The small farm exemptions raised concerns of both retail representatives.
“The exemption piece is a little bit of a concern, and we’re doing all we can do to get everyone on board,” Sprague said.
Salvanello said he is bothered by unfair competition of farmers markets and that do not refrigerate their products and also pay little or no rent and have no salaries to cover.
“The consumer is ignoring good common sense in buying products they wouldn’t accept in a supermarket,” Salvanello said.
Fair or not, consumers often think smaller produce growers have safer food than larger operations, said Henry Talmadge, executive director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau, Windsor. In addition, problems at smaller operations cause smaller-scale problems than large companies.
While the changes can be daunting, when addressed and broken down to what’s appropriate for an organization, it is manageable, Whitaker said.
“Once you get people over the hump, they see it’s not so hard,” Whitaker said.
John Alva, president of Rockhedge Herb Farms, said that had been his experience.
“Most farms can follow these rules, and if they don’t, they’re not being very safe,” Alva said.