The power of nature and organic farming

The number of organic farmers in Flanders grows each year. A logical trend, since the demand for organic vegetables increases equally.

We invest significantly in sustainable farming. Healthy living and healthy food top today’s social trends. And rightly so. Hugo Claes of ’t Levend Land, an organic farm in Poperinge, and Kristof Moyaert know all about it. As Greenyard Frozen suppliers, organic farming to them isn’t just a choice, but a true vision: “We always start from a positive outlook: nature, by nature, is healthy, as long as you take good care of her.” Hugo is totally convinced: organic vegetables are healthier, better tasting and more sustainable.
Weeding by hand
The differences between organic and conventional farming are clear: no sprays or pesticides are used in organic farming at all, not even to get rid of weeds. This of course explains the price difference between organic vegetables and conventionally grown ones. Weeding on organic grounds is done manually. Not once, but several times. And yes, that process is time-consuming. Moreover, both Hugo and Kristof have developed their own ways to enrich the soil, which doesn’t involve ploughing, but just a light spading to oxygenise the top soil. “Each layer of soil has its own specific properties and bacteria. Ploughing disturbs this delicate ecosystem. We are able to maintain the organic power of the soil, and allow it to breat”, explains Kristof, who regards Hugo as his mentor.
Time is precious
The biggest challenge in organic farming? To be able to adjust quickly to changing conditions. “Organic farming consists of interlinked crucial moments. The moments of sowing, cultivating the soil and harvest have a very short time span. Half a day too early or too late immediately influences the quality of the harvest. As such organic farming is the easiest form of agriculture, but simultaneously the most intensive one as well. Most of the time all goes well, but just as quickly things can go wrong. Time is very precious, which causes stress at times. In conventional farming you have more flexibility, since artificial methods are applied.” This combination of intense effort and time constraints are the reason organic grounds mostly are smaller in size.
Mutual respect
For forty years now, Hugo has been developing his own farming methods. And still he comes across new insights, as does Kristof: “That’s what keeps thing so interesting. Organic farming starts and ends with mutual respect between nature and farmer. It’s as if the two merge.” Cauliflower, spinach, carrots, leek, onion, celeriac, even basil and other herbs: it’s all been done. Purely the organic way. Each crop undergoes strict checks and is totally regulated. An organic label is by no means without obligations.
The future is organic
According to both Hugo and Kristof, organic agriculture is part of the past as well as our future. The demand for healthy food increases to such extent, conventional farming is forced to adjust. Hugo predicts two trends: organic farmers focussing on small scale activities and a short supply chain – farmers selling their products on local markets –, and farmers applying modern, larger scale techniques in an organic way. “The power of nature is impressive, but you have to give her a chance to demonstrate het strength. Luckily, society is becoming more aware, consumers and farmers alike.”
Quality & Sustainability
State-of-the-art instant freezing technology pauses the vegetables and fruits at the peak of perfection, preserving colour, texture, flavour and nutrients until consumers are ready to enjoy them.