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Knoll Acres is a small farm about 4 miles west of Harrisonburg, Virginia (USA). Establishing a small commercial, sustainable, organic blueberry operation is a major project goal during the next two years. This website describes various aspects of this project as well as notes our successes and failures in accomplishing our goal.
Our blueberry operation is certified organic by Global Organic Alliance (GOA). Actually we have a "split operation" that consists of organically certified plots and a smaller conventional plot (not organic). We are pleased with our relationship with GOA and are grateful to be a part of this organization that promotes organic production.
Information about GOA can be found here: GOA Online
The USDA website that describes the National Organic Program can be found here: USDA NOP:
If you are interested in what it means to say that a product is organically certified, read this information: Organic Labelling
Program Topics include...
Organic Blueberry Horticulture: Challenges and Choices
Nurturing a Healthy and Vibrant Soil for Organic Berry Production
Berry Plant Physiology: Foliar Analysis and Interpretation
Organic Certification: Transitioning from Conventional to Organic Production
Integrated Pest Management for Organic Berries
Growing a Nutrient-Dense Berry: Practical Considerations
Basics of Organic Blueberry/Brambleberry Production
Roundtable Discussion on Lessons Learned in Berry Production
Optional: Guided Field Visits to Regional Berry Producer Sites
Commercial and Educational Exhibits
Confirmed Resource Speakers include...
Registration opens February 1, 2013. Watch for further information on this website: EMU Organic Berry Conference
A major portion of our project is to create conditions for organic blueberries and to ensure their economic viability by using sustainable approaches. Sustainability involves among other things using resources that are readily available and creating conditions that maintain the vitality and productivity of the blueberries.
This project proposal further develops a model system of quantifying sustainable organic blueberry production as a specialty crop in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia by building on a prior project that focused on creating conditions for an organic blueberry operation at Knoll Acres. By integrating academic discovery through collaborative research experiences of faculty and undergraduate students from Eastern Mennonite University, this project seeks to document best organic agricultural practices that enhance sustainable profitable blueberry production. Optimal blueberry growth will be determined via foliar analyses of plant nutrients, plant vigor characteristics—growth measurements, photosynthesis and respiration, and ultimately through the quality and quantity of produced berries. Cost-benefit of organic versus conventional blueberry production on this small commercial scale will be assessed. An economically sustainable organic blueberry production model system will motivate area farmers, looking to diversity their current agricultural systems. Project participants will communicate the benefits and best practices of organic blueberry production to a larger audience through a website, varied publications, and presentations. Area farmers and horticulturalists will be informed and motivated via a planned March 2013 [now October 2013] regional mini-conference on “organic horticulture” hosted at the university and co-sponsored by area agricultural extension agents and Virginia Association for Biological Farming.