Bartletts farm
Nantucket History & People

Transitioning to Organic

Over the last fifteen years, 6th generation farmer/owner, Dave Bartlett, has been transitioning every aspect of Bartlett’s Farm’s field-grown produce to Certified Organic. I t has been a long and arduous process, with endless lists of requirements, years of transitioning the fields away from conventional approaches, buffer zones, long inspections, and a mountain of paper work.

Bartlett’s journey of becoming fully certified organic still has a ways to go, but completion is finally in sight. Currently, the vast majority of Bartlett’s field production is already Certified Organic; some is in the transitioning process; and a small percentage still requires conventional methods. One of the last crops to complete the process and become certified organic is our sweet corn.

The organic crops of corn start in the greenhouse: cornstalks were germinated in the greenhouse and transplanted into the field after a few weeks. This is a process Bartlett’s does with most crops, but has not done with corn since at least 2002. The corn was transplanted on black plastic and drip tape, a similar process as Bartlett’s field tomatoes and lettuce: black plastic helps with weed control, and drip irrigation injects the exact amount of water and nutrients explicitly where needed. This process gives the farmers more control over the plant’s environment, increasing viability: the goal of any good agricultural operation.

Transitioning a fan favorite to certified organic is still a very a daunting task as ditching conventional methods can initially cause serious headaches with pest management and plant fertility. Dave tells us the crop’s vigor, fertility, and yields could not be stronger; a welcome sign of what is in store for the near future.

Dave says the goal is to push all farm grown corn to certified organic and to move as close to 100% certified organic production as our island environment will allow. It will be at least three more years before this process can be completed. It has been a long and painstaking process, but one well worth the effort.

Bartlett’s Farm is Nantucket Island’s oldest and largest family-owned farm. Known especially for farm-grown corn and tomatoes, Bartlett’s Farm is a multifaceted family operation with more than 100 acres of open fields for growing produce and flowers, and in the last 10 years has transitioned more than 30 acres to Certified Organic. Their Garden Center is a must visit, with everything you need create and maintain your garden.

Inside the Market, Bartlett’s Farm kitchen offers prepared foods to take to the beach, home to the family, or to enjoy at their outdoor picnic area. In the morning, savor take-out breakfast sandwiches, muffins and pastries, coffee, tea. For lunch, you can order sandwiches, lobster rolls, clam chowder, and salads. Nightly dinner specials add to those items: roasted chicken dinner, vegetable curry, and prime rib dinner, depending on the night and the season.

Bartlett’s has a fully stocked grocery store with specialty pastas, snacks, olive oils, organic snacks, quality meats, artisanal cheeses, and dairy, along with a carefully curated selection of sustainable and organic wines, craft beers, and ciders.

Articles by Date from 2012