Apr 2016

Top Specialty Produce Trends for 2016

Posted by / in Healthy Living /

Goji berries are one of many specialty produce trends for 2016. Below are some additional food trends that should be available in farmer’s markets this year.

Hatch Chiles: These are the only type of chiles that have a variety of heat intensities including mild, medium, and extra hot.

Dragon Fruits: Derived from vining cactus, dragon fruit is typically grown in Vietnam, Nicaragua, and California. There are two types of flesh of the dragon fruit: white flesh and magenta flesh. While white flesh has a mild flavor, magenta flesh is known for a deeper flavor and its antioxidants.

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Mar 2016

What is Aquaponics Farming?

Posted by / in Good Agricultural Practices /

There are several farming methods to increase the amounts of foods available to the public. Anyone wanting to use aquaponics to grow plants and aquatic animals must understand a variety of safety measures to ensure foods are never contaminated before reaching consumers. Aquaponics is a unique form of farming that includes raising fish, snails, shrimp or other animals that live in the water inside man-made ponds or tanks. At the same time, the waste from these animals is utilized as fertilizer to grow plants that thrive in moisture.

A Symbiotic Environment for Plants and Fish

It requires a lot of work to have an effective aquaponic symbiotic environment because the process requires a careful balance to avoid an overgrowth of dangerous bacteria. The experts using this farming technique must have a hydroponic system where the animals’ waste collects to break down into nitrites and nitrates to provide vital nutrients for the plants. The clean water then circulates back into the tanks or ponds to provide a healthy living environment for the fish or other animals.

Ancient and Modern Aquaponic Methods

Aquaponics has been used since ancient times to grow food required for people. Several countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and China have cultivated rice in paddy fields where fish live in the water to provide fertilizer. Today, North Carolina State University and the New Alchemy Institute are developing modern methods of aquaponics. During the 1990s, farmers in Canada combined raising trout with growing lettuce to provide food for consumers.

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Mar 2016

Guide to Food Safety Certification for Packinghouses

Posted by / in Food Safety Certification /

Food Safety Then and Now

Let’s face it, the U.S. food safety market is a very confusing place at the moment. Previously, packinghouses were obtaining food safety certification on site due to the demand of their buyers. Distributors and retailers began to ask packinghouses for some sort of G.M.P. (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification to ensure consumer safety. In the U.S. there are multiple food safety standards and many auditing agencies to choose from. Packinghouses are left feeling confused and unsure how to proceed. Which food safety standard do I choose? Which auditing agency do I work with? How do I prepare for an audit?

Now, there is an added element to the food safety world- FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act). Packinghouses are now faced with FSMA mandated regulations with deadlines closely approaching. The leading food safety standards in the U.S. are working hard to ensure that their standards are compliant to FSMA. In the meantime, however, we can offer some guidance.


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