for Market in partnership
has created a library of expert
information about growing and selling vegetables and flowers. Links in
the article will take you to johnnyseeds.com.
Subscribe to Growing
for Market for more
great ideas about growing and marketing!
For more topics in
the series, click on Market Farming Basics in the left
Food safety and the heat
Pathogenic bacteria thrive
in warm temperatures, so pay particular attention to food safety when
harvesting, washing, packing, and storing produce in the summer. The
guiding principle in food safety should be to prevent pathogens from
getting onto your produce in the first place. A set of standards known
as Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) is designed to do just that.
help you identify potential sources of contamination such as irrigation
water, wash water, personal hygiene, packing shed cleanliness, harvest
tools and containers, and manure use. For the most part, GAPs are
common-sense rules of sanitation such as washing after using the
bathroom and using potable running water to wash vegetables. At this
time, GAPs are still completely voluntary. However, some wholesale
buyers are requiring growers to undergo a GAPs certification process to
ensure the rules are being followed. And many people assume that GAPs
will eventually become mandatory.
To learn more about GAPs and
how your farm measures up to food safety guidelines, see the self-audit
created by the University of California. http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/filelibrary/5453/4362.pdf
sooner you can remove field heat from your produce, the better. Produce
can be hydrocooled by submerging in cold water before packing it. Water
must be clean or you'll do more harm than good by spreading pathogens
throughout the harvested produce. Ideally, you also have a cooler where
you can store produce until you take it to market. Walk-in coolers can
be expensive to buy and maintain, though, and many small growers build
their own to save money. Cold temperatures are possible with a Cool-Bot,
, a device that allows a window air conditioner to cool down to 33°F without icing up.
Reprinted from JSS Advantage August 2010