Our Commitment To You
At Endless Summer Harvest, we place high priority on safety and best practices, both for our farm family and our products. It is our utmost priority and our commitment to you, to ensure that all our products are grown, harvested, processed, and packaged safely and delivered to you, following recommended food safety guidelines.
ESH is proud to say that we are VDACS approved, having passed rigorous auditing and inspections. We are also GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certified. Our farm family have attended (and are continuing to attend) the most recent food safety courses, including food safety for farmers markets, staying up to date on current best practices, guidelines, as well as market regulations. This includes staying up to date on current market "to go" policies.
The prep team thoroughly cleans, sanitizes, and disinfects our equipment on a daily basis, following health and safety guidelines, and the greenhouse team is always cleaning and sanitizing our hydroponic gutters and trays. Our water source is tested and approved. We never spray fertilizers, so there is no concern for topical fertilizer-sourced contamination. Of course, we follow proper personal hygiene protocols for food handling safety, including always wearing clean gloves when handling lettuce, and masks (when appropriate). Prepared lettuce blends are stored in our walk-in coolers, for proper refrigeration, and care is taken to deliver them to you, following food safety guidelines.
CDC, FDA, and VDACS guidelines all state that "there is currently no evidence of food, food containers, or food packaging being associated with transmission of Covid-19. Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes Covid-19 can survive on surfaces or objects. If you are concerned about contamination of food or food packaging, wash your hands after handling food packaging, after removing food from the packaging, before you prepare your food for eating and before you eat." (From FDA.gov, FAQ "Can I get Covid-19 from a food worker handling my food?")
We do not wash our lettuce blends or herbs before we package them (for a few reasons). First, this would add a step in preparing your lettuce blends, which adds more time the lettuce is exposed to environmental influence. That's not what we want to do. The least amount of touching and handling the lettuce, the better! Even though we have tested and approved safe water, and even though we clean and sanitize our preparation surfaces, introduction of additional water onto the lettuce, could be introducing pathogens onto or into the lettuce. We do not want to add any more stress on the lettuce than we have to, and we will not take any steps that would add any risk of contamination or cross contamination. Lastly, we aren't spraying harmful chemicals or fertilizers onto the surface of the lettuce.
All of this said, we know that sometimes critters make it into a bag and they greet you with as much of a startle, as you are startled to see them. You may find a caterpillar or lady bug, or other such critter. These little fellas are there because they have the same craving for greens as we do. They are harmless (other than they drive us nuts sometimes). So feel free to name one Fred or Ethel or Lucy, and put it on its way, remembering that it is a testament to the fact that we haven't sprayed harsh and harmful chemicals all over your greens.
Following health and safety guidelines, we recommend that you wash all of your produce before consuming, including your lettuce and herbs. Just like some fruits and veggies that you wait to wash right before you eat them, wash your lettuce. Be careful to not bruise up your greens as you wash them (unless they are part of your awesome, healthy smoothie, then blend and smash and enjoy!). Our lettuce and herbs, stored properly, will last you weeks, unless you eat them right away.
We all have a responsibility to make sure the farmers markets remain open, and a safe place to get your local products and support your local farmers. Because of this responsibility, long time customers will notice a change in how we are delivering our living herbs to you. We are now pre-packaging our living herbs, to minimize browsing and handling risks. We will continue to stay up to date with and follow all current "to go" market policies, and you may continue to see small changes in our offerings, in order to follow these rules.
At the farmers markets, we will be following the organization's sanitizing, distancing, and selling rules. Again, we will be offering only pre-bagged/packaged products, and strongly encourage pre-ordering and payment at our online store. The less we touch products, money, cards, etc., the better, for all involved. Thank you for adhering to these rules as well.
What does this mean for our customers and fans? It means that you get the highest quality products, with excellent customer service, and the knowledge that we have done all we can to make for you the best bag of lettuce on the planet. You can rest assured that we put the health and safety of our customers as priority one.