While on our search to provide access to delicious local produce, from farms utilizing the best farming practices we can find, we came across Reyes farms which is family owned and operated by Ignacio Ruiz Reyes and Mimi Bizjak. They grow an extremely diverse amount of tender fruits in the Niagara region, including but not limited to peaches, cherries, strawberries and plums.
While Mimi & Ignacio have managed to grow strawberries organically, other disease pressures and the climate in Niagara make growing tender fruit organically a challenge. At Reyes Farms their main goal is to use biological controls to help suppress pest population to a manageable level. Their Integrative Pest Management programs focus more on prevention of outbreaks of insects and disease rather than reactionary, they avoid the use of pesticides that are toxic to beneficial insects, and they encourage a diverse habitat around the perimeter of the field and between rows.
Mimi & Ignacio have diversified the orchard so it’s manageable, lavender is planted between the rows of peach and cherry trees to encourage beneficial insects such as bees, and they start every year by looking at the microbial health of their soil, because nutrient rich soil and healthy leaves create healthy fruit which is the best defense against pests and disease.They don’t adhere to a strict spray schedule but spray on a needs basis looking at the major threats to the orchard. If pests and disease cannot be controlled by using natural, or organic products, they consciously choose the least harmful options available on the market.