Yesterday the community came together at Cottingham Farm to pick up their turkeys and trimmings from Black Bottom Farm Collective. It was a delightful time as we enjoyed the music, food, shopping and lots of conversation.

Take a look at some of the stories we’re covering this month, ranging from a new coffee shop at Whole Note in Easton, to the politics of a good gift basket.

The staff of Chesapeake Harvest and Easton Economic Development would like to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

– The Chesapeake Harvest Team

Producer News: Deep Dive Wholesale Readiness Training

During October and November, with earmarked funding from Town Creek Foundation, Chesapeake Harvest facilitated an in-depth look at postharvest handling and wholesale readiness. A series of site visits, in early October, took our food safety team to farms and farm cooperatives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and neighboring counties. Elizabeth Beggins and Lindsay Gilmour, in cooperation with food safety educator trainees, Aleya Fraser and Kimberly Raikes, learned from seasoned wholesale farmers and farm service providers, like Jeff Stoltzfus with Penn State Extension, about wholesale pack house design, food safety best practices, product quality, packing, grading, and shelf-life. Reflecting on the experience, Aleya Fraser said, “Seeing how small to mid-scale farmers work collectively to get their products ready for wholesale was very informative and a highlight of visiting Amish and Mennonite farms in Pennsylvania. We got to see everything from the farm to the packing houses and learned directly from farmers what works well and what doesn’t work well. It was also really helpful to hear of the different audits and food safety regulations they fall under.”

Earlier this month, two, full-day workshops were offered in southern and mid-shore Maryland. Lead trainer, Patricia Tripp of Artisan Food Solutions, in collaboration with farmers David Paulk of Sassafras Creek Farm in Leonardtown, and Cleo Braver of Cottingham Farm in Easton, offered a deep dive into what it means for a farm to be wholesale-ready, providing hands-on instruction and resources to help them get there. Participant Jane Malone of Coops and Crops Farm in Kennedyville, MD, remarked, “I appreciated the entire day. Hearing from Trish Tripp about the expectations of wholesale customers and observing how Cottingham Farm manages food postharvest provided countless insights that will enrich our [farm] operations. The ‘ah-hah’ moments for me included wholesale packing and pallet standards, using fans to target-chill produce quickly in the walk-in, and Cleo’s formula for curing sweet potatoes in our climate.”

In addition to guidance offered by Trish, workshop participants were also supported by input from Angela Ferelli with University of Maryland, Pat Millner with USDA-ARS, and Dr. Fawzy Hashem with UMES.

Our goal is to help farmers demystify the food safety process, learn to employ best practices and get closer to food safety certification. Let us know how we can help you! Also, save the date for the upcoming Future Harvest CASA Conference, and see our UPCOMING EVENTS for information on a food-safety scholarship opportunity.

 

 

Upcoming Events

 

University of MD Eastern Shore Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training for FSMA Compliance
Wednesday, December 4, 2019  |  8:00am – 5:00pm
University of MD Eastern Shore,11868 College Backbone Road, Princess Anne, MD
For more information, click here.
Contact: Sarah Everhart, 410-458-2475


Scholarship
 Opportunity – Future Harvest CASA Conference
Thursday, January 16th – Saturday, January 18th, 2020
If you’re interested in attending the Future Harvest CASA Conference this January, you have the opportunity to attend for free if you apply for a Food Safety Scholarship. These scholarships are specifically for small farmers with a strong interest in food safety and other risk management strategies. Awardees receive free entry to the two main days of the conference as well as the food safety pre-conference workshop on Thursday 1/16, to which attendance is a requirement for this scholarship. To apply, complete the application form HERE. For more information about the conference and this year’s sessions and speakers, visit the Future Harvest website HERE.