The schedule is set for free food safety training sessions for Oregon produce growers and berry harvesters. The sessions are a preemptive action in the wake of a strawberry-related E. coli outbreak last summer that killed one and sickened several others.

The on-farm training sessions are the result of a collaborative effort between the Oregon Agriculture Department and the state’s berry commissions. Four training dates are set for the three-hour sessions, with morning sessions to be presented in English and afternoon sessions to be presented in Spanish.

A website has been set up to provide information about the sessions at

“We got together with the other berry commissions in the state and the California Strawberry Commission,” said Matt Unger, chairman of the Oregon Strawberry Commission.

“They’ve been working on this for several years. We thought we should give our growers the same information to help them take steps toward adopting (good agricultural practices) if they didn’t already have them in place.”

Unger, a berry grower and owner of Unger Farms Inc. Cornelius, Ore., said all of Oregon’s berry commissions agreed that the California commission’s efforts in the safe harvest and handling of strawberries would meet their needs.

Organizers expect attendees to share the training information and study guides with harvest crews, managers and labor contractors.

All of the morning sessions are scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon, with afternoon Spanish sessions set for 1-4 p.m. Training dates and locations:

  • April 17: Spencer Creek Grange No. 855 86013, Lorane Highway, Eugene;
  • April 18: Unger Farm Store, 34880 SW Johnson School Road, Cornelius;
  • April 19: North Willamette Research Station 15210, NE Miley Road, Aurora; and
  • May 2: Riverbend Organic Farm 35711 Helms Drive Jefferson.