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Important notes about Quality Assurance

Local food buyers stated that they expect the farm vendor to "stand good for the product". But what is meant by “stand good for the product”? Is there a 100% quality assurance guarantee upon delivery? Generally, quality assurance means the product meets the company specifications, complies with the appropriate USDA grading and standards, and is of good quality and condition.

One way to ensure quality is to be prepared. Preparedness goes hand-in-hand with a farm food safety plan. To learn more about developing a farm food safety plan, check out this YouTube presentation from the March 2023 OAK field day: We also have two written resources regarding food safety plans led by Bryan Brady -- you can view them here: 



Are you interested in learning more about how to keep products fresh on the shelf? Check out this presentation from a 2022 OAK field day for more information about shelf-life and quality: 

Important notes about Temperature Control

Temperature control varies by product and customer type when selling from the farm to the restaurant. You may be able to take chives in a cooler directly from your farm to the local country club—but that method may not meet an institution’s requirements (or generally accepted food safety practices) for purchasing ground beef. Maintaining the cold chain (a temperature-controlled supply chain) is crucial to delivering a quality product that will maintain product freshness and shelf life.

Important notes about Satisfaction Guarantee

In marketing directly to restaurants, you’ll be competing with wholesalers that regularly make adjustments and credits when product quality was down. Guaranteeing the satisfaction of your product is critical to developing your farm’s relationship with a chef. Wholesalers often expected the farm vendor to stand by their products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. All of the firms maintain the right to refuse a product if it does not meet their quality standards.

Have you heard about the Produce Safety Rule?

The Produce Safety Rule or FSMA establishes mandatory science-based, minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. These standards are designed to work effectively for food safety across the wide diversity of produce farms. 

Do you need to take the Produce Safety Alliance grower training? Click here to see the next available training dates.  

Here are some resources about FSMA to help you understand whether you are or are not exempt from this ruling: 

MarketReady's Best Practices for success

  • Discuss cold chain requirements with buyers
  • Educate yourself about safe food handling practices
  • Have the necessary documents for USDA and local health inspectors
  • Attend Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) / Produce Best Practices (PBP) Training

Interested in GAP, FSMA, or PBP Training?

Check out the cost-share program from our partners at the Kentucky Horticulture Council: here.

Check out the resources for Produce Best Practices here, from our friends at the Center for Crop Diversification.

Are you interested in on-farm assistance with your GAP audit? Check out Cultivate Kentucky and reach out to Bryan Brady. He is a Senior Extension Specialist who works directly with Kentucky farmers and food aggregators and delivers one-on-one technical assistance, field days, workshops, webinars, and publications. 

Here are the Food System Innovation Center's contacts for GAP and FSMA Training: Dr. Paul Vijayakumar.