Meet CAFF’s 2020-22 Partner Farm Cohort, Part 1

From 2020-2022 CAFF partnered with fifteen farms across California to develop and update their food safety practices. Farms who participated in the partnership wanted to ensure their food was safe for their communities, comply with the new Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule and be able to respond to buyer questions about food safety practices. Get to know more about our Partner Farm Program and meet 4 of our Partner Farms below.

What is the Partner Farm Program?

CAFF’s Partner Farm Program is an in-depth partnership between a farm and CAFF food safety staff. Over the course of 4-12 months we work with farmers to help:

  • determine food safety goals for their farm 
  • develop a plan of action identifying small steps to achieve those goals 
  • hold farmers accountable for meeting their food safety goals
  • answer questions and provide guidance on different options for reducing risks
  • develop a food safety program and culture that works for their farm 

After a Partner Farm completes their goals, the farm hosts a field day with nearby growers. The farmer(s) share their story with other local growers and show food safety changes (e.g. wash station design changes) made during our partnership. See photos from our food safety field days below.

Meet the Partner Farms​

CAFF partnered with fifteen California farms from 2020-2022. The farms ranged in size from less than an acre to over 50 acres. They grow crops ranging from nopales (cactus) to tree fruit to mixed vegetables. Farm crew size ranged from one person to ten plus people, depending on the farm. Learn more about four of our Partner Farms: Fresno Freedom School, Luna’s Farm, Sherman Produce and Vitis and Ovis Farm.

Fresno Freedom School

About: Fresno Freedom School is an urban vegetable farm and job-skills program investing in Fresno’s African-American youth.

Farmers: Dr. Floyd D. Harris Jr., youth and adult volunteers

Location: Fresno, California

Acres in cultivation: Less than one acre

Marketing: farmer’s markets, farm stand and CSA

Crops: mixed vegetables

“I think the food safety piece is just as important as all the other stuff that we do. It’s just as important as plowing, making rows and laying irrigation lines.”

Learn more about Fresno Freedom School on The Farmer’s Beet Podcast.

Luna's Farm

About: Luna’s Farm is a multi-generational Latinx family farm growing organic vegetables in California’s Central Coast region.

Farmers: Antonio, Samuel and Julio Luna plus other family members

Location: Hollister, California

Acres in cultivation: 47.5

Marketing: retail and wholesale

Crops: mixed vegetables

“I know there are plenty of ranchers out there that have questions. I am one of those people that always wants to do everything by themselves. But there is plenty of help out there. So, if there is anyone out there like me, I would like for them to accept the help being offered.”

Learn more about Luna’s Farm on The Farmer’s Beet Podcast (en Español).

Vitis and ovis farm

About: Vitis and Ovis Farm is a multi-generational Swiss-American-Ethiopian family farm specializing in pastured duck eggs, fruit and medicinal herbs.

Farmers: Hans Herren, Barbara, Gisele and Henok

Location: Capay, California

Acres in cultivation: 11

Markets: farm stand and local food hub

Crops: pastured duck eggs, native elderberry, quince, pomegranates, figs, mulberries, wine grapes

“We heard about CAFF at one of the field days about food safety, and realized we could get a little bit more individual help. We knew we needed something and I didn’t have any idea where to start.”

Learn more about Vitis and Ovis Farm on The Farmer’s Beet Podcast.

sherman produce

About: Sherman Produce is a vegetable farm and produce market serving California’s Central Valley, owned and operated by Donald Sherman – a third generation African American farmer.

Farmer: Donald Sherman

Location: Kerman, California

Acres in cultivation: 10+

Markets: retail, CSA and institutions

Crops: mixed vegetables and fruit

“I was happy to find out that there were some things that I was doing that were okay, but I also needed some assistance, which I got from CAFF.”

Learn more about Sherman Produce on The Farmer’s Beet Podcast.

Funding for this project comes from the California Specialty Crop Small and Medium Scale Farm Food Safety Technical Assistance Program, made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM190100XXXXG008. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.