From field to fridge
When we first set out to start farming, I was keen on getting very savvy on food safety. In my quest to get educated on this topic I have participated in certification courses in GAP (Good Agriculture Practices) and Food Safety Training, attended countless webinars, and read a plethora of documents provided by organizations that support new and beginning farmers like us. Essentially I learned that much of the methods of food safety, at least on a small scale, involve common-sense methods. Coming from a background in veterinary medicine, I realized recently that much of my knowledge from that world carries over well into this one. The application of debriding, cleansing, correcting, intervening, supporting, sterilizing, and so forth is all used regularly to keep a tidy, healthy, and vibrant farm thriving.
- We know the origin of everything that we put into our soil. Everything is either made by us or is an OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) amendment in which all ingredients we understand and recognize.
- We grow all of our plants from reputable seed suppliers and soil producers, limiting the potential for soil-borne disease contamination.
- We limit the amount of animal-derived inputs to only what is necessary for soil and crop health, and we ensure that all manures are purchased seasoned, from a reputable supplier, and applied well ahead of planting.
Tools and equipment
- All tools and equipment that come into contact with the plants and fruits are washed and sanitized before and after each use.
- Harvest baskets are washed and sanitized before each use.
- Harvest baskets are designated as “harvested” or “washed” and used accordingly.
Harvesting and washing
- Prior to harvesting, washing, or packing any of our crops we “scrub up” and make sure we ourselves are starting with clean hands.
- Each crop is harvested in its own designated basket, with no crops intersecting one another.
- Crops are washed, dried, and packed individually.
- Each time a new crop is introduced to the Bubbler (an awesome tool for gently removing soil and insects from greens) it is cleaned, sanitized, and filled with fresh water.
- We read all applicable water reports and know exactly what we’re washing with.
Packing and storing
- Each crop is bagged or packaged separately.
- The harvest is kept refrigerated (if applicable - some foods quickly wilt in cold storage) until pick up or delivery.
- We generally aim to harvest no more than 48 hours in advance of pick up or delivery unless required by a particular crop that would otherwise go to waste. (E.g. - some root crops will split if left unharvested for too long, squash will overgrow quickly, cucumber will turn bitter, etc.)
We’re also on the consumer side of the farming relationship and always find it comforting to learn more about the hands that plant, pick, and pack our food. When there’s so much uncertainty about health and safety out there in the wild world of commercialized everything, I personally feel very blessed to know a there are neighbors growing food on my behalf. I hope that sharing this information with you brings you comfort too. The food we bring to you is exactly how we want it for ourselves - intentionally grown and very much cared for.