State OKs food safety agreement

The Ohio Department of Agriculture formally approved the Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement on May 15, said Michael Geary, executive director of Columbus-based Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association

The trade group was developing a food safety program as early as 2009 and launched it in 2010 as the marketing agreement.

“Our biggest accomplishment this year was receiving ODA’s approval of the voluntary food safety marketing agreement,” Geary said. “This recognition gives the program added validity and assurance that it’s a viable program.”

“This year more than 30 farms are enrolled in the business, with three farms having completed the inspection and certification process,” he said. “Others are in the application process.”


Buurma Farms sports stainless steel

Buurma Farms Inc. entered Ohio vegetable season with the benefit of upgraded conveyors. Three were replaced with stainless steel.

“We had conveyors that had stainless liners, but the whole conveyor wasn’t stainless,” said Loren Buurma, co-owner of the Willard,Ohio-based grower-shipper. “So we just replaced the whole conveyor.”

“At this point I’d like to say I’m 100% stainless, at least in the packing shed,” he said. “But there may still be something hidden out there.”

The conveyors serve production of radishes, Buurma’s main crop.

“We pack those in a 6-ounce, a 1-pound, a 1-pound resealable, 25 and 40 pounds,” he said. “We also bunch radishes.”