Canam Fresh’s lead agronomist talks about our farming approach
Meet Marco Gomez, known as McCoy. As our lead agronomist in Culiacan, Sinaloa, he takes responsibility for all aspects of crop production, from selecting seeds and soil building, to harvesting. In this interview, McCoy explains some of the practices and thinking that set Canam Fresh apart.
Agronomist Marco Gomez, who we call McCoy, took time out of his very busy day to meet with us on a recent visit to a Canam Fresh farm in Culiacan, Sinaloa.
As a lead agronomist, McCoy takes responsibility for every aspect of our field-crop production, including soil and land management, water resources, entomology, and much more. We took the opportunity to ask McCoy a few quick questions about some of the practices that set Canam Fresh farms apart.
As a Canam Fresh lead agronomist, you have a hands-on understanding of our operations. What sorts of produce items do you farm here in Culiacan?
McCoy: Historically we farmed tomatoes and a variety of other produce items here on these farms. These days though, we farm mostly pickling cucumbers, which flourish here. In the right hands, the climate and conditions make for ideal cucumber production.
What does Canam Fresh do to help make our production so successful?
With regards to conventional growing, our goals are to always take care of the land. That’s where it all starts. The most critical part of farming starts with the soil, so land is everything for farming. Plants need to be happy and we use quite a few ingredients to make this happen, starting with land practices.
Land practices, such as?
Using organic compost, for one. We also use worm compost. We purchase over four tons every year per hectare and use it across the four regions in which we farm. We feed and replenish the soil with micro-organisms and spread minerals. These micro-organisms and our drip irrigation methods make sure the land and soil stays healthy so the plants are happier and provide better yields. The quality of our produce improves over time, as we stay on top of the land and soil to ensure it has the nutrients it needs to flourish.
Happy plants? How do you manage that?
Well, we do all kinds of things, starting with a largely organic approach to farming. In fact, 85 percent of our farms could be considered organic as we don’t use any of the approved USDA and FDA pesticides. Or put another way, we use mostly organic farming fertilizers and only spray approved and safe pesticides as a last resort. Day to day, we use natural repellents against pests, like cinnamon, chili pepper, and certain herbs. These natural approaches help us control any pests that might attack the crops.
You mentioned worm compost. That makes plants happy, too?
Absolutely. We mix and create a compost tea from worm casings and feed it into our plants through our drip irrigation systems. This makes the plants less stressed and much stronger. We also add microorganisms through our drip irrigation system and spraying. These microorganisms help keep the plants happy and healthy. We use unconventional farming practices, like adding natural minerals to our soils and plants, and even fungi.
Sounds like rich soil for plants…
The richest. In fact, soil building practices are a vital part of what we do at Canam Fresh. We incorporate organic matter and reincorporate what we grow that doesn’t make the grading station back into the soils when we can. We plant seeds by hand, not machine. We use mulch plastic and recyclable plastic drip tape.
And we use techniques such as mixing wood, leaves, cow manure, and worm casings to create a molasses type pudding that we add into the soil. The worms at the worm farms end up secreting from what they do and within a few weeks we have a pasteurized cooked compost that we then use in our soils.
Contact Canam Fresh to learn more about our unique farming approach