What Muzzarelli Farms Does During the Off-Season
The bulk of Muzzarelli Farms' work is done during our crop season, but a lot is done behind the scenes during the off-season to prepare for planting and a successful harvest.
Repairs and Maintenance
When our market is closed, it's the perfect time for Muzzarelli Farms to inspect, maintain and repair our farm and market facilities, machinery, instruments and other equipment. If we have been looking to upgrade or replace a piece of equipment or have a lot of small repairs that need to be fixed, the off-season is the time to accomplish all of these tasks. Inspection, maintenance and repairing of our irrigation system and crop equipment makes planting and harvesting much easier and much more efficient when they're done before crop season begins.
Research and Learning
The off-season gives Muzzarelli Farms valuable time that we wouldn't normally have to continue to learn about new technologies that can help improve our processes or new techniques to make our farm more efficient. We continue learning how to make our farm better by analyzing data and looking for areas of improvement in the crop fields.
Now that Muzzarelli Farms has a little more free time available, we can start planning for the next crop season. This is a time to plan out everything that needs to get done and to set goals. Whether we want to grow our farm in the upcoming season or reach a new level of marketing, the off-season gives us time so we can sit down and evaluate what we want to achieve and how to do it.
The planning and preparation that we do during our off-season includes (but is certainly not limited to!) the following:
- Create and prepare crop production budgets
- Review yield goals and marketing goals
- Management decisions for soil fertility needs (based on yield goals)
- Review pesticide/fertilizer record keeping
- Review, update and train workers on safety precautions for hazardous procedures
- Preparation for USDA, audits and certification renewals
- Review written Standard Operation Procedures
- Review Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
- Prepare list of tools, supplies and equipment needed
- Weather radar cloud-based review and subscriptions
- Inspect and prepare crop fields for planting
- Establish crop plan (such as which type of crops go into which field)
- Seed planning
While food safety is our prime objective 365 days a year, the off-season is a great time for us to review and update our policies, continue training workers, organize and update our records, and much more. Here are just a few of the food safety tasks we work on during the off-season as well as throughout the year:
- Review food safety policies, audits and farm management system
- Review and train on-the-farm workers' field hygiene
- Review and update handwashing procedures and sterilization of cutting tools
- Review policy that includes objectives of the Muzzarelli Farms' commitment to food safety, promoting a proactive and committed food safety culture, following food safety laws and adhering to industry best practices
- Meet with Food Safety Committee and update Committee Meeting Log. Review food safety system, record keeping, updating logs and food safety trainings
- Update and revise food safety trainings as needed
- Review industry guidelines and best practices for crop
- Maintain, update and/or replace food safety documents and records
- Ensure that food safety documents are created, controlled, organized, stored, easily retrievable, and handled in a secure manner in our food safety office, locked and accessible to authorized personnel
- Retain control of crop documents and records
- Review and update procedures and corrective actions
- Perform internal and external inspections
- Review and update crop monitoring, control and traceability
So as you can see, at Muzzarelli Farms we are not just sitting in an office during our off-season. We are a boots on the ground and hands in the dirt produce supplier!