Tag Archive: Food

Farmers Prepare for the New Food Safety Standards

If you are a farmer, you have most likely heard about the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA, by now. If you are not a farmer, you probably do not know that food safety regulations are going through a big change. The FSMA, which was passed in 2011, is considered the largest update to food safety regulation in over 80 years.

The proposed produce safety rule under the FSMA is very robust, establishing the minimum standards for worker training, health and hygiene, agricultural water use, animal soil amendments, on-farm domesticated and wild animals, equipment, tools, buildings, and sprout production.

But this new rule will not apply to all farmers. The commodities they produce and the value of their produce sold will ultimately dictate whether they will need to comply.

First, the rule does not apply to produce that is not a raw agricultural commodity, or commodities the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified as “rarely consumed raw.” Secondly, if a farm has an average value of produce sold of $ 25,000 or less within the previous three years, they are also exempt.

If the farmer produces an agricultural commodity in which the rule applies and the value of their produce sold is over $ 25,000, it is still possible the farm will be exempt from most of the requirements.

Fresh cucumbers, for example, are considered a raw commodity. But cucumbers that will undergo further processing, such as for pickling, would be eligible for exemption from the produce rule. Photo by Molly Jameson.

For instance, if the average annual monetary value of food sold directly to qualified end-users was more than the average annual value of the food sold to all other buyers within the previous three-year period, the farmer would meet the first half of exemption eligibility.

What is a “qualified end-user”, you ask? They are considered the consumers of the food, or restaurant or retail food establishment, located with the same state as the farm that produced the food (or no more than 275 miles).

But even if farmers meet the above exemption eligibility standards, they must also meet the second requirement. That is, the average annual monetary value of all food sold during the three-year period must be less than $ 500,000, when adjusted for inflation.

If this all sounds confusing, you are not alone! This is why the FDA developed a chart to help farmers determine if they will be exempt: Standards for Produce Safety – Coverage and Exemptions/Exclusions for Proposed 21 PART 112.

Whether farms will be exempt from the FSMA produce safety rule or not, it is always a good idea to follow good agricultural practices and to have a farm food safety plan. To learn more about food safety on farms, view the EDIS document Food Safety on the Farm: An Overview of Good Agricultural Practices.

If you are a farmer, or know someone who would benefit from having a food safety plan, the UF Small Farms Academy Extension Agents are offering a Building Your Own Farm’s Food Safety Manual Workshop in Tallahassee to help growers develop their own food safety manuals.

The workshop is tailored to fresh fruit and vegetable farms, fields, or greenhouses and is partially supported by a grant through the Florida Specialty Crops Block Grant program from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service.

The registration fee is $ 35 for the first person representing a farm and $ 15 for an additional attendee from that farm. The workshop is limited to 20 farms on a first come, first serve basis.

The workshop will take place at the Amtrak Station, County Community Room, 918 Railroad Ave, in Tallahassee, FL, on Tuesday, May 23, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Register on Eventbrite by following this link: https://farmfoodsafetymanualworkshop.eventbrite.com

Please note, this class will help farmers develop their farm’s food safety manual, but it does not fulfill the new FDA FSMA one-time training requirement.

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Author: Molly Jameson – mjameson@ufl.edu

Molly Jameson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/05/12/farmers-prepare-for-the-new-food-safety-standards/

Farm Food Safety Certification Training – February 13

A Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training is scheduled for Monday, February 13 at the Jackson County Extension Office in Marianna, FL.  The PSA Grower Training curriculum is approved by the FDA to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

Who Should Attend? – Fruit and vegetable growers with farms that have an annual value of produce sold (based on a three year average) of $ 25,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more.

Benefits to Attending – The course will cover the requirements of the FSMA produce safety rule.  It will also cover key Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are necessary in a farm food safety plan.

Cost to Attend – The fee for the training is $ 150.  For attendees who are members of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA), a discounted rate of $ 99 is available.  (Not sure if you’re a member?  Contact Sonia Tighe at 321-214-5245 or sonia.tighe@ffva.com).  Registration fee includes the training materials, lunch, refreshments, and a Certificate of Course Attendance that complies with the training requirements of FSMA.

