Posts filed under ‘Fruit and Vegetable Production’

Vegetable and Fruit Safety Course Offered April 20, 2009 at OARDC

Recent outbreaks of E. coli O157 and Salmonella in fresh produce, coupled with heightened media coverage of such events, have thrust fruit and vegetable safety into the forefront of public attention. Growers producing fruit and vegetables for direct-to-sale farm markets or for sale through a third-party are facing scrutiny and a greater need to implement on-farm food safety assurance practices.

To that end the OSU Vegetable and Fruit Food Safety team is offering a one-day course on good agricultural practices.  The course is directed for growers selling fresh vegetables/fruit direct to consumers or through a third-party and will focus on several areas of food safety for fresh fruits and vegetables with many key topics to be covered, including:  Good Agricultural Practices, Understanding/Reducing Risks of Microbial Contamination During Production,  Pre Harvest Food Safety Issues, Post Harvest Food Safety Issues, Packing House Sanitation, Water Sanitation, Third Party Certification Overview, and an On-site Mock Audit.

Printed and/or electronic resource materials will be provided to each participant. Participants will also have the opportunity to interact with numerous instructors from the OSU Vegetable and Fruit Food Safety team throughout the training.  Teaching and resource personnel include: Dr. Douglas Doohan, Dr. Jeffrey LeJeune, Mr. Mark Koenig, Mr. Harold Kneen, Mr. Andy Kleinschmidt and Mr. Terry Kline.

A registration fee of $50 per participant includes the one-day training, all resource materials, refreshments and lunch. In order to keep the learning environment engaging, registration will be limited to 50.  Download the registration brochure below.  Registration questions:  Tim Koch,, 330-466-4895; general course questions: Andy Kleinschmidt,, 419-516-4829.

What: Food Safety for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Course

When: April 20th, 2009, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Fisher Auditorium, OARDC Campus, Wooster, OH (

Who: Growers raising fresh fruits and/or vegetables for direct sale

Fee: $50 per participant

RSVP: registration and payment must be received by April 13.

Registration brochure here


March 23, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Community Supported Agriculture

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting on Community Supported Agriculture. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is definitely growing across the country. News stories and features on cable television have given CSAs wide exposure. Since CSAs were first established in the United States in the mid-80s they have continued to grow. Renewed consumer interest in where our food comes from, how it is grown and handled, as well as the desire to support local producers has really put CSAs in the spotlight.

Community Supported Agriculture is a direct farm-to-consumer arrangement between producers and those who are willing to purchase direct from a grower. For the consumer, it is an opportunity to be a part of what you eat and how it’s grown. For the producer, a CSA provides a known customer base with guaranteed revenue.

CSAs are unlike farmer’s markets in that a person must join the CSA. Families and individuals who join receive a share of produce every week during the growing season. CSAs typically require an up-front payment to cover the grower’s expenses. Those who join a CSA a called members, and members may purchase a “share” or sometimes a “half-share” of the season’s harvest.

For the Midwest, the typical season would begin in June/July and end in September/October. Depending on the CSA and the weather conditions for that year, the typical Midwest CSA would run 18-20 weeks. During this time, all members will receive a box of the current week’s harvest. Items will depend on the month and CSA but can include: green peas, beets, green onions, carrots, lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, melons, green beans, cucumbers, white onions, herbs, eggplant, and potatoes.

Shares range in price depending on the CSA and the locality, but generally from what I have seen a full share can range in cost from $300 to $700 for the season. A full share may give you around 8-12 items during the summer months and should be ample for a family of four, or two adults who cook at home regularly and eat a lot of vegetables. Some CSAs offer organic produce, and may charge more than CSAs that do not offer organic choices.

I do not know of any active CSAs in the community right now; however, I know of two individuals who have expressed interest in starting a CSA for 2009. If you are interested in starting a CSA, please give me a call at the office (419-238-1214) or drop me a note at

Examples of a few active CSAs:

Needle Lane Farms, Tipton, MI:

D.I.G. Local:

Friendship Farms CSA:

Full podcast available here:

December 17, 2008 at 7:00 am

University of Illinois Researchers Develop 2,4-D Resistant Grapes

Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new grape variety called Improved Chancellor which is resistant to the herbicide 2, 4-D.  USDA researchers discovered the gene.  According to University of Illinois, the gene has been successfully transferred to grape cells.

Currently, the grape plants have only been raised in greenhouses. The researchers are hoping to have permission to move the research outside by the spring of 2009. They are currently testing the grapes for toxins that would prevent harvesting for fresh or wine sales.

The herbicide 2, 4-D, which is commonly used on corn, wheat and turfgrass to kill broadleaves, will at very low concentrations kill or damage grapes. Today 2,4-D remains one of the most widely used herbicides in the midwest, primarily for burndown application in corn and soybeans.

Like many other discoveries in science, this gene was found by accident.  The USDA found a soil bacterium that had a gene that breaks down 2, 4-D. Someone noticed that after spilling 2, 4-D on the ground, something in the soil neutralized the herbicidal effects of 2,4-D.

Because the new grape is genetically modified it hasn’t been tested outside of the greenhouse yet. Univ. of Illinois researchers hope to get permission to grow them in an isolation plot outdoors by spring 2009.

A grape resistant to 2, 4-D would be a huge plus to the grape and wine industry, as well as the backyard hobby grape grower.

Ohio State University publishes the on-online version of the Midwest Grape Production Guide, available at: In addition to the guide, Ohio State University also has extensive information on grapes through the Ohio Grape Web at:

Full podcast available here:

November 19, 2008 at 7:00 am 1 comment


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