Sixty-one Farms Finish 2016/17 CAPS Program!

On Dec 19, 2016,  the VVBGAs Community Accreditation for Produce Safety (CAPS) Program successfully concluded its first official year!  Thanks to all the farmers that helped craft this practical and cost-effective approach to on-farm food safety education and risk reduction.  Here are the highlights:

  • 61 Farms (90% of original 68) successfully completed CAPS –See list of farms below. hmf-2016-caps-badge-signed
  •  eBadges (certificates) of the CAPS farms have been posted in personal farms folders.  CAPS farms are free to share their personal farm folder urls with anyone they choose.
  • As a benefit, the program-exclusive CAPS Share Page allows farmers to learn from each other by perusing produce safety photos and procedures on other farms.
  • Hannaford Supermarkets, accepted CAPS instead of USDA GAP for 5 farms this year (a pilot project), and GOOD NEWS—They will accept CAPS from any farm for 2017.  But don’t get too excited, yet.  Because the Hannaford CAPS requires an additional on-site CAPS verification, we (Extension and VAAFM) are not actually sure how many farms WE can handle!  We should know more on this by the annual meeting.
  • To maintain CAPS accreditation beyond 2017 (with official certificate) renewing farms will pay the $100 fee** and revise their 2016 CAPS plan by April 1, 2017 (financial aid available as needed, like in 2016).   All farms wanting 2017 CAPS will need to meet this April 1 deadline, regardless of their CAPS status or history.
  • VVBGA Farms can also use the CAPS platform for free, self-serve. But only farms in the enrolled in CAPS will be reviewed, scored and be eligible for the  2017/18 CAPS certificate. Without renewal, a farms 2016 certificate will automatically expire at the end of 2017.

Below is a list of the 2016 CAPS Farms, and more details:

Final list of  2016 VVBGA CAPS Farms
1 4-Corners Farm
2 Bella Farm, LLC
3 Berry Creek Farm
4 Boyd Family Farm
5 Burnt Rock Farm
6 Cate Farm
7 Cedar Circle Farm
8 Ceres Gardens
9 Clay Brook Farm
10 Covered Bridge Berry Patch
11 Crandalls Corners Farm
12 Crossroad Farm
13 Deep Meadow Farm
14 Dutchess Farm
15 Dutton Berry Farm
16 Eastview Farm LLC
17 Edgewater Farm
18 Foggy Meadow Produce
19 Foote Brook Farm
20 Gildrien Farm
21 Hackett’s Orchard
22 Harvest hill farm
23 Heron Pond Farm
24 High Meadows farm
25 Intervale Community Farm
26 Jericho Settlers Farm, Inc.
27 Joe’s Brook Farm
28 Lester Farm & Market
29 Lewis Creek Farm
30 Luna Bleu Farm
31 Maple Star Farm
32 Maple Wind Farm
33 Meadow’s Mirth
34 Mighty Food Farm
35 New Leaf CSA
36 Newfield Herb Farm
37 Old Athens Farm
38 Picadilly Farm
39 Pomykala Farm
40 Red Sky Farm, LLC
41 Red Wagon Plants
42 River Berry Farm
43 Rockville Market Farm
44 Root 5 Farm
45 Roots Too Farm
46 Screamin’ Ridge Farm, Inc
47 Shadow Creek Farm
48 Shelburne farms market garden
49 Singing Cedars Farmstead
50 Spring Ledge Farm
51 Stout Oak Farm
52 Sunrise Farm
53 The Last Resort Farm
54 The Tutorial Center’s YAP Farm
55 Trillium Hill Farm
56 True Love Farm
57 University of Vermont Catamount Farm
58 Vermont Cranberry Company
59 Walker Farm
60 Willow Brook Farm
61 Wood’s Market Garden

Want to know more?….

  • Early in 2016 a total of 85 farms created individual farm folders in the CAPS on-line platform and used the system to write produce safety plans.
  • By the end of May, 68 farms took the next step and paid a $100 fee to participate in the CAPS accreditation process. These farms reported having 1,304 acres in crop production plus 715,442 square feet in greenhouse crop production. Based on 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture data for field vegetables and greenhouse tomatoes in Vermont, these farms have annual produce sales of $12.44 million.
  • The 17 farms that used the CAPS platform only to write produce safety plans, without seeking accreditation, did not have to pay a fee. All VVBGA member farms were offered scholarships to overcome financial barriers to participation in CAPS, and 5 farms paid a reduced fee of $50.
  • All required documentation was due from farms by the first of November; 64 of the 68 farms met this deadline. Two farms dropped out in July and two in November, for personal reasons.
  • Teams of two reviewers then scored each of the 64 on-line farm folders for completeness, using pass/fail for each required section, with comments required when a failing grade was given. There were 12 reviewers including the CAPS coordinator; 7 reviewers were farmers from the CAPS advisory board and 5 were service providers (3 from Extension and 2 from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.)
  • Forty farms submitted complete documentation by the Nov. 1 deadline, with no changes needed. Reviewers found corrections or additions needed by 23 other farms. Most were minor issues, such as a missing photo or lack of detail in a description of a standard operating procedure. Two farms submitted little documentation and did not end up earning accreditation. Farms had until Dec. 19 to complete or correct their farm folders.
  • A total of 61 farms ended up earning CAPS accreditation, out of the 68 farms that enrolled initially (90%). Accreditation is signified by receipt of a CAPS e-badge. This can be used on farm marketing materials through 2017. Farms must complete the process each year to maintain accreditation, though plans will ‘roll over’ so it will be easy to make minor changes as needed.