Registration

Registration Deadline is February 6, 2017

PSA TRAINING AGENDA

  • 8:30 Registration and Refreshments
  • 9:00 Welcome and Introductions
  • 9:15 Module 1: Introduction to Produce Safety
  • 10:00 Module 2: Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training
  • 11:00 Break
  • 11:15 Module 3: Soil Amendments
  • 12:00 Module 4: Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use
  • 12:45 Lunch
  • 1:30 Module 5: Agricultural Water Part 1: Production Water
  • 2:15 Part 2: Postharvest Water
  • 3:15 Break
  • 3:30 Module 6: Postharvest Handling and Sanitation
  • 4:30 Module 7: How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan
  • 5:00 Final Questions and Evaluations

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Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/01/07/farm-food-safety-certification-training-february-13/

Things You Should Know About Farm Food Safety

Things You Should Know About Farm Food Safety

It seems like years ago that the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law, but it was actually 2011.  With a new congress convening this week, and the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump on January 20th, the outlook for FSMA is unpredictable.  Whatever the future may hold, there are a number of important food safety compliance facts you should know.

Exempt/Excluded Status

Depending on the size of your farm, what you grow, or your clientele, you may be exempt or excluded from FSMA.  Whatever your status may be, it is important that you understand food safety protocol and that you proactively and reactively reduce food safety risks on your farm.

  • Farms that have an annual value of produce sold of $ 25,000 (based on a three year average, adjusted for inflation) or less are not covered by the regulation.
  • The farm must have food sales less than $ 500,000 per year (based on a three year average, adjusted for inflation) AND the farm’s direct sales to qualified end-users must exceed sales to all buyers combined during the previous three years. (A qualified end-user is either the consumer of the food or a restaurant or retail food establishment that is located in the same state or the same Indian reservation as the farm or not more than 275 miles away.)
  • Produce Not Covered by the Regulation
    • Produce commodities that FDA has identified as rarely consumed raw: asparagus; black beans, great Northern beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, and pinto beans; garden beets (roots and tops) and sugar beets; cashews; sour cherries; chickpeas; cocoa beans; coffee beans; collards; sweet corn; cranberries; dates; dill (seeds and weed); eggplants; figs; ginger; hazelnuts; horseradish; lentils; okra; peanuts; pecans; peppermint; potatoes; pumpkins; winter squash; sweet potatoes; and water chestnuts.
    • Produce that is used for personal or on-farm consumption.
    • Produce that is not a raw agricultural commodity.  (A raw agricultural commodity is any food in its raw or natural state.)
  • A farm with the qualified exemption must still meet certain modified requirements, including prominently and conspicuously displaying the name and the complete business address of the farm where the produce was grown either on the label of the produce or at the point of purchase.

Compliance Deadlines

Required compliance dates are set based on farm size – the larger the farm, the sooner it will need to be in compliance.

  • Very small businesses, defined as greater than $ 25,000 but less than $ 250,000 in average annual (previous three year period) produce sales, will need to comply with the regulation within four years.
  • Small businesses, defined as greater than $ 250,000 but less than $ 500,000 in average annual (previous three year period) produce sales, will need to comply with the regulation within three years.
  • All other businesses, defined as greater than $ 500,000 in average annual (previous three year period) produce sales, will need to comply with the regulation within two years of the effective date.
  • Compliance dates for farms eligible for qualified exemptions are:
    • Labeling requirements (if applicable): January 1, 2020
    • Retention of records supporting eligibility for a qualified exemption: Effective date of final rule (January 26, 2016)
    • For all other modified requirements for farms growing covered produce other than sprouts: Very small businesses—4 years, Small businesses—3 years

Note:  The compliance dates for certain aspects of the agricultural water requirements allow an additional two years beyond each of these compliance dates.

Washing lettuce. Photo Credit: Cornell University Extension

Employee Training

Regardless of whether your farm has implemented a food safety plan or not, the FDA requires approved training under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.

  • At least one supervisor or responsible party from a farm subject to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule must have successfully completed food safety training, at least equivalent to the standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the FDA.
  • All workers that handle or contact covered produce or supervise workers must be trained based on FSMA standards.  Everyone working on the farm should receive annual instruction on how to accomplish his/her job.  Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) should be developed to provide clear step-by-step instructions for how workers should complete their daily tasks.
  • Visitors to the farm must be made aware of food safety policies set by the farm, and visitors must have access to toilet and handwashing facilities.

