The CAPS-Plus Certificate (renewed annually) is is designed to help access regional markets. It may be required to sell to supermarket chains (e.g. Hannaford, Wegmans, Price Chopper, Shaws) and distributors (e.g. Deep Root Coop, Food Connects, Reinhardt/ Black River Produce).
What is CAPS-Plus? It is regular CAPS… …PLUS additional requirements and an accelerated time-line. You indicate you intention to meet the CAPS-Plus requirements within you CAPS produce safety plan, on the VVBGA web platform. Specifically, a CAPS-Plus Certificate verifies that you have:
- Met the 18 risk-reduction requirements of the normal CAPS program, PLUS
- Passed an annual on-farm CAPS-Plus Audit from the VT Agency of Ag., Food and Markets (VAAFM)* by October 15, , PLUS
- Additional verification requirements and records to meet or exceed Harmonized GAP standard for leafy greens (i.e. higher risk crops–see below for more info),
- Written a traceability plan (USDA HGAP equivalent), PLUS
- Completed a Mock Recall with a wholesale buyer (USDA GAP equivalent)
*Other qualified and trained auditors may conduct audits for farms outside of Vermont.
Typical CAPS+ Time-line:
|By May 15||Schedule your CAPS-Plus Audit|
|By June 15||Submit ALL Remaining CAPS verification documents for review. Early submission is needed to allow for revisions and on-Farm Audit.|
|Complete a Mock Recall and Traceability Plan as an attachment to your CAPS produce safety plan.|
|Verify your status as a NE market Vendor (existing, or pending for Hannaford, Wegmans, Reinhart/Black River etc.)|
|By July 1||Receive all scores and revisions needed to finalized CAPS documents (#s 13-18)|
|By late July||Complete all needed revisions to receive your 2019-20 CAPS certificate EARLY.|
|August 1–October 15||Complete your CAPS-Plus on-farm audit|
|Within 30 days of your Audit||Complete revisions or farm updates (if needed) to pass your CAPS-Plus audit. Once invoiced, pay auditors for their time/travel.|
|Passed+Paid||Your CAPS+ Certificate is posted to your Farm Folder|
For more information
- For Auditor–VAAFM Questions Contact Kristina Sweet (Sweet@vermont.gov, (802) 522-7811). To cover costs, there will be a charge for this verification (rate is somewhere around $55/hr– plus a travel fee–usually around $200-$300 total). This fee will be reimbursed by Hannaford for their vendors.
- Optionally schedule CAPS–Plus pre-assessment from (there is no charge; contact Hans at hestrin@UVM.edu, (802) 380-2109. I will likely visit CAPS-Plus farms that I have not seen.)
- Review the CAPS-plus Overview and Score Sheet.
CAPS-Plus certificate is granted upon successful completion of all requirements. Growers agree to the CAPS terms and conditions and will not hold VAAFM, CAPS or VVBGA liable for market loss due to failure to meet CAPS-Plus requirements or standards.
High Risk Crops
CAPS+ has supplemental requirements for high risk crops(*listed below). Because these crops are mostly leafy greens this is called the Leafy Greens Supplement (CAP+LGS):
Starting in 2020, the CAPS+ LGS standard will meet or exceed the Harmonized GAP-Plus Standard (HGAP-Plus+) for these crops.
For reference, HGAP Plus+ standard is found via these links below. These detail how different requirements are assessed:
Additional CAPS+ high-risk crop planning templates and references will be integrated into the CAPS+ templates in spring 2021!
The following are currently considered “high-risk” crops:
|GREEN LEAF LETTUCE|
|RED LEAF LETTUCE|
|ORG BUNCH KALE|
|ORG RED LEAF LETTUCE|
|ORG GREENLEAF LETTUCE|
|RED SWISS CHARD|
|ORG ROMAINE LETTUCE|
|ORG LACNTO/TSCN KALE|
|ORG RNBW SWISS CHARD|
|ORG CHINESE CABBAGE|
|GREEN SWISS CHARD|
|ORG GREEN SWISS CHARD|
|ORG RED ROM LETTUCE|
|ORGANIC SAVOY CABBAGE|
|RAINBOW SWISS CHARD|
|ORGANIC BOS LETTUCE|
|DSD LACINATO KALE|
|ORG RED BIBB LETTUCE|
|RED KALE ORG RED KALE|