The farm at Hilltop Gardens is 720 acres dedicated to the testing and development of agricultural practices used by our company farms worldwide. To further the company’s goal of sustainable, safe agriculture and proper stewardship of the land the entire farm is certified by the National Organic Program (NOP) and by Global Gap (Good Agricultural Practices). A program of soil building with cover crops, crop rotation and organic fertilizers nourish and rebuild the fields in preparation for a wide variety of seasonal production crops.
What is sustainable agriculture?
Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. Sustainability can be understood as an ecosystem approach to agriculture. To achieve sustainability Hilltop Gardens uses organic and GAP principles, irrigation minimization practices, soil building and erosion control practices, locally made organics and provides jobs for the local community.
Hilltop Gardens farm was first planted with aloe in 1939 and is one of the first commercial Aloe farms in the country. It is the historical home of aloe. In 2011 the farm operation at Hilltop Gardens was certified organic by the USDA and was also certified for Global GAP (Good Agricultural Practices). It will serve the Econet, our parent company, by developing procedures for growing organic ingredients, all for the myriad of nutraceutical products which they sell worldwide. Aloe vera, the primary crop, will continue to be the hallmark of our experimental farm. As the crop list expands into vegetables, herbs and other less traditional crops, the farm crew is at the forefront of farming technologies that will be utilized by our other farms in Mexico, China and Russia. Sustainable farming and gardening processes bring to the forefront our corporate philosophy “to bring the best of nature to humankind”.
An organic system relies on ecologically based practices, such as biological pest management and composting, and the exclusion of synthetic chemicals. The fundamental components and natural processes of ecosystems such as a soil organism activities, nutrient cycling, and species distribution and competition -- are used as farm management tool. For example, crops are rotated, and crop residues are cycled, and planting/harvesting dates are carefully timed.
Hilltop Gardens carefully adapted and applied organic procedures for three years and is now certified by NOP (National Organic Program) in December 2011. Hilltop Gardens is also certified by GLOBALG.A.P. which prevents or minimizes harmful factors for the safety of agricultural products.
Therefor, the customer can be convinced that all farming activities and production processes are in line with the rules and regulations for safe production of food.
Because of location in the Rio Grande valley of Texas, farming at Hilltop Gardens is a year round operation. Our crops change with the season and are rotated in accordance with organic practices. Along with our main crop of Aloe vera we grow vegetables and herbs, feed and cereal grains, and hay on both irrigated and dry land fields. True to our company's mission to "bring the best of nature to humankind" Hilltop Gardens farm grows premium quality organic crops on healthy, balanced fields.