To read more on FSMA, please visit The Food Safety Modernization Act and the FDA Facility Registration Program.

An approved Food Safety Training is scheduled for February 13 in Marianna at the Jackson County Extension Office.  For more information, and to register for the training, please visit:

Farm Food Safety Certification Training – February 13

 

 

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Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/01/06/things-you-should-know-about-farm-food-safety/

Firespikes for Fall Color and Hummingbird Food

Firespikes for Fall Color and Hummingbird Food

firespike-15Looking to add something to brighten your landscape this autumn?   Firespike (Odontonema strictum) is a prolific fall bloomer with red tubular flowers that are very popular with hummingbirds and butterflies.  It’s glossy dark green leaves make an attractive large plant that will grow quite well in dense shade to partial sunlight.  In frost-free areas firespike grows as an evergreen semi-woody shrub, spreads by underground sprouts and enlarging to form a thicket.  In zones 8 and 9 it usually dies back to the ground in winter and resprouts in spring, producing strikingly beautiful 9-12 inch panicles of crimson flowers beginning at the end of summer and lasting into the winter each year.  Firespike is native to open, semi-forested areas of Central America.  It has escaped cultivation and become established in disturbed hammocks throughout peninsular Florida, but hasn’t presented an invasive problem.  Here in the panhandle, firespike will remain a tender perennial for most locations. It can be grown on a wide range of moderately fertile, sandy soils and is quite drought tolerant. Firespike may be best utilized in the

Image Credit UF / IFAS Gsrdening Solutions

Image Credit UF / IFAS Gsrdening Solutions

landscape in a mass planting. Plants can be spaced about 2 feet apart to fill in the area quickly. It is one of only a few flowering plants that give good, red color in a partially shaded site. The lovely flowers make firespike an excellent candidate for the cutting garden and is a “must-have” for southern butterfly and hummingbird gardens.  Additional plants can be propagated from firespike by division or cuttings.  However, white-tailed deer love firespike too, and will eat the leaves, so be prepared to fence it off from “Bambi”.

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Author: Sheila Dunning – sdunning@ufl.edu


http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu

Sheila Dunning

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/11/08/firespikes-for-fall-color-and-hummingbird-food/

Alabama Food Safety Training November 3

The Mobile County Extension Office will be hosting a Food Safety Training Class on Thursday, November 3 from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.  The Class will be held at the Gulf Coast Research & Extension Center, 8300 State Highway 104, Fairhope, AL 36532.

The class will be conducted by Produce Safety Alliance trainers and will educate growers about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and will provide details on how to develop a farm food safety plan.

fresh-everyday-produce-standThe course will allow participants to gain a basic understanding of:

  • Microorganisms
  • Microbial Risk Mitigation
  • Farm Food Safety Plan Development
  • FSMA Produce Safety Rule Requirements

Upon completion of the class, participants will be eligible to receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) that verifies successful completion of the class.

For more information about the class, please see the class flyer.

Not all farms are required to be in compliance with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. The training is free to Alabama residents and costs $ 120 for out-of-state participants.  For compliance clarification or to register for the workshop please call the Mobile County Extension Office at (251)574-8445.

 

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Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/22/alabama-food-safety-training-november-3/

“Egg”cellent Food Safety Tips for Your Holiday

“Egg”cellent Food Safety Tips for Your Holiday

Easter Egg picIt seems that everywhere you look, an egg hunt is being advertised, egg dye kits are on every corner in the store, and the Internet is a-buzz with cool decorating ideas. Keep in mind this season that this fun family activity could turn rotten if you forget food safety.

Outbreaks of foodborne illness, especially salmonella, have been associated with the improper preparation and storage of eggs. Salmonella is not something you want to remember when you think back to memories of decorating and hunting eggs in the spring.

Common symptoms of salmonella include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, and headache. Children are one population most susceptible to foodborne illness.

