Topic: Harvest Hills Farm activity
You may wonder why I've been sketchy about posting the last few weeks. I have been in-and-out of town, and it's the end of CCD classes at the church where I teach (we're planning a big finale for tomorrow's Mass and end-of-year party)--but most importantly, I've been taking the on-line GAPs program through Cornell University.
GAPs stands for Good Agricultural Practices and this course emphasizes good agricultural practices in relation to produce safety.
We are primarily a livestock farm--with the good fortune to belong to two amazingly thorough organizations, American Grassfed Association and Animal Welfare Approved--which insist on the highest standards of food safety and animal welfare.
BUT, we also have been developing a vineyard. It is still in its relative youth. They say it takes 10 years to create a vineyard and we're close. We hope to have home winemakers come to the vineyard to harvest their own wine grapes to be able to make their own vintage wines at home. We are located in a unique viticulture geography and the region has the distinction of being the US' newest appellation, called "Upper Mississippi River Valley Viticulture Area."
Home winemaking falls right into the "Slow Food" philosophy. Please "google" this movement and get informed. (If you're reading this blog, you already have the right attitude.)
So, in preparation for future harvests, I participated in the training to make sure we have protocols in place, in advance, to assure food safety.
I passed the course, learned alot about self-evaluation of our processes, and learned how to make a solid produce safety plan. I LOVE Cornell's program and have a special fondness in my heart for Cornell since they also created a couple of our beloved cold hearty hybrid grapes. The Noiret grape was just a number when we first planted it!
I also met many small farmers "virtually" through discussion boards and learned about their issues with unethical neighbors. So, if I can assign my readers some homework this week--let it be as follows:
- Learn something about the "Slow Food" movement.
- Learn something about the food safety checks and balances in the fresh produce you purchase, whether from a large grocery chain or from your community's Farmers' Markets--
And , of course, are you planting your garden?