With Autumn waiting at the door (sorry, but it’s true) we are able to launch a new seasonal product. Our limited honey soy sauce. Made with locally harvested honey. Why this product? Well, next to being our brewer, Piet is also a beekeeper. Together with his brothers and sister he looks after almost a half a million bees. Quite a busy bee you might say. And it made perfectly sense to position their hives on and surrounding our farm. Resulting in a locally harvested honey. And honey might be the best expression of local flavor you can find. Sounds a bit dramatic maybe, but that’s what google told us. So, it’s true.
This product has two sides to it. First of all, we genuinely love the combination of sweet and salt. That’s an obvious one for us. Secondly we believe that flavor excels where diversity flourishes. It’s not just bees, it’s the sum of all biodiversity, above and below the soil. The upside of the biodiversity above soil is that you can actually see it. Hence the reason why we plant flower field margins and biodiversity lanes. They contribute to natural pest control and increase pollination by bees, spiders, beetles, hoverflies, wasps, and lacewings. As a result, we see more pods per plant and beans per pod. And on top of that we don’t have to use any insecticides anymore.
Let’s use the launch of this product as an alibi to share a bit more about our farming principles. As these biodiversity lanes are just one of a variety of farm practices we implement on our farm. As stated earlier, our farming principles are based on an ever-evolving body of work. To caption it, we need to refer to the term ‘regenerative organic agriculture. A set of farming practices that works with nature rather than against it. Unlike regular ‘organic’ farming where the objective is to do less harm, our goal is to restore and enhance the natural capacity of our soils. This requires a more holistic mindset and a hyper local approach. It’s not suitable (yet) for convenient checklists, audits and certification. Meaning that we need to ensure our customers that they can rely on our own moral compass.
To make it a bit more practical. There are approximately 20 core practices of regenerative agriculture. We’ve now either implemented or started experimenting with 19 of these principles. Maybe the most significant one is the fact that we have a strict shallow tillage and no-till policy. As a result, biological life in the soil is minimally disrupted. Root and worm channels are maintained, and more carbon remains captured underground. Next to our soy brewery we also have a brewery on the farm. Sound a bit odd maybe, but that brewery helps us to test, develop and brew our own recipes of biofertilizers and inoculants. The biodiversity lanes as described above a part of our lane farming. We use a system of 6 strips (or lanes) with six different species. This makes the agricultural system more resilient to diseases, pests and weather conditions. And after the harvest we immediately sow in our cover crops to avoid bare soil. This all comes back to one major belief. The higher the diversity, the stronger our agricultural system.
We can talk hours and share hundreds of stories… But all the above is hard to put into a bottle. Luckily, we have honey. We hope the flavor of this seasonal product represents the upsides we experience on our farm by investing in biodiversity.