By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator
Sometimes, even the crops grown in the nourished soil of a Certified Naturally Grown farm need a boost.
Pacific Gro produces liquid fertilizer from fish, shrimp, and crab caught in, of course, the Pacific Ocean. Their bio-active fertilizer uses shrimp and crab shell in the fertilizer to increase yields. Plus, these shells are micronized in a liquid that will not clog fertigation emitters - an innovation unique to Pacific Gro.
We spoke with marketing director Warren Shoemaker to learn how the addition of shells can support soil health along with whole-farm health. Welcome to the CNG Business Allies community, Pacific Gro!
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Certified Naturally Grown (CNG): How did Pacific Gro get started?
Warren Shoemaker (WS): Pacific Gro began making cold-processed fish hydrolysate in 2004 using the scrap from the processors of salmon on the Washington coast. In 2013, founder Jim Brackins began using shell scrap from the crab and shrimp processors because this resource is so plentiful in season, and has no other use. As farmers began using it, we learned that the shell material provides special benefits beyond the organic nitrogen that fish has been known for.
CNG: What are Pacific Gro's core values?
WS: We are committed to being an important supplier to farmers who transition to inputs that benefit soil health. We believe that organic practices are a vital solution to human health problems, as well as climate change. By working with innovative agronomists and organic crop consultants, we’re helping to build a network that can transition agriculture to ecological practices.
CNG: How did you make the decision to support CNG as a Business Ally?
WS: CNG’s farmers demonstrate what’s possible without toxic inputs. Many of our customers grow exceptional quality fruit, measured by high brix and beautifully large produce. Leading-edge growers achieve this by understanding the role of all nutrients.
CNG: What are some exciting developments at Pacific Gro our CNG community can look forward to in the future?
WS: We have a number of field trials in progress this year, and now have an agronomist who’s supporting a lot of large farms. Just recently we demonstrated remarkable success on organic strawberries in California. This follows what we’ve done in blueberries and cane berries, as well as tree fruit. The key is our plant-available calcium that is derived from shell and chelated with amino acids. Chitin from shell and high fish oil content support diverse soil life. And we’ll soon introduce a fish hydrolysate with phosphorous.
WS: Farmers should stop using glyphosate and fungicides right away, and adopt practices to maintain balanced nutrition of crops.