Another beautiful morning at another amazing produce operation. Why do I use the term "produce operation"? Well...each of my clients are a bit different. Their operations may include produce growing, packing, repacking, cooling, cold storage and/or transportation. They all have dynamic food safety plans, unique challenges, employee skills, diverse products and production techniques.
What do I mean by a dynamic Food Safety Plan? Each time I visit an operation, the written plans continually will need updating/revising as new machinery may be added, new property is established, employees change, etc.
So let's walk around an operation and see if the food safety plan procedures are followed.
Their customers will be grateful for this food safety teams hard work to comply to good agriculture and manufacturing practices. Thank you Eagle Certifications for sending a qualified auditor. Another successful audit day is one reward for Food Safety Everyday!
Off to the next Produce Operation~
The opportunity to see amazing scenery while traveling in an RV from job to job has been a blessing. Best business investment I have made! No more airplanes, rental cars and strange hotels!
On my way to Salinas, CA I received a call from a client in Colorado very excited about their new purchase. TAKE A LOOK AT THIS HANDWASHING STATION! It has a timer to remind the employees to leave hands in until it turns off. Meritech is the manufacturer.
The next produce operation is a cold storage and transportation company. This company receives palletized product from local farms and fulfills customer orders. Some buyers consider this facility a distribution center or DC. Late at night is when operations get busy and I have the opportunity to watch the action when staying in LIV right there on the property (another advantage of RV life). During the daytime it is quite.
So let's walk around this operation and see if the food safety plan procedures are followed.
A few adjustments and new employee trainings and this operation is ready for an audit. The team here are picking up on "looking up, down and all around" to find the small non-compliances that must be followed on a daily basis.
Audit day was successful and lessons were learned. Keep up the good work team! Thank you Primus Auditing (JS Operations) for sending a qualified auditor!
Thank you birds for cooperating with us to stay out of the eves of the facility.
A few weeks off traveling to catch up on editing documents and visiting family. See you next post!
US Citrus has been grafting citrus trees and establishing groves in perfect sandy loam soil of Hargill, a tiny South Texas town
Check out US Citrus Craft Box! Our family signed up for monthly delivery. What a treat!
Farm #7...oFF TO TexAs! WHEW...THAT'S A LONG WAY... AND WORTH EVERY MILE TO ASSIST THE NEXT FARM FAMILY OPERATION!
If you ever wondered about logistic (trailer) washout procedures, here is a short video. Watch the bay to the right side. And by the way, LIV the RV gets a wash between every farm.
Not much open due to the pandemic. Enjoyed long walks along the river and the sound of the water in the background while working remotely in AgEmpowered mobile office.
5:30 am alarm every morning...nice...Will return to this farm for audit day.Another successful farm visit.
Taking a side trip to visit New Mexico Department of Ag friends. OTRA!
Here is some shots of my stay with NMDA recently retired friends and their soon to be apple farm. This North Central NM property sits in a valley where the Pecos River runs thru it. Retired doesn't mean vacation for these folks!
Hatch chili season! Can't visit NM this time of the year without freshly roasted Hatch Chili Quesadillas! YUM! 😋
Hard to leave this wonderful place. On to Farm # 8. See you next post!
Assisting Farm #5 Food Safety Coordinator in the southern part of California.
California LGMA Food Safety Practices (Metrics) water assessment. https://lgma.ca.gov/food-safety-program
Internal audit for upcoming annual PrimusGFS Farm and Facility annual audit.
There is LIV (left side ) parked under trees by this farms packinghouse. Excellent food safety program implementation, a clean and efficient facility and great well trained staff. Another successful Farm Visit! See you on audit day Farm #5!
In California...Need a family fix! Lots of exciting family news. My Son has purchased his first home, wine grape harvest has begun for my daughter and son-in-law and my daughter who assists me with AgEmpowered has many new improvements to her home. All 7 grandkids doing just fine with online learning. My daughters have done a fine job setting up home study areas.
All is well and LIV and I are happy to be home even, if for a short time.
Off again to Cooler #6 Visit in Salinas, California. We are preparing for an annual facility audit using the PrimusGFS schema. Internal audits are an important part of "checking up" on food safety program implementation and include but not limited to fine tuning of; industry changes in best practices; findings regarding needed staff retraining; and edits to Standard Operating and Sanitation Procedures. They should happen throughout the year and when I assist with annual audit preparation day, I use the audit checklist my client will be audited against.
Two days reviewing documents with the management staff, touring operations, identifying a few corrective actions and discussing implementation. See you on audit day Cooler #6!
Off to Texas to visit Farm #7! See you next post!
And a friendly stop at a truck wash along highway 88 on way to Kansas. $40 for a wash and wax!! Decided on a name for the Coachman Leprechaun/Ford Transit van. The Little Irish Van office will be called “LIV”.
