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Government Visit

August 2, 2012

The process of running a store like the Wild Ramp involves inspections by many government entities.  In order to open in the first place we needed to have the local Huntington  inspectors for the renovations we had made to the space. When we finally earned our Certificate of Occupancy, we moved all the activity inside and it sure was nice for the people and the produce to be in the air conditioning.

Yesterday we were visited by the State of West Virginia and the Federal Meat Inspectors.  They verified that the meat we have for sale in the Wild Ramp has been processed the way deemed legal here in West Virginia and that it is stored in a safe manner for you to purchase.

The rules are interesting.  If the animal is in West Virginia and will be sold in West Virginia (in the Wild Ramp Market, for example or in a grocery store) the meat can be processed with a West Virginia inspection. If the animal is in Kentucky or Ohio and the meat will be coming to West Virginia, the processing is required to be done at a USDA (federal) facility.  Poultry can be processed at the farm, but if it is being brought over state lines, it also needs to have the USDA emblem on the label. There are a myriad of exceptions.  The farmers know them and the inspectors will keep us all in line.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2012 2:48 pm

    while I understand why out of State meats etc have to be inspected, it still bugs me that a small farmers market to remain open is determined by a single individual when multiple inspectors at packing plants constantly allow (or miss) tainted meat to be packaged and sold…then months later after everyone gets sick, they order a recall. (But the plants stay open in the meantime).

    • August 2, 2012 7:17 pm

      I want to understand the rules as they exist now so we can work to get the good healthy local food to people who want it.

  2. kennyrice permalink
    August 2, 2012 5:35 pm

    Small business gets regulated while big business makes the regulations. Otherwise they couldn’t compete. Big business hates competition.

    • August 2, 2012 7:16 pm

      Before getting involved with local foods I also assumed that the government regulations were there to protect us. As I research more, it becomes pretty disturbing.

  3. August 2, 2012 7:35 pm

    Ten years ago, I owned a small restaurant in the Keys. While the large franchises seemed to get away with murder we smaller businesses constantly had code enforcement and the Health department responding to “anonymous” complaints of violations. Laws were made and enforced that we small businesses had a hard time affording. When we banned together to complain, we were told the ‘laws’ were made to protect the customer and if we couldn’t comply, we would face closure. (Eg: no purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables such as bananas, pineapples, mango’s etc from ‘private’ gardens.) I sold my restaurant and moved. Today, a restaurant chain from New Jersey occupies the property. It’s more than just about fresh, local foods though, it’s also about small businesses being allowed to exist in the same area as large vendors using our own creative ingenuity. This is one reason I so hope the Wild Ramp succeeds.

    • August 3, 2012 1:05 am

      There are rules and laws and ordinances that are truly annoying but so far we have had great support not only from the community but from the powers that be. We’ve heard rumors that we are stealing farmers from the longstanding market on the other side of town, but we have not solicited anyone directly from there, and that is only a seasonal summer market anyway. One foot in front of the other.

      • kennyrice permalink
        August 3, 2012 1:16 am

        Stealing customers? That’s business! They can try to get them back if that is what they think. Competition is/was an American tradition because it serves the public best while spurring progress, efficiency, innovation. Its the lack of competition that is behind the decline of our schools. Watch out for the next label: cutthroat competition.

      • August 3, 2012 1:38 am

        The Market has taken off….with very little quiet time between shoppers. We are very excited and please at the response by the community. Encouraging farmers to join is part of the process but we will not actively “steal” anyone away from a contractual market agreement. IN time, that market will close and the farmer who bring produce there may decide a year round market looks beneficial.

      • August 3, 2012 1:37 am

        Best of Luck! Keep telling us all what’s going on there 🙂

      • August 3, 2012 1:39 am

        You know me well enough already….I think communication is an important way to make sure people make informed decisions.

  4. August 2, 2012 7:46 pm

    It’s clearly not an even playing field. I think the above comment “Small business gets regulated while big business makes the regulations” says it all. It’s hard enough to get established, but then to have to struggle against such unfair competition is so sad. It’s why I’m happy to go out of my way or even to pay more (though you’ve proved that isn’t always the case) to support local businesses and farmers.

    • August 3, 2012 1:02 am

      I once heard a statement that a conspiracy theory can never be disproved. While I hate to think that the regulatory agencies are making decisions on factors other than public health, the research I have done on a number of topic begs the issue as well. I suppose to play within the rules, you have to know them and understand them in order to recognize where the wiggle room may be to be able to do what you want.

  5. August 3, 2012 9:55 pm

    I think it has to be said as well, though, that customers, especially those not accustomed to buying directly from a producer, or a direct market like yourselves, place a high degree of trust in governmental oversight for food safety. You and I might know that to be misguided, but it’s a fact. I think markets like Wild Ramp are in a position to build relationships between customers and their food sources so that eventually customers will wake up and ask the questions they should have been asking all along – where did it come from, how was it raised, what went into that? How was it harvested? Stored? etc. WHO grew my food? It’s only when they get comfortable learning answers to those questions that they will start to ask other questions – why can’t I get answers like this for the plastic wrapped stuff at the supermarket? Those blue crunchy things in my blueberry muffin mix are supposed to be blueberries, but they sure don’t taste like these fresh ones, so what are they? Wild Ramp really offers a transition platform for both customer and producer to meet on neutral, government approved turf. It shouldn’t have to be government approved, but the fact that it is makes it easier for the customer.

    • August 3, 2012 10:55 pm

      Very well put…..and tomorrow I will take a survey at the Wild Ramp for about an hour to find out what people are thinking about the experience shopping there and if there is anything we can do/better/more/instead

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