Strategies to create a clean wash/pack environment that guarantees good food hygiene and workflow is the topic of this week’s pod, and for the first time ever we have three guests! With three guests and such an important topic, it’s no surprise this became the first of a two-part episode, with the second part following next week. In addition to getting produce clean and safe from pathogens, a good packing shed will facilitate workflow that keeps the produce moving and people comfortable. In this episode, we have the privilege of hosting Billy Mitchell, Chris Callahan, and Andrew Chamberlin, who share their expertise and insights on the importance of hygienic design in wash-pack systems.


In this episode we discuss: 

00:01:00 - Importance of Food Safety,

00:05:13 - Ensuring Good Wash/Pack Production Flow

00:14:05 - Basics of Food Safety for Growers

00:15:10 - Key Points for Food Safety

00:15:58 - Simplifying Food Safety

00:20:12 - Importance of Cleaning

00:24:59 - Water Safety for Washing Produce

00:27:31 - The Use of Sanitizers in Wash Water

00:30:48 - Hygienic Design Principles

00:35:51 - Inspection vs. Audit

00:37:43 - Food safety starts in the field

00:41:30 - Color Coding for Organization and Cross-Contamination Prevention

00:42:05 - Using Shallow Totes and Mini Pallets for Field Efficiency

00:43:33 - Mobility Solutions in the Wash Pack Area

00:44:45 - In-field Cooling Strategies

00:48:25 - Forced Air Cooling for Extended Shelf Life

00:55:09 - The Importance of Cooling Methods

00:56:26 - Scale and Applicability of Hydrocooling

00:57:32 - Low-tech Cooling Techniques

00:58:29 - Water Quality Considerations

01:00:06 - Conclusion and Resources


Chris Callahan is the Extension Associate Professor of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Vermont- he works with food producers, processors, and distributors to improve the efficiency, quality and safety of post-harvest practices and storage processes like water management, environmental control, drying, humidification, and refrigeration systems. Andy Chamberlin is also with the U of VT, farmers with their post-harvest processes to increase efficiencies and profitability while maintaining safe food handling processes. Billy Mitchell is with the Southeast Region of the USDA's Transition to Organic Partnership Program and works with partners across the Southeast and nationally to provide educational opportunities to organic and transitioning to organic producers and the workforce that supports them.


In Shop Talk with Neversink Farm, we chat about new tools, old tools, how they can benefit your farm and tips to use them successfully with Conor Crickmore of Neversink Tools, which manufactures tools for farmers.


In this episode of Shop Talk with Neversink Farm, we discuss how to use low tunnels in the summer. Though it’s common to associate low tunnels with winter production, we talk about the strategies that make low tunnels effective in the hotter part of the season, most notably with shade cloth, which has the advantage that it can be watered through, unlike floating row cover and many of the other commonly used coverings. We also discuss how not using weights to hold down row cover saves time and offers more flexibility than having to move weights every time you need to access the crop.


Thanks to our collaborator on this podcast Neversink Farm. They make this podcast free to everyone with their generous support. For tools designed and made by farmers, check out


Free articles mentioned in show:

Beat the heat in postharvest handling


Love is Love Cooperative Farm Profile


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The guests' food safety resources are available at:


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