Smoot’s Ethics–Our Agricultural Culture

Founded on flavor. Focused on quality. Conscientious of our ecology.

Farming is a constant interplay of decision-making, risk-taking, and uncontrollable circumstances. Every day we make decisions about when to plant or harvest, when to intervene in environmental processes, and where to place our energy with the intent on it being worthwhile for the bottom line.

At times, it’s like a ritual. Effective farm planning can take the guess work out of when to seed, transplant or harvest. But there are so many decisions we have to make that are sprung on us.

In those moments, it really helps to have some pillars of ethics to guide those decisions and remind us what we’re trying to accomplish and where we hope to take the business.

At Smoot’s, our pillars are flavor, quality and ecology. And really, these build on themselves.

We believe in the power of a good meal. Good food can bring people together, inspire creativity, foster healthy habits, and nourish the soul. We think everyone is capable of creating good food and hope that our flavorful herbs can help catalyze home-cooking.

But good food starts with quality food. As a farmer, my focus is always on growing the highest quality herbs and produce. There’s no “dressing up mutton as lamb” with herbs. Likewise, there’s no cutting corners on flavor, aroma and visual appeal.

So how do we achieve this? We think, just like people, healthy plants grow in healthy environments. Our farm’s ecology is central to every decision we make. The ecology below ground, above ground and all around us.

We practice no-till production–no plows, no chisels, no roto-tillers–just compost, LOTS of compost. Soil structure is fundamental to soil health and tillage breaks up that structural habitat for soil microorganisms.

We plant a diverse array of crops. You might already know that crop rotations are important for preventing the build-up of plant diseases and pest populations. We grow over 40 varieties of herbs, with which we create a diverse mosaic of species on our farm.

We plant pollinator and beneficial insect habitat, in addition to the habitat and forage that herbs provide. Insect pests are inevitable, especially in a highly managed farming environment. But insects are the largest and most diverse group of organisms on Earth, which means they’re not all pests. We monitor our insect populations and are cataloging the species we see on our farm. And by planting habitat for beneficial insects, we can help mitigate some of the issues that pesky pests can cause.

We are conscious of our resource consumption. Farming takes resources–water, fertilizers, seeds, care. We strive to minimize our resource consumption without sacrificing quality. While herbs are naturally minimal consumers of water and fertilizers–stress actually improves their flavor–we take care to buy our inputs with minimal amounts of waste, especially when it comes to packaging and shipping.

Ecology includes humans too. We are conscientious of the human ecology of which our farm is a part. Our community keeps our business operating, so we try to pay it forward. Whenever possible we buy our inputs locally. We participate in research and educational projects. And we bring our surplus production–all our leftovers after market–to food pantries in Whitman County.

We think this ecology feeds back into the fundamental quality and flavor of our produce. But ultimately, we hope it contributes to the value our customers see in our produce.

Have any questions about how we operate? Just ask us!

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