Staying above board to grow and sell healthy plants.
Since 2016, we have worked diligently to be good stewards of shipping quality fresh flowers, dried flowers, wreaths, and live plants directly from our farm. When it comes to plant health management, we have always taken a holistic and environmentally-minded approach to ensure that we’re constantly feeding the soil as it’s feeding us with flowers. The last thing we want anyone finding is unwanted creatures or icky funk on our product, so we’ve trained our entire team - from farming to fulfillment - what they should be always be looking for. This has allowed us to confidently and successfully send out thousands of packages to date with little to no issues. As our farm and our flower shipping portfolio has continued to expand, we’ve spent the entire year making connections with state and federal agriculture officials to ensure our practices are always above board.
In collaboration with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the USDA, we have created a comprehensive management plan for all the different products we ship. As we send beautiful natural products grown here in Virginia to the far reaches of the U.S. we work with these agriculture partners to ensure that our growing habits align with state-specific instect and disease requirements.
If you’re interested in what major pest and diseas concerns are in your own back yard, visit the National Plant Board website at www.nationalplantboard.org.
When shipping live plant materials, we have two shipping compliance options: acquiring a phytosanitary certificate or creating a compliance agreement with the State of Virginia. Phytosanitary certificates require a state inspector to evaluate every single package, and as a farm that ships perishable plants daily, our state representatives have advised us to take the longer and harder road of developing a compliance agreement. With this agreement, we have internal training and documentation processes that are accompanied by monthly in-person inspections and audits from our state agency. This has taken a large chunk of our farm team’s lives this year, but we’re more confident in our plant health than ever before.
Adhering to our compliance agreement has demanded hours of training and documenting that consider the specific requirements surrounding pests and diseas for each state. Luckily for us, as we get further into our collaboration with state and federal agencies, we’re reassured that our meticulous standards were already aligned with their requirements. The main difference is that now we have a Virginia-endorsed seal to back our farming credentials. So, if you wonder about a weird looking label or certifications on the packages you receive just know that’s us doing things the right way. We have done our due diligence to prevent the spread of environmental dangers and will continue to learn and share more so we can all know what to look for when buying healthy plant stock.
To date, we've completed certified training on Spongy Month, Spotted Lantern Flies, and Chrystanthemum White Rust. We are continuing to work through various additional trainings with the USDA including Japanese Beetles and other highly sensative pests and diseases.
Of course, in the process I totally nerded out on cool bug facts. The Gypsy Moth (now known as the Spongy Moth) has a really interesting story to how it was released in the US, and inspection and training agreements across states has done wonders to controlling it’s effects. If you want to geek out with me, you can read all about it on the Smithsonian’s website. Today's biggest pest threat is definitely the spotted lantern fly. While we have not detected it on our farm (yet - FINGER’S CROSSED!), we will be spending this year focusing on how we can prevent it from entering our ecosystem. Here is a quick video on spotted lantern fly and the harm it can do if left unchecked.
Diseases are also of great concern and sometimes can be hard to dectet. We have worked with inspection sites and universities to learn the proper spray programs to help decrease disease risk and signs to watch for incase they should arise. Due to our compliance agreement we will be logging all records of treatment and inspection to lessen the chance that any invisible plant germs come to the farm or leave.
Chrysanthemum White Rust or CWR is one of the major diseases that we must watch for in the mums we grow and ship. We have completed hours training with our state and federal agencies to create the best monitor and prevention program with a quarantine component that will allow us to monitor, identify and correct should we ever run into this disease. To date Harmony Harvest Farm has never experienced, or been exposed to CWR. But we can never be too careful, so developing a plan to prevent, mitigate, and correct any CWR if it may arise has been our focus throughout all of 2022.
If you have any questions or concerns about our plants or cut flowers, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.