Fall lettuce harvest underway in the Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

Freshly cut romaine lettuce is being harvested just outside Downtown Fresno. Crews for Baloian Farms work at a steady pace to get the leaf lettuce to market. Some of this lettuce is destined for customers on the east coast and Canada.

Jeremy Lane said, "Those people that are ankle deep in snow, they can still have a fresh salad thanks to Fresno County."

Red leaf lettuce grows in stark contrast to the romaine, green leaf and butter leaf varieties over the 80 acres here. To raise consumer confidence Lane says Baloian Farms has formalized a food safety program.

"We test the water. We test the leaf lettuce itself," said Lane. "We test for e-coli and salmonella and well in advance before we get to the harvest."

Each box of lettuce carries a sticker which indicates the crop history in case of a recall. Mock recalls are conducted to test the traceback ability of the system.

Lane said, "Usually within half an hour we can tell them based on this sticker what field this box came from, what crew picked it, on what day they picked it."

Lane expects the lettuce season to last through Thanksgiving.

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