Who doesn't love picking fresh tomatoes off the vine, and eating them right then and there?
This is one of the many perks of organic farming.
We avoid chemical sprays, not only because we worry about its affects on our health, but also because we believe in a low carbon footprint (why import in chemicals we don't need?) and responsible farming (how will these sprays affect the larger ecosystem around us?). Many pesticides are non specific, so spraying for pickleworms on cucumbers, for example, also kills butterflies and other beneficial insects in the area.
But how do you get rid of pests?
Much of our farming relies on soil microbes, pollinators and the surrounding wildlife. Using pesticides, herbicides or fungicides on our plants or soil would quickly change the natural balance. We even avoid using imported bacterial cultures on our soil because without knowing their long term affects, we don't want to tinker with the region's soil microorganisms. This means we rely heavily on composting, mulching, hand-picking weeds and hand-picking pests. This may sound crazy, but the hand-picking is an important meditative gesture that gives us time to observe patterns in our plants.
With patience, we begin to see natural predators taking care of pests. The tiny frogs in our mulch, eating the white flies. The ladybugs taking care of aphids. And, oh how beautiful it is to be around all this life!