Friday, June 27, 2008

Homegrown Tomatoes, No S***.

(*** salmonella )
Because of the food scare, tomatoes have sold real well this spring. It was a good year to start the high tunnel. I take the following steps to ensure safe food. First I grow high quality stuff. Second, I wash my hands before I pick it. I visually inspect containers to make sure they are clean. If they are not clean, I wash them. The irrigation and wash water come from the same well I drink out of. The only way I have used animal manure around my tomatoes is to compost it a year before it is used. I would prefer to apply it one year and grow a covercrop. Maybe I can get that done when I retire.
The reason we are having a salomonella scare is probably either human manure use in Mexico or poultry dust from a large confinement operation in some washwater at a huge packing house. Another potential food problem is human waste in the field when field hands are pushed so hard they fell like they can't afford to walk to the bathroom, or they don't feel comfortable going to the bathroom. Well, I can easily walk back to my bathroom and there are currently no chickens on my farm.
The only thing I know that would make my operation safer is to include chlorox in the wash water. I have used it. It takes roughly a cup per 50 gallons of water. The trouble is getting rid of the chlorinated waste water. Plus I can no longer tell people the tomatoes are pesticide free.

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