18 Nov Cherry Lake CARES
IMG Enterprise’s Cherry Lake Tree Farm was recognized by the Florida Farm Bureau with a CARES Award for adopting farming methods that combine strong economic problem solving with environmental safeguarding to leave the earth a little greener – in more ways than one!
The CARES Award was created in 2001 as a way of rewarding environmentally sustainable farms and setting them apart as role models for others in the agricultural industry. CARES Award recipients are honored for voluntarily adopting “Best Management Practices,” or BMPs, which are created by the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services to guide farms in making environmentally conscious and economically viable choices.
After their citrus groves were devastated by unforeseen freezes in 1983 and 1985, Veronique and Michel Sallin, founders of IMG Enterprises, relocated their citrus operation to balmier climes, replanted their fields in Groveland with a hardier crop – containerized ornamental trees, and renamed the land Cherry Lake Tree Farm.
From the very beginning, Michel and Veronique committed themselves to seeking out ways to “beautify the environment to generations to come.” This statement has become a core part of Cherry Lake’s ethos and influences methods used throughout their daily operations from responsible water use to clean pest control.
Cherry Lake’s continued dedication to the methods and spirit of environmental preservation is evidenced by a 15% reduction in water consumption in the last 5 years – even with operations growing by 15% over the same period. Instead of becoming complacent in the wake of this incredible achievement, Cherry Lake continues to search for more efficient ways to use water. One innovative technique tracks meteorological data and triggers irrigation systems to complement local weather systems in real time.
Cherry Lake Tree Farm’s implementation of Best Management Practices has led them to reconsider the industry standard of using chemical agents as a means of pest control. Instead, Cherry Lake is leading the way in the use of other ways to keep pests at bay, including biological controls, replacing chemical pesticides with low impact treatments such as soaps and oils, and the introduction of beneficial insects.
From the beginning, Cherry Lake Tree Farm has been faithful in caring for the land. Austin Spivey, Production Manager at Cherry Lake, says that the Best Management Practices have impacted daily operations at the farm in a meaningful way, “From the CEO all the way down to the field staff, everyone is actively engaged in a focus of beauty and cleanliness for our environment and future generations.”
Cherry Lake Tree Farm is a universally recognized industry leader. At its core, however, it remains a family business. As President Timothee Sallin says,