AGRICULTURAL ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP AWARD RECIPIENT
Adam H. Putnam, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, personally selected Cherrylake for our commitment to sustainable agriculture, which affects every aspect of our farm’s operation, as seen through our innovations in water usage, pest control, and fertilizer management.
Austin Spivey, our Production Manager, summarized our passion for sustainability,
“To me, good stewardship is the care and protection of our natural resources. And here at Cherrylake we take that very seriously. Every process that we engage, the heavy component that we weigh in is how is this going to affect the environment? What we’re doing here is much bigger than just the now; this is about generations to come. And that’s why we choose to engage in best management practices that aren’t always the easiest thing to do; but they’re the right thing to do.”.
Sustainable Irrigation Practices
Over the last 15 years, we have reduced our water usage by 15%, even with a 15% increase in production over the same time. This feat was achieved through a combination of forward-thinking practices, techniques, and equipment. Plant material with similar irrigation needs is grouped together in the fields to help eliminate water waste. Soil moisture probes monitor the evaporation of moisture from the soil, allowing our teams to calibrate irrigation to meet the plant’s needs while accounting for seasonal changes and weather conditions.
When fertilizing our crops, we employ the fertilizers that have proven most effective for each individual plant variety. By tailoring fertilization to each crop, we are able to ensure that the tree is receiving the nutrients it needs to thrive without introducing any excess that will be washed away as runoff. Production teams continuously monitor the soil and the trees themselves to assure maximum nutrient absorption.
Responsible Pest Management
To avoid the use of harsh chemicals, our production teams increase the tree’s natural immunities with nutritional supplements. When stronger preventative measures are called for, soaps, oils, and other natural pest deterrents replace chemical pesticides whenever possible. In addition, Cherrylake continually monitors the weather to determine the ideal implementation of all of its pest deterrent practices, reducing the risk of runoff.