Ag companies awarded

Three farm companies are among seven organizations the Oregon Sustainability Board recently awarded for sustainable business practices.

The Oregon Sustainability Board on Earth Day April 22 honored Harry & David of Medford, Truitt Bros. of Salem and Gingerich Farms of Canby.

"We honor these Oregonians for their leadership in understanding the benefits of sustainability to Oregon," Secretary of State Kate Brown said.

Harry & David, founded in 1934, is the nation's largest direct-mail marketer of gourmet fruit and food gifts.

Truitt Bros. is a family-run company that processes food for restaurants, businesses, schools, health care and retail operations. The food processor has been operated by David and Peter Truitt for more than 35 years.

Gingerich Farms is a fourth-generation family-owned farm that grows, packs and ships blueberries and hazelnuts. The farm, which also produces grass seed, has 1,200 acres under production.

--Mitch Lies

FDA food safety session set

Small-scale farmers and packing house operators in Oregon and Washington can comment on fresh produce food safety standards being developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at a listening session May 5 in Portland.

Officials from FDA, USDA, the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Washington State Department of Agriculture will be on hand.

FDA is developing fresh produce safety standards for farms and packinghouses, along with strategies to ensure compliance. Officials want to hear concerns and experiences. The input will help guide efforts to enact food safety regulations for the produce industry over the next few years.

ODA Director Katy Coba and WSDA Director Dan Newhouse will provide opening remarks at the listening session.

The Pacific Northwest Small Farms Listening Session will be 8:30 a.m. to noon on May 5 at the Sheraton Inn Portland Airport, 8235 NE Airport Way. Registration is not necessary.

Information: Contact Sherry Kudna of ODA by e-mail at skudna@oda.state.or.us or call 503-986-4619.

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