U-Pick Farm and Farm Stand Produce Safety Best Practices

Jennifer Jones and Kali Kniel, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Delaware

Late spring and early summer harvest is upon us. Along with excitement and enthusiasm for delicious produce as well as great sales, Produce Safety is an important element on a U-Pick Farm and at a Farm Stand. Inviting the public to participate in the harvest is also exciting, but there are good ways to engage the public while educating on produce safety, as well as about how your fruits and vegetables are produced. You may recall this information from your past produce safety training. You must make visitors aware of policies and procedures to protect covered produce and food contact surfaces from contamination by people and take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that visitors comply with such policies and procedures.

Communicating to your customers on produce safety best practices is a great start. Use signs to communicate farm expectations and important information to visitors, including location of handwashing stations or restrooms. Signs should have large, neat print and be easy to see and read, not obstructed by equipment or plants.

Engaging your visitors with information about food production practices and produce food safety can enhance their visit to your farm.

Best Practices for Produce Safety

Have accessible restrooms and hand washing station for employees and customers


Use dirty and used containers for harvesting produce

Have signage of visitor policies & procedures specific to your farm


Allow employees to handle produce while ill


Update employee training prior to the start of harvest


Bring family pets to the farm*

 *Animals can pose a food safety risk to farm biosecurity and fresh produce, as well as a potential risk to employees, market customers, and farm visitors. Farmers need to consider these risks while maintaining food safety regulatory compliance and buyer requirements. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) governs what actions are legally allowed regarding customers visiting your market or on your farm with service animals. Farmers can ask visitors questions about service animals, but not necessarily about the individuals’ disability or need for the animal. Information on state service animal law can be found here, as well as more information on service animals on farms.

Sign to alert farm visitors of produce food safety practices.

For questions or assistance on Produce Safety call Jennifer Jones 302-856-7303 or email at jbjones@udel.edu.