Increasing Post Harvest Processing Efficiency with Michael Kilpatrick – Farm Small, Farm Smart (FSFS120)

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In 1999, the Kilpatrick family moved to Granville, NY to get away from “city life.” In Granville, they had enough land to garden, which was very exciting! After a couple of years, the garden grew, so much so that by 2002 brothers Philip and Michael began selling their produce to neighbors and the community at large.

In 2003, Philip and Michael sat down and decided to make it a business. Thus, Kilpatrick Family Farm was born.

By 2005, the farm was selling at multiple weekly farmer’s markets with a handful of wholesale accounts. Fast forward ahead to 2011 and the Kilpatrick Family Farm had grown to a staff of 12, with 14 acres of vegetable production supplying 250 families with CSA vegetables.

Today Michael joins me to talk about some of the issues that he sees on farms that struggle with post-harvest processing and how most farms can improve that part of the process. He will also touch on the role that new food safety regulations will play on vegetable farms and how farmers can start preparing for that.

Notes from the episode with Michael Kilpatrick:

  • The number one thing we see is forgetting supplies. There should be a checklist all the things that you need to do with harvest.
  • I think the number one thing is controlling your weeds. If you’re harvesting in a weed free environment, you will going to be 3 to 4 times efficient.
  • Having a proper cooler, other farm has cooler of 42-48 degrees, for green you have a 32-36 degrees.
  • The number thing that I would recommend people to do is stand to watch and just observe.
  • We also do pictures of what product should look like, posted on the wall on the washing shed.
  • It will start with the process and hiring the right people that actually care. So many people have a purpose of working there. They can be trained as well but many people got bored mentally as well as emotionally and physically. After getting the right people on the board though is been available and open to suggestions. Having a leader that is also approachable too and there’s always been a constant improvement and that was farming and manufacturing is about. If that constant improvement we are looking out things and finding those best ideas and limiting those bottlenecks.
  • You’re job as a farmer asks you questions constantly and never be content to that what you’re doing as the right way.  
  • The number one thing is to get rid of wood in your washed pack area. Looking at your tables and stuff, they should be a washable, sanitizable and cleanable surface. A concrete block wall is a not good because it also has pores. But once you paint it and fill it, it would completely food safe.
  • If you can reduce a step on the farm do it, if your customers don’t really care then don’t wash. One of the reasons to wash is the hydro-cool.  Washing gives the advantage of hydro-cooling and mixing.

Connect with Michael:

In The Field Consultants

Dry Your Greens Course

Build a Better Bubbler Course

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