Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 2012 : Broccoli

Here is a photo of Nathaniel posing with his broccoli.  For some unexplainable reason, he loves fresh cabbage.  I lured him into the garden by promising he could help me transplant the cabbage.  And we did, but I never mentioned when we finished transplanting the cabbage and started the broccoli.  Surprisingly he injured none of the plants.  His sister, though, was busy trying to eat the leaves.

Here is another photo of the broccoli, nighttime with the dew glistening in the flash photo.

April was a busy month as usual.  In addition to the usual pre-season tasks, greenhouse tasks, and field tasks, we participated in a Good Agricultural Practices training seminar.  This seminar focuses on food safety and covers the time period from field preparation through the point of sale.  That is a long period of time and there are many threats along the way!

All topics were interesting but one topic was almost startling.  How many people reuse containers?  Vendors reuse containers while measuring pints and quarts.  Customers reuse shopping bags to carry produce from market to home.  Both practices are intended to be environment friendly but violate good agricultural practices!

Reusing containers and bags increases the likelihood of surface contamination.  For example, produce such as berries or tomatoes can easily be damaged thus contaminating container surfaces.  Bacteria has a place to grow during the week between markets.

Reusing containers and bags also complicates tracing product's history.  Another example, when a bag is the source of contamination, did it get contaminated at today's market?  Or was it contaminated weeks ago at the grocery store when it was set on the parking lot ground while searching for the car keys?

Ultimately food safety is everyone's responsbility.  The GAP training identified several similar scenarios as well as practices and techniques to minimize the risk.

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