Food-borne pathogens may be microscopic, but they have an outsized impact on how U.S. growers produce and handle crops. Take the 2006 E. coli outbreak in spinach. It led to the founding of the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA), which sets high standards for protocols to keep crops pathogen free. After the 2018 E. coli outbreak in romaine, already high standards soared to the stratosphere. Growers want to nourish Americans, not sicken them.
JV Smith Companies, based in Yuma, AZ, is renowned in the leafy vegetables industry for its immaculate protocols. Matt McGuire, Chief Agricultural Officer, and Fatima Corona, Food Safety Director, at JV Farms are responsible for keeping the large winter crop farm as clean as they possibly can.
Smith Eshaya graduated as the valedictorian of her class at Yuma High School in 2003, and then went on to graduate from Colorado College with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and, later, from Northern Arizona University with a Master of Education in human relation.
She lived in Texas and California, working in finance and development for the arts, before moving back home to join the family business, according to the release.
DALLAS & HOUSTON, TX, & YUMA, AZ - Compared to those who have been in fresh produce for decades, I am a newcomer. However, one thing I can say for certain is our industry is one that prides itself on giving back and supporting each other. Brighter Bites is among those fostering this quality, remaining an industry ally and helping others create healthier lifestyles through the wonders of fresh. As dedicated partners to Brighter Bites, Vic Smith, CEO of JV Smith Companies, and Mark Clement, Vice President of Sales for Taylor Farms Texas, encourage other industry members to join them.
December 9, 2020 – Monterey, CA – Leaders from three of the largest and most respected organic fresh produce companies agree that the outlook for the organic industry is positive heading into the new year, as they explored a wide range of issues during the Organic Grower Summit BB #:338018 Roundtable discussion that premiered today.
Woodland, CA, October 6, 2020 – The Center for Produce Safety (CPS) has funded 14 new research projects, valued at just over $3.3 million, to help answer industry’s most urgent produce food safety questions.
Growers need not wait on the government for timely guidance to food safety questions or concerns.
That’s what industry veteran Victor Smith sees as one of the biggest benefits of the Center for Produce Safety (CPS). The Woodland, California-based nonprofit group in just 14 years passed on $30 million from growers and retailers to fund produce-specific safety research from researchers around the globe.
Dave Corsi, chairman of the Center for Produce Safety’s board of director for two years, has been succeeded by Vic Smith.
At Gary A. Knox Elementary School, every grade level has a chance to get their hands dirty for the sake of science. For most of the school year, agricultural science teacher Ann Ogram and her students have been devotedly tending to their “Garden of Learning,” where over 60 beds of fresh produce are ready for harvest.
Today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again on Jan. 15, Ogram and her students are hosting their annual farmer’s market, and they’re inviting the community to come get a taste of the fruit (or greens and vegetables, rather) of their labor.
They’ll be set up outside the school, located at 2926 S. 21st Drive, with large brown bags full of an assortment of organically-grown broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, carrots, cilantro, frisee, kale, spinach, green leaf and iceberg lettuce and romaine. For $10, market-goers can take their own bag home to enjoy.
Israel Morales has been promoted to executive director of sustainable operations for JV Smith Cos.
Morales previously was general manager of JV Farms Organic, Soledad, Calif. He’s been a farmer for more than 45 years, according to a news release, and more than 30 of those years has been in organic farming.
The Organic Trade Association has named him Organic Farmer of Year, and he’s scheduled to receive that honor in September.
His new role includes overseeing all sustainability practices at the JV Smith Cos., but he’ll also be a spokesperson, sharing knowledge with other produce industry companies.
“I believe that sharing what I’ve learned with the industry, with schools, with future generations is not only my honor, but my responsibility,” Morales said in the release. “The future generations need to be well informed about initiatives for food safety, crop rotation and production and responsible sustainability.”
Owner Vic Smith said Morales is a natural leader on sustainability issues.
“We couldn’t be prouder to share his vision and his experience to the industry as we all move forward collectively to make this a better place for future generations,” Smith said in the release.
JV Smith Cos. Includes JV Farms, Promotora Agricola El Toro, Southern Colorado Farms, Skyline Potato, JV Farms Organic, Skyview Cooling, Triangle Farms and Fresh Innovations, according to the release.
The Organic Trade Association recently named Israel Morales Sr. of JV Farms Organic its Organic Farmer of the Year.
Morales is JV Farms Organic’s lead grower with over 40 years of farming experience. JV Farms Organic in Soledad, California, is committed to growing organic crops in an innovative and eco-friendly manner. The company grows 16 different organic vegetable crops in addition to conventional crops, according to the company website.
Israel has extensive experience not just in knowing what produce matches the type of soil, but also other factors important to soil health, according to a press release from the Organic Trade Association. As ranch manager, he has direct influence on the growing practices on all of the acres in his operation. Described by peers as living and breathing organic farming, he has both an old-school mentality on how to grow organically while also a flare for innovation.
A successful large-scale organic farmer, he is known as an excellent steward of land, minimizing disturbance, maximizing soil cover, maximizing biodiversity, and maximizing the presence of living roots, according to the press release. His primary focus is soil health, habitat diversity and reducing or eliminating organic pesticide use if he can. He has developed an innovative farming system using conservation tilllage beds that allows him to use cover crops on 80 to 90 percent of his acreage during the winter fallow.
Three individuals received leadership awards from the Organic Trade Association. Other awardees include Lynn Coody of Organic Agsystems Consulting who won the Growing the Organic Community Award, and Nate Powell-Palm of Cold Spring Organics who won the Rising Star Award.
The Organic Trade Association’s Annual Organic Leadership Award was established in 1997. Awardees are nominated by their peers and chosen unanimously by the association’s Board of Directors.
“Each year we look forward to recognizing those within the organic sector who have led with valuable contributions to help grow and expand organic agriculture and the products it markets. It is exciting to recognize outstanding farmers, where it all starts, and others along the organic value chain who play an instrumental role to further organic,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association.
The honorees will receive their leadership awards at a celebration dinner, September 11, at the Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore, MD, during Natural Products Expo East.