Post-Flood Food Safety at Red Wagon

I’ve had a few people contact me with concerns about the safety of our produce after the floods. The short story is that our produce did not come into contact with flood waters. Keep reading if you’d like the long story with more details…

Our farm fields are pretty isolated. We don’t have houses with septic systems near our fields. Our house is on septic, but there are no crops down-gradient from our septic system.

Valmont Road Farm

Flood waters did not reach our farm fields on Valmont Road. The creek washed out both entrances to our Valmont farm. However, the creek is down-gradient from our farm fields and the flooding creek water did not come anywhere close to our fields. Our fields were sopping wet from 10-12 inches of rain, but this was just rain water, not flood water from overflowing creeks.

63rd Street Farm

Flood waters did not reach most of our fields at our 63rd Street farm. Again, our fields were soaked from so much rainfall, but the flood waters from creeks only reached limited areas.

Left Hand Creek overflowed into our ditch, the Holland Ditch. The Holland Ditch overflowed into several holding ponds, then into parts of our fields at our 63rd Street Farm.

Flood waters can contain microbial or chemical contamination. The FDA web site says that food crops should be considered adulterated when flood waters contact the edible portions of crops. This was not the case with any of our crops. The flood waters from Left Hand Creek ran through our fields where 3 different crops are planted: strawberries, pumpkins, and tomatoes.

The ditch overflowed and flood waters ran between some of the beds where our strawberry plants are. However, these plants won’t produce berries again until next May or June.

Our irrigation holding pond overflowed into our pumpkin field. Several rows in our pumpkin field were submerged, but these are carving pumpkins–not intended for food.

The ditch overflowed and flood waters ran through the bottom of our tomato field. However, we grow our tomatoes on raised beds and we trellis the tomato plants to keep them off the ground. The water that flooded out of the ditch came between the raised beds, but did not touch the actual tomatoes.

The rest of the crops at our 63rd Street farm received heavy rain, but did not come into contact with flood waters. The fields are just soaked from too much rain water.

Additional Food Safety Information

We have received many emails from various government agencies advising us on post-flood food safety. We have also been working with our Boulder County Agricultural Extension Agent to assess risk and to address any potential food safety concerns. Here are some resources if you’d like to read more:

FDA guidance on flood-affected crops

Produce Safety and Flooded Fields

Boulder County Extension Flood Information

This entry was posted in 2013, Farm, Newsletter. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Post-Flood Food Safety at Red Wagon

  1. Regarding carving pumpkins: There are some idiots like me who don’t know that there’s a difference between carving pumpkins and cooking pumpkins; it might make sense to inform people that they shouldn’t try to use the carving pumpkins for food.

  2. Teresa Buttler says:

    Thank you so much for a thorough and reassuring update. I’m glad Red Wagon escaped worse damage from the flood!

  3. Emily says:

    Thanks for the informative update! This is wonderful news for those of us who love to eat your vegetables.

  4. Mara says:

    Thanks for this update–my family and I really appreciate it. There were so many articles in the local papers recently about how many crops might be contaminated, and then from the photos on your website it seemed like there was so much flooding, that it was helpful to read your clarification!

Comments are closed.