentioned in her Apple Butter post, we took the boys apple picking a few weeks back at Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont, NY. Indian Ladder is unique, they are certified eco-apple farm. Directly from their website:
Indian Ladder Farms apples have been certified as Eco Apples. As an Eco-Apple farmer, we ensure specific growing standards. We use a combination of long-standing agricultural practices as well as advanced ecological orchard management methods to minimize spraying and other environmentally disruptive practices. This practice, known as integrated pest management (IPM), can prevent pest infestations and organic problems before they happen by monitoring crops and treating only as needed. We manage problems in the orchard through land management such as careful mowing and monitoring of growing conditions. We use natural predators such as ladybird beetles to eliminate harmful pests when possible. We analyze problems and base treatments on real threats as opposed to scheduled and indiscrimate spraying We use the least amount of pesticides and fungicides in the most scientific and responsible way. Our president and owner, Peter G. Ten Eyck II, has a degree in pomology. He works closely with our farm manager Tim Allbright to ensure that our apples are protected and healthy.
Eco Apple is a project of Red Tomato, a non-profit organization based in Canton, MA, which brings together research scientists from University of Massachusetts and Cornell University, apple growers from seven northeast states, as well as other key advisors. The project, begun in 2003, develops and researches advanced Integrated Pest Management production methods, maintains a strict protocol followed by all participating orchards, and provides branding, marketing and consumer education to help promote regional apples.