Role: Assistant Professor of Produce Safety Systems and Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, CSU Fort Collins and Lead Scientist for the Spur Produce Facility
How are you connected to Spur?
I am responsible for the produce facility that will work directly with the minimally processed food industry in research and development of minimally processed foods (examples: fresh cut, dehydration, ready to eat, fresh fruits and vegetables), validation of food safety systems, shelf-life studies, environmental monitoring, and risk assessment in agriculture and processing environments.
When did you get involved with Spur and why is it important to you?
I got involved with Spur late 2020 a few months after my arrival at CSU. Since then, I was asked to help the team upgrade and develop the produce facility. This is important for the minimally processed food industry because this will be one of a few food facilities in the nation capable of providing a testing ground for the development and implementation of food safety hurdles within a medium size scale processing facility. It will also allow for product development that can be scaled into commercial kitchen conditions and sensory science analysis as we look to team up with other facilities within the Terra building. This facility could be the one stop shop for the minimally processed food industry for bringing a new product from concept to market or for existing companies to validate their current products to meet food safety requirements under the necessary biosafety levels.
What outcomes have you seen or do you expect from work at Spur?
There are many potential outcomes from that could come to fruition from the Terra produce facility, but three key goals are the following:
- Serve as a facility for product development, food safety, product, and process validation
- Provide industry relevant training on risk assessment, produce safety, microbiology within the minimally processed food industry
- Connect agriculture (either field, greenhouse, or rooftop/indoor farming) with the food industry to expand and support farmers and food processor business goals
What would you like others to know about Spur?
That Spur’s Terra building is a place where the consumer, grower, entrepreneur, and food processor can come to learn, interact, share knowledge, and develop business ideas within agriculture and food environments.