Apr 19, 2012 8:48 PM by Bill Folsom
The rural work of farmers typically happens with little attention. It is planting time and this year Rocky Ford cantaloupe farmers want everyone to know more about a new season with improved practices. "We've worked very hard over the winter to do different things as far as food safety, trackability on our products, said farmer, Brian Knapp.
After last years deadly outbreak of Listeria linked to cantaloupes from a single farm near Holly colorado other local farmers want everyone to know they've taken action even though their farms were not involved. They have created a local association and they are working with state agriculture leaders and Colorado State University researchers. "These growers have really strived to learn every available amount of information that's out there, said Colorado State University, Vegetable Crop Specialist, Mike Bartolo. Rocky Ford farmers have invited independent reviews and certification from ag experts. "Colorado Department of Agriculture will actually be doing the third party audit," said Colo. Commissioner of Agriculture, John Salazar.
"We're committed to providing the a good safe product," said Rocky Ford farmer, Michael Hirakata. Farmers are answering questions as seeds are planted so there are no questions about quality when it is time for the cantaloupe harvest.