Had a nice visit with my friend and colleague Jerry and his family at JNJ Company in Kansas. Jerry assists packing operations with sanitation procedures throughout the U.S. and offers local horse farmers good agriculture practice education. He is the pastor of a local church and farms hay with his father.
Driving from Kansas to Eastern Colorado has a beauty all its own. Big sky’s, expansive prairies and large expressive church’s in each small town. This modest Elderberry winery caught my attention as it reminded me of stories my father told about gathering elderberries in the Eastern Sierras with his uncle to make wine. Shared it with friends along the way...it was quite good!
Arrived at Facility #4 on a Sunday evening. AgEmpowered office setup and ready to go when staff arrived Monday morning.
This cold storage and transportation facility complies to Sanitary Transportation, Good Manufacturing Practices, among other Federal, State and County requirements. A generational operation, the ground you see in the above picture was a part of the families onion growing farm. The current generation has expanded the business to wholesale and transportation operations. It is always a pleasure to work here with the dedicated staff. This visit we are fine tuning the food safety program to comply with a new building expansion and conducting staff trainings on revised procedures.
Driving thru Denver I noticed the sign on the right side of this famous stadium...If I was better at editing pictures, I would add AG in front of EMPOWER FIELD!
Working on the road is most enjoyable when AgEmpowered office has a lovely view and is different each day or two. Here it is in Manitou Springs, a lovely historical town. Tomorrow a hike in the Garden of the Gods after a few hours working on food safety documents.
Stopped by to visit with another friend and colleague, Matt and his family after hiking. Matt represents a food safety auditing software, RizePoint (https://rizepoint.com/). A great time discussing the future of electronic food safety in the age of FDAs "New Era of Smarter Food Safety". (https://www.fda.gov/food/new-era-smarter-food-safety). Headed for Farm #5...California bound, interstate 70 is closed thru Aspen due to a fire...so its highway 50 this trip to meet up with 70 (sorry about the bug splat on the windshield).
Just could not resist another side trip to Zion National Park!
Worth the time to slow down and visit our National Parks!
Of course I pick the hottest day in recorded history to travel across the Nevada desert :( and the smoke! See you in California!
On my way to see Farmer JoHn Peterson at Angelic Organics, Farm #3, just up the road 3 hours from Farm#2.
Overnight stop in a State preserve. Took a long walk alone the Rock River and reflected on this journey. Exactly how I envisioned I would spend this part of my career...helping family farms in all parts of the country!
Time to visit Farm #3 after a good nights rest in a quite park. Can’t say I missed the train from the last farm stay, but did miss the sound of the tractors starting up in the morning heading out to harvest the potato fields.
Driving in to Angelic Organics to assist them to fine tuning the farms food safety plan. Angelic Organics is a Community Supported Agriculture farm, growing vegetables and herbs. Check out their website at www.angelicOrganics.com. You will find a fantastic documentary film about the trials and tribulations of Farmer Johns plight to save his family farm. This is exactly why I do what I do. Fight on John Peterson!
Shrine of the Virgin Mary at the Camino y Esperanza. A retreat for Marriage and Family. Many fieldworkers come to pray in the evening.
A beautiful Illinois sunset over the farm
AgEmpowered office on the farm. AMAZING!
Food safety management system ✅
The Farm ✅
The Harvest Crew ✅
The Storage and Distribution ✅
And the HACCP ✅
A BIG SHOUT OUT TO CCI FOR THEIR EXCELLENT SERVICE, EASY SCHEDULING AND SEASONED AUDITORS.
HEAVYCONNECT DASHBOARD AND APP ALLOWED THIS AUDIT PROCESS TO PROCEED WITHOUT A HITCH! GAVE AUDITOR PERMISSION TO SEE REQUESTED DOCUMENTS BEFORE AUDIT DAY. All OTHER DOCUMENTS, REPORTS, RESOURCES AND MORE AVAILABLE FOR AUDIT DAY ORGANIZED AND QUICK TO FIND WITH A CLICK OR SEARCH TAB.
GREAT WORK FARM TEAM!
Hay and grain crops to feed the large livestock industry here in Utah.
Beautiful big skies in Wyoming and more hay crops and cattle.
The state of corn and soy beans and more corn and more soy beans. Very windy today. Stayed in a wonderful RV camp surrounded by corn and cattle.
I bet you can tell the difference between the GMO corn in the heirloom corn. I found this demonstration in Iowa.
Made it to Illinois and ready to empower Farm number two in their quest to strengthen Food safety and comply to the added requirements of their customers.
Can you identify this crop?
Weighed my RV on my way out of Farm number one. To my surprise I am 1000 pounds under the GVW! I will have to stop at a farmstand and load up on some yummy local grown produce.