There is no reason to worry about potential food safety hazards associated with your holiday eggs as long as you remember to follow these guidelines:

  • Clean and sanitize your hands, preparation area, and utensils before, during, and after the cooking process.
  • Use eggs that are clean and free of cracks and leaks.
  • Cook eggs completely – no rushing or short cuts. If you don’t have the time, pick another day to do it.
  • Use only food-grade dyes; these include food coloring and dye sold in egg dye kits.  Use beet juice, blueberry juice, etc. as alternatives to artificial dye.
  • Refrigerate eggs as soon as you are finished decorating or, if decorating later, after cooking and drying.
  • The refrigerator door is the warmest spot in your fridge; store eggs in the carton in the main compartment, not in the door.
  • Toss eggs that have been out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.  If eggs are not “found” or eaten, within this time, make the sacrifice and throw them away (of course, do this while the kids aren’t looking.)
  • When hiding eggs for a hunt, keep them in areas that are clean, free of dirt, and away from pets or pests.  Consider decorating one set for hunting and another for eating.
  • Hard-boiled eggs are safe for up to one week with proper cooking, storing, and handling procedures.

Keep these guidelines in mind for an “egg”cellent holiday with family, friends, and fun!

 

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Author: jbreslawski – jbreslawski@ufl.edu

jbreslawski

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/03/11/eggcellent-food-safety-tips-for-your-holiday/

Food Safety Workshop: “Building Your Farm Food Safety Manual” March 24

picture for post

Food Safety Workshop: “Building Your Own Farm’s Food Safety Manual”

Thursday, March 24 9:15 AM – 5:00 PM

UF/IFAS Extension Holmes County 1169 E. Hwy 90  Bonifay, FL 32425

ONLINE REGISTRATION

If you plan to develop a Food Safety Program for your fruit and/or vegetable farming operations, field or greenhouse, this one day workshop is for you!  Most intermediate or large chain store buyers now require some level of food safety program from each farm before they buy.  Even smaller operations selling directly to consumers may be advised to develop a manual for their farm.  This issue has become an important component of doing everyday business on today’s farms and will be even more important in the future.

University of Florida/IFAS Extension is offering a one day workshop to help growers actually develop their own food safety manuals.  When you complete this one day workshop, you will have built the main parts of your own food safety manual.

The classes will be done on a computer (one laptop provided per farm if needed) and will be limited to 10 farms, using a web-based food safety manual development program.  Those farmers needing assistance on the computer can bring a computer-savvy helper.

The class will be held at the UF/IFAS Extension Holmes County Office, located at 1169 East. Hwy 90 in Bonifay.  The registration fee is $ 35.00 for the first person representing a farm and $ 15.00 for an additional attendee. The registration fee includes refreshments and lunch for the day.  This training is supported with funding from a Specialty Crops Block Grant through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Please complete the online registration by clicking HERE.  For more information please contact Blake Thaxton at 850-623-3868, Libbie Johnson at 850-475-5230, or Matt Lollar at 850-482-9620.

 

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Author: Libbie Johnson – libbiej@ufl.edu

Agriculture agent at UF IFAS Escambia County Extension.
http://escambia.ifas.ufl.edu/

Libbie Johnson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/03/05/food-safety-workshop-building-your-farm-food-safety-manual-march-24/

Escambia Winter Forages and Wildlife Food Plot Tour March 5

Escambia Winter Forages and Wildlife Food Plot Tour March 5

Adults and youth are welcomed to attend the Winter Livestock Forages and Wildlife Food Plot Tour on Saturday March 5th at 11:00 AM.  The tour will take place at the 4-H Livestock Facilities (5701 Highway 99, Molino, FL 32577).

Join us for a walk through the winter forage and wildlife food plots that were planted in Fall 2015. See a side-by-side comparison of old and new varieties of grass and small grains, clovers, and commercial mixtures.

The event is is free to attend, but we do request that you RSVP as we will be serving a bag lunch for participants.  Please contact the UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County office at 850-475-5230 to RSVP or for directions to the property.  Winter Grazing Cows

 

 

 

 

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Author: Libbie Johnson – libbiej@ufl.edu

Agriculture agent at UF IFAS Escambia County Extension.
http://escambia.ifas.ufl.edu/

Libbie Johnson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/02/13/escambia-winter-forages-and-wildlife-food-plot-tour-march-5/

Winter Forage & Wildlife Food Plot Tour March 4

Food Plot TourThe 2016 Winter Forage Wildlife Food Plot Tour will be held on March 4th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM at the West Florida Research and Education Center (4253 Experiment Dr. Hwy 182 Jay, FL 32565).

