Best Practice Certification
Virgil Gamache Farms’ organic farming certification and recognized best manufacturing practices confirms our hard work to protect water resources, protect fish and promote healthy bio-diversity. The FDA certifes that our hop products that are safe and of the highest quality. That’s all part of our commitment to producing quality hops for quality brewers. Our promise to follow responsible practices is confirmed with an impressive number of certifications, that make Virgil Gamache Farms a leader in the industry.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
Virgil Gamache Farms, Inc. is FSMA Certified. VGF is one of a handful in the industry that is fully FSMA compliant. FSMA certification means we meet the revised, tougher best-farming and manufacturing standards Congress created in 2011. These practices enhance hop quality, product safety, and allow for complete traceability of products. Traceability is vitally important. In case of an industry safety event or a product recall, traceability provides vital information regarding when, where and how the products were produced.
FSMA is transforming the nation’s food safety system! This is happening as we shift the focus from responding to food-borne illness to preventing them. VGF is doing its part by utilizing advanced production and data management systems. This happens in the organic farming stage, and continues through harvest, processing and distribution. Thus, we can track every lot of hops, down to the individual bale. These management practices assure the highest level of product quality and safety to the consumer. They also provide accountability to our distributors and brewers.
Global G.A.P. Certification
In addition to FSMA certification, Virgil Gamache has obtained Global G.A.P. certification through our implementation of sustainable farming programs that are impacting agriculture worldwide. Specifically for hop growers, the program offers standards covering propagation material, soil management, pre-harvest evaluation, harvest and post-harvest activities. What’s more, participating farmers take steps to improve the safety, health and welfare of their workers, as well as to conserve natural resources. The Global G.A.P program at VGF is also one more level of product safety protection for our brewers. Learn more about Global G.A.P. here.
Besides Global G.A.P certification, Virgil Gamache Farms, Inc. incorporates organic farming methods and is Certified Organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture. To earn our organic hop farming certification we work diligently to recycle resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity. In addition, our organic hop farming cerfitifacation prohibits use of harmful inputs, such as sewage sludge, irradiation, genetic engineering and most synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
Finally, protection of our rivers, streams and ground water is a top priority for the Gamache family. For that reason, VGF farms works diligently to meet all the Salmon-Safe Certification requirements. This means that VGF is:
- Controlling erosion by planting soil-protecting cover crops
- Protecting the watershed to assure healthy salmon, rivers and streams
- Implementing Integrated Pest Management utilizing organic, natural pest control
- Using high-efficiency drip irrigation
- Preventing harmful chemicals from entering streams and aquifers
- Promoting plant and wildlife diversity in the region
You can learn more about Virgil Gamache farms family legacy in the Yakima Valley here.