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Food Safety

ADMINISTRATION

  • Record keeping of our farm activities are maintained.
  • Management verifies that our standard operating procedures are being adhered to.
  • Customer complaints food safety and quality, our responses, and end results are recorded and kept on file.
  • Recall plan: We do not currently have a recall plan.  We do not intend to sell our produce outside of our own CSA and restaurant.

WORKER HYGIENE

Our workers are require to:

  • Complete worker hygiene and food safety training prior to handling food during any of our processes.
  • Annual training and upkeep in hygiene and food safety training.
  • Wash hands before working.
  • Wash hands after every break.
  • Double wash hands after restroom break. (Once in the restroom, and then when they return to their work station.)
  • Wash hands each time they switch crops during harvest.
  • Wear a hair net in the washing and packaging stations.
  • Wear food-grade gloves in the washing and packaging stations.
  • No jewelry allowed in the washing and packaging stations.
  • No fingernail polish or embellishments allowed in the washing and packaging stations.

GARDEN BEDS SET UP & MAINTENANCE

  • Our garden beds are composted with finished compost prior to planting.
  • Amendments are initially added prior to planting.
  • Manure may be added to the garden beds but at least 120 days before planting.
  • Compost is added as need throughout the growing season.  We may add finished compost that consists of worm castings, rabbit bedding, chicken bedding, straw, leaves, vegetable scraps and other natural components.  Finished compost looks like soil and has an earthy smell to it.  We do not add unfinished compost for maintaining a garden bed unless the bed will not be planted before the compost is finished.

GROWING

Growing Methods:

Our crops are documented by property, then by field, and growing methods used.  We use:

  • Field grown (flowers and edibles)
  • Greenhouse grown (flowers and edibles)
  • Containers
  • Raised beds
  • Aquaponics (flowers)

Pesticides:

We do not use pesticides.  If plants need to be treated, we use an edible topical spray that consists of common ingredients.

See Pest Control for more details.

HARVESTING

Grading:

  • Market Garden Quality: No bruises, free of  imperfections or slight natural imperfections.
  • Jams, Jellies & Baked Goods:  Imperfections preventing them from being graded excellent can be removed and the remainder of the produce can be used in the commercial kitchen.
  • Compost:  Severely bruised, evidence of animal, bird or insect damage or spoilage.

Field Washing:

  • Produce, other than beans and berries, are field washed in appropriate containers.  This is to remove soil and debris.  The produce is taken to packaging area where it is sorted, cleaned, weighed and packaged.
  • The harvest bins are sanitized before returning to the fields.

Tools & Harvesting Aids:

  • All tools, knives, aprons and other harvesting aids are washed, rinsed and sanitized at the start of the work day and throughout the day as needed.
  • Food-grade gloves are used to harvest produce that is not washed, such as berries, green beans and waxed beans.  These products are packaged and labeled that they need to be washed prior to use.

Color Code System:

  • Green containers are for produce.
  • Blue containers are for water used for washing produce.
  • Orange buckets are for sanitizing tools.
  • White buckets are for miscellaneous cleaning.

PACKAGING

  • Our washing station and packing area is done in a screened enclosure in order to prevent insects, rodents, birds and other animals from entering the processing area.
  • The packaging area is treated like a commercial kitchen and undergoes regular inspections.
    • It has a hand washing sink that is separate from the produce sink.
    • Lights are screened.
    • Surfaces are washable.
    • Back flow device is added to the water source.
  • Daily inspections are conducted to find and correct access by insects, rodents, birds and other animals.
  • Produce brushes are inspected and cleaned daily.
  • Only food grade lubricants and oils are used on equipment.
  • Work stations are sanitized prior to washing and packaging food and throughout the work day.
  • Single use bags and containers are used to package produce.
  • Laundry baskets are used to create produce containers to hold the various produce packages.  The basket are sanitized prior to using.

HOLDING

Depending on the type of produce, we use the following holding procedures.

DELIVERY

Our produce is picked up by consumers from either our Knoxville location (Secret Haven) or our Clinton location (Our Little Homestead).  It is not transported via any third party carrier.

If we supplement crops from other farmers, we will keep records of the crops, the farm, and their growing, harvest and delivery processes will be evaluated.  We will only accept produce from farms that meet or exceed food safety standards.

WATER

Agriculture Water

We use rain water to water our crops, that are in the fields.   Filtered municipal water is used in nursery and for watering sprouts.

Produce Washing

Filtered municipal water is used to wash produce.

Tools Washing

Our tools are dipped in a solution of tea tree oil and water before each crop is cultivated or harvested.

Harvest Bins

Our harvest bins are sanitized with iodine and water before each crop is harvested, and at the end of the day.

Hand Washing Stations

Our garden fields have portable hand washing stations using municipal water source.  They are equipped with single use paper towels, Dawn dish soap and an antibacterial sanitizer dispenser.