Join us for a walk through the winter forage and wildlife food plots that were planted in Fall 2015. Speakers from the University of Florida will provide information as we walk through the winter forage and wildlife food plots that were planted in Fall 2015.  See a side-by-side comparison of old and new varieties of grass and small grains, clovers, and commercial mixtures.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Ann Blount, UF/IFAS Extension Forage Specialist
  • Dr. Cheryl Mackowiak, UF/IFAS Extension Soil & Fertility Specialist

Download the Flyer: 16 Winter Forage Food Plot Tour

 

Make plans to attend, and RSVP by March 2 to Bethany Diamond at 850-675-6654 or by email at bethanydiamond@ufl.edu.

 

Foodplot Tour Sponsors

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Author: John Doyle Atkins – srcextag@ufl.edu

John Doyle Atkins is the Agricultural Agent in Santa Rosa County.

John Doyle Atkins

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/02/07/winter-forage-wildlife-food-plot-tour-march-4/

Holiday Food Prep FAQs

Holiday Food Prep FAQs

thermometer_in_turkey_in_panHave questions about safely preparing your holiday meal? Refer to this quick reference for answers to common questions this time of year:


Q. Approximately how long should you allow for thawing a frozen turkey in the refrigerator?

A. 24 hours per each 4 – 5 pounds of turkey. In it’s original wrapper, place the frozen bird in the refrigerator (40˚F or below). To prevent cross contamination, be sure to place the turkey in a container.  A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 days.

 

Q. How long should I cook the turkey?
A.
COOKING TIME – UNSTUFFED
Size of Turkey        Estimated Time to Reach 165˚F
8 – 12 pounds          2 ¾ – 3 hours
12 – 14 pounds        3 – 3¾ hours
14 – 18 pounds       3 ¾ – 4 ¼ hours
18 – 20 pounds       4 ¼ – 4 ½ hours
20 – 24 pounds       4 ½ – 5 hours

COOKING TIME – STUFFED
Size of Turkey      Estimated Time to Reach 165˚F
8 – 12 pounds        3 – 3 ½ hours
12 – 14 pounds      3 ½ – 4 hours
14 – 18 pounds     4 – 4 ¼ hours
18 – 20 pounds     4¼ – 4 ¾ hours
20 – 24 pounds     4 ¾ – 5 ¼ hours

Q. What is a safe internal temperature for cooking a whole turkey?
A. 165˚F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey. Insert the thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast, making sure not to touch the bone.  All turkey meat, including any that remains pink, is safe to eat as soon as all parts reach at least 165˚F. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes after removing from the oven. Remove any stuffing and carve the turkey.

Q. What is the recommended temperature for stuffing?
A. 165˚F. The stuffing should reach 165˚F whether cooked inside the bird or in a separate dish.

Q. I want to stuff the turkey. How do I do this safely?
A.
1. Cook any raw meat, poultry, or shellfish you plan to use before stuffing the turkey. Do not mix wet and dry ingredients until just before stuffing the turkey cavity; wet ingredients can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated.
2. Spoon stuffing directly into the cavity right after preparation. Stuff loosely – plan for ¾ cup of stuffing per pound. The stuffing should be moist, not dry – bacteria is destroyed more quickly by heat in a moist environment. Do NOT stuff turkeys to be grilled, smoked, fried, or microwaved.
3. Cook the turkey immediately in an oven no lower than 325˚F.
4. Use a food thermometer to make sure the temperature of the turkey AND the center of the stuffing have reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165˚F.
5. Let the cooked turkey rest for 20 minutes before removing the stuffing and carving.

Q. How long can I keep leftovers?
A. Refrigerate all leftovers within two hours after cooking. Divide cooked foods into shallow containers; this allows the center of the food to cool more quickly and evenly. Use within 3-4 days or freeze for longer storage. Be sure to reheat hot foods to at least 165˚F; sauces, soups, and gravies should be heated to a rolling boil.

For more information about holiday foods and food safety (in English and Spanish), call: USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) www.fsis.usda.gov

Source: Avoid Guessing About Holiday Food Safety, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension.

 

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Author: Judy Corbus – jlcorbus@ufl.edu

Judy Corbus is the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent in Washington and Holmes Counties.
http://washington.ifas.ufl.edu;http://holmes.ifas.ufl.edu

Judy Corbus

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/11/27/holiday-food-prep-faqs/

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