Natural Resources

Natural Resources

Since 1924, Ocean Mist Farms has been committed to preserving and enhancing not only the land on which we farm, but also our surrounding ecosystems. We hope to foster environmental stewardship in our local, regional and global communities at large to protect today's natural resources for a better tomorrow.

Water Recyclability & Groundwater Conservation

The proximity of Ocean Mist Farms ranches to California's Monterey Bay makes water conservation an even more critical component of our field management practices. Sea water intrusion is minimized through the most efficient use of water resources, making Ocean Mist Farms an industry leader in water conservation.

Since 1998, Ocean Mist Farms has used recycled water from Monterey County Water Resource Agency, an agency encompassing the Salinas Valley Reclamation Plant and the Castroville Seawater Intrusion Project (CSIP).

Minimizing saltwater intrusion while still maintaining a reliable water source are important enough to Ocean Mist Farms that the company pays three times the price of well water for recycled water. Today, we use approximately two billion gallons of recycled water per year in our farming operations. This accounts for about 30 percent of the total water used by Ocean Mist Farms in the Castroville and Salinas Valley growing regions.

Year Round Water Conservation Practices:

  • An estimated 12,000 acre feet of water is generated per year by the recycling projects, of which 9,000 acre feet is used by Ocean Mist Farms. By tapping recycled water instead of well water, Ocean Mist Farms has helped decrease the pressure on seawater intrusion.
  • We use drip irrigation and soil moisture sensors to optimally target both water and nutrient delivery only where needed. 90% of company operations use drip irrigation, which minimizes water runoff, evaporation, and drift.
  • Vegetated waterways control sediments and improve water quality.
  • Cultivating seed varieties that require less water.

new plant growing from some soil being held in a person's hands

Soil Health & Fertility

Soil health is the backbone of agriculture. At Ocean Mist Farms, we maintain optimal soil health and fertility by sustainably tilling our land, which promotes improved water absorption and drainage. As the tilled organic matter breaks down, it provides valuable nutrients that support a healthy microflora for the next crop to reduce the need for added fertilizers.

  • By maintaining organic matter and managing soil pH, natural defenses in the soil are strengthened, making the soil less reliant on chemicals to fight diseases and pest pressures.
  • We plant cover crops whenever practical to protect and enhance the quality of our soil.
  • A robust crop rotation program helps us maintain optimal soil health.
  • Before planting, each site is also evaluated for water and soil to match the appropriate crop with the natural elements.
  • Careful management of irrigation activities prevents nutrient runoff and keeps them only where needed.
  • Larger GPS-enabled farm implements minimize passes through the field which reduces compaction and helps maintain soil integrity.

Integrated Pest Management

Ocean Mist Farms' integrated pest management (IPM) maximizes crop quality while maintaining a natural balance in the environment.

  • We employ a diverse crop rotation strategy that aids in pest prevention by maintaining optimal soil health which results in less disease and fewer chemicals.
  • Healthy soil means less disease and fewer chemicals. Whenever possible, we employ biological controls such as lady bugs for aphid control and plant wildflower mixes that attract beneficial insects to our crops.

photo of some wetlands

Habitat Conservation: The Elkhorn Slough Restoration Project

The purpose of this multifaceted project is to restore wetlands and improve water quality entering the Monterey Bay. A strong collaboration is essential between researchers and growers for land acquisition and subsequent cooperation in management practices. Current data indicates remarkable reduction in nitrate levels and other pollutants from runoff water.

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