Food Safety Profile: Backyard Farms and Their Tomatoes

By: Sample6 on March 1st, 2016

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Food Safety Profile: Backyard Farms and Their Tomatoes

Food Safety Education  |  Industry News  |  Featured Companies

Here at Sample6, we like to give a shout out to companies that are doing food safety right

Based out of Madison, Maine, Backyard Farms has food safety as their number one priority, and they won an award for it! They grow fresh tomatoes year round in a 42-acre greenhouse, complete with dynamic quality monitoring systems.

Learn more about their tomato growing and shipping processes, and how they have fresh, and trusted, tomatoes year round.

Always Tomato Season

Backyard Farms began in 2004 when the founders realized that grocery stores were lacking fresh, ripe tomatoes all year long. Now, their greenhouse in Madison, Maine grows fresh tomatoes even on the coldest winter days. They have introduced a new and ingenious way of doing business to the tomato industry, one that focuses on community, quality, and trust.

Everything grown in the 42-acre greenhouse is non-GMO. On average, the tomato is in the grocery store, ready for purchase, 48 hours after it was cut from the vine. The greenhouse is constantly monitored by onsite professionals. This includes monitoring the tomatoes themselves, the packaging houses, the machinery, and the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system.

Integrated Pest Management System, Bees

The IPM allows for bees and other insects to interact with the tomatoes in a natural way. The greenhouse is sustained by the experts and growers, as well as 20,000 busy bumblebees. There is always the chance of harmful insects, so every week 1 million good bugs are introduced into the greenhouse as well. 

In other words, the greenhouse mimics a home garden.

"Food Safety and Quality First"

Food safety is at the forefront of produce production at Backyard Farms. They keep in mind who they are growing for and that their produce is trustworthy. All aspects of their process, both greenhouses and pack houses, are approved by the Produce Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices Initiative and the Global Food Safety Initiative. Their specialized Food Safety Management System, which encompass both pre-harvest and post-harvest practices, adheres to:

  • Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs)
  • Good Handling Practices (GHPs)
  • Hazard Analysis and Risk Based Preventive Controls (HARPC). 

Backyard Farms acknowledges a key factor of food safety is a dynamic process that requires up-to-date monitoring strategies.

Every aspect of tomato production and shipment is looked into thoroughly, including organization, equipment and facilities, employee training and education, and performance reviews and audits, just to name a few.

Every single tomato gets specific attention and has to pass what Backyard Farms describes as a "series of rigorous quality checks" that surpass USDA Tomato Standards. The quality control procedures are constantly re-evaluated and analyzed for the perfect tomato every time. This includes the fact that they never buy and resell tomatoes from someone else, which tends to be a common industry practice and loophole. Every Backyard Farm tomato is one of their own.

Food safety and quality award from Dupont nutrition and health

So, it's no surprise that Backyard Farms was the recipient of the 13th Annual Food Quality and Safety Award from DuPont Nutrition and Health in 2014. This prestigious honor recognizes organizations that have gone above and beyond in regards to the quality of their food safety practices. As self proclaimed food safety perfectionists, the award further emphasizes the success of Backyard Farms and their monitoring program.

Visit Backyard Farms to learn more about their food safety system.

Are you inspired to keep your food safety processes up to standard? Learn how Sample6 detect/environmental monitoring software can help you!

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