Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:01 am
Recently there was a meeting held by a rep from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. In attendance were many sellers and customers of our local Farmers Market. The subject was the new rules and regulations concerning Farmers Market. Our state was targeted by the USDA. Our county was the first to be subject to the new rules. As an example: anything packaged must have all ingredients listed on the package and be from a certified domestic or commercial kitchen. So much for a bag of apples or home made cookies. Yes you can get a kitchen certified for $140.00 but it must be separate from your home kitchen. There goes all the jams and jelly's from Ms. Farmer. Anything sold by weight must be weighed on a certified scales. Out with a pound of tomatoes. However, those tomatoes can be sold by volume but must be put in the costumers bag at purchase. Refer to packaging rule. Eggs, nothing about how they were produced but the farmer must put them in new containers not the once used ones from the grocery store. This list goes on and on. Enforcement will be on a local level by the City health inspector ( also a part time bag boy at the grocery store) and supervised by the TDA and over seen by the USDA. Failure to comply will be a $50.00 fine and second time is expulsion from the market. The compliance with the new rules get complicated. If a customer gets a belly ache after eating an improperly packaged apple the door is opened to a law suit against the market, the Fair Grounds where the market is located, the City because it owned the Fair Grounds, and the County because the City is located there. Get the idea? This is not a joke. The number of vendors last Saturday was about half of normal. What ever happened to the idea of eating fresh from the garden and support your local farmers?
Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:13 am
Sad situation for sure. Makes one wonder what things will be like 20 years from now. Local family near her grows veggies from their field and said they spend a whole bunch of time doing book work proving everything put on the land and proving where and when everything was done and is getting to the point theyre ready to give it up.
Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:18 am
End of an era, and you hate to see it happening. Much of it however, has been brought on by the way items are handled by the sellers at the markets. At our local farmers market, i will only buy form a few sellers I know. Some of them I would not take items form if they gave them to me.
Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:21 pm
Dan it's sad that it's come to an end but as John mentioned a lot of the vendors selling produce are not concerned with your health a classic example is the flea market at N.Wilkesboro,NC on mondays most of what is sold there are mexicans and you can tell by looking at it it's not fresh.
Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:17 pm
We are drowning in regulations. Why not leave the judging to the consumer? Why does big brother have to make all our decisions? I'm fed up with oversight.
Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:34 am
If bad is good we still have the choice to buy or not to buy.
Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:08 am
challenger wrote:We are drowning in regulations. Why not leave the judging to the consumer? Why does big brother have to make all our decisions? I'm fed up with oversight.
I do not like all the oversight either, but the problem is not how fresh or how nice the produce looks, it is the cleanliness and sanitary conditions of the raising and handling. You would be amazed at the number of places that dump human waste in truck patch areas, use the restroom and continue to pick or handle produce without washing, etc.
Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:51 am
Michigan just sort of went the other way making it ok to sell from home kitchens that are not inspected. Labeling requirements kind of stiff. Jam, pickles and stuff is now ok. Not just sure how it affects farmers markets but I see no proabition (sp?) as long as it is sold by who made it. Produce at a farmers market proabaly isn't worse than the grocery store, think all the nationwide recalls on produce, meat and right now eggs. We do have some farmers markets which require all produce be grown within 50 miles. Michigan people if interested - I started by googleing Michigan public act 112 of 2010.
Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:41 pm
It started here in Pa. a few years back with the orchards, they were no longer allowed to make cider from apples that had fallen from the tree to the ground. the most recent is the raw milk fight , in pa it's permissable to sell it in some states like wisconson it's illegal. now the farmers that sell raw milk have to have their own bottler if they want to continue to sell even at the farm. I agree with the over regulation stuff when it ties the hands of the small farmer and from my view that's all its about. The big producers have so much clout with their lobbyist it's almost impossible for the small guy to make a buck .http://www.foodroutes.org/
Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:51 am
We go to farmers' markets near us as much as possible to support local growers.
Makes you wonder when your school or church will no longer be able to have a bake sale too?
Maybe I'm off...but isn't any grocery store just a farmers market as well?
I will self-censor my opinion of the Tenn regulations put into play.
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