Quality Produce for the Pittsburgh Area

"Normally I plant pumpkins by seed. But last spring the crows tore the field out, so I had to start them in the greenhouse and then into the field. I pushed them hard with the Growers and had the finest, biggest pumpkin crop ever and absolutely no problems. They were phenomenal!... "GMS and the Growers Program are true quality, and they work! That's the key."

Pete Beccari farms 100 acres near Oakdale, on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has about 5 to 7 acres of orchard and a variety of berries, about 35 acres of vegetables with the rest for rotations.  His farm is very hilly, so he farms contours to reduce erosion; forty feet of crops, forty feet of a rye/clover mix.  He likes the rye as it helps smother out weeds. 

Because of his hills and heavy clay soil, Pete uses a roll-over moldboard plow which he flips at the end of each row, always throwing the soil uphill.  Concerned about compaction, he also uses a subsoiler as needed.

Pete reminisced, "I'm third generation, my father used to farm here in the 20's and 30's.  He showed me places on the farm where they had lime kilns.  He would dig a pit, layer in wood, lime, coal, soak it all with coal oil, and light it.  It would burn for about a month, then he shoveled the mixture into a hammer mill, smashed it all apart and put it on the soil.  As the years progressed, Dad fell away from the lime kiln practice; the intensity of labor being prohibitive." 

Concerning limestone, Pete exclaimed, "High mag is everywhere, but high calcium limestone is hard to find."  Growers Sales Rep, Mac Carter, did some soil testing and discussed with Pete the amount and where to find the lime he needed.  Every year Pete limes a section of the farm with high calcium lime. 

Continuing, Pete said, "I started slowly on the Growers Program and Growers Mineral Solutions (GMS), but now I've completely gone away from granular fertilizer, even in the greenhouse and drip lines. 

"Anytime a sprayer moves (other than for herbicide), I put GMS in the tank; my orchard, anything that gets sprayed also gets GMS.

"Growers does make a difference.  The produce has higher sugar content and longer shelf life." 

"We've been noted for our high quality product which is what our farm market thrives on.  We are competing against Wal-Mart and the big groceries."  Pete sells his produce through his farm market, other farmers' markets and to a high end wholesaler supplying fashionable restaurants.  Pete says customers are willing to pay the price as long as they get quality, "If the produce is not top quality, it stays in the field.  And because Growers gets us more quality production, we have more produce and are able to donate more to charity."

Pete chuckled when asked why he started using Growers, "I will be honest.  One reason I switched was the handling of fertilizer bags.  Years ago working in a chemical plant, the dust I was inhaling was killing me.  My liver was toxic, so I have been concerned with my health since.

"I am much more at ease using Growers.  We tried dry products mixed with water and other foliar sprays, but we had to be very careful about burning.  Once you burn plants, it's hard for them to recover.  It sets everything back. 

"It always interested me that the Growers product was developed in a hydroponic environment.  Having two greenhouses, I know mistakes in a greenhouse can be fatal." 

In the greenhouses and under the plastic in the field, he injects GMS direct and doesn't mix it with water.  Pete said, "My hard water coagulates with the Growers.  Everyone has said to inject vinegar or acid, but I decided to inject Growers directly." 

Pete uses an injector to introduce GMS into his drip lines. 

" In a heat stress, I make the Growers available to the plants every second or third watering. I walk out, look at the field and get a sense if the plants are suffering or not.

"Normally I plant pumpkins by seed.  But last spring the crows tore the field out, so I had to start them in the greenhouse and then into the field.  I pushed them hard with the Growers and had the finest, biggest pumpkin crop ever and absolutely no problems.  They were phenomenal! 

"I put copper sulfate in our farm pond to control the algae, but once I put in too much and used the pond water to irrigate tomatoes which started to look like they had Atrazine burn.  This was when I first started using Growers, so I called Mac and Ted my Growers representatives.  Following their advise,  I nailed that tomato patch with a direct spray of Growers and water on the leaves every two days.  The root structure was burned and couldn't take up nutrients, but the leaves did, and the GMS nutrients pushed the roots past the burn.  GMS literally pulled the patch through.

"When I spray my orchard using Growers, I can actually back off on the insecticide, because for some reason, I get a much better action in the field. 

"Since I started using Growers in 1996, I have not had a field failure.  I am completely sold on the Growers product.  It's a  three tier program or package.  You have to have Growers, high calcium lime and the subsoiling all together. 

"At my first Growers meeting, Growers wasn't trying to sell their product.  They said to put the lime on first and then come back and talk to us.  I appreciated that.  I try to deal with honesty, and you guys deal with honesty. 

"The fewer chemicals I use is a bonus to me, my customers, and the land.  I am only a steward of the land.  God owns it.  He's letting me borrow it, and I have to take care of it.  The soil is a living thing.  It lives and it breathes and it is where your money is.  If you don't take care of your soil, it won't take care of you.  Look at the dust bowls and China's Gobi Desert. 

"GMS and the Growers Program are true quality, and they work!  That's the key." 
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