New VA food safety fee put a stop on our breads making!
I am a lover of Artisan bread making and has been making Artisan breads for sell at our Community market. Our market meets every Saturday from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. I am also a volunteered market manager and working hard to try to save our market. For three years I worked hard to try to get more vendors and customers to our market. All the costs of running the market come from the vendors fee which is $10.00 for each selling day. I do not get any payment for any work that I do.
After three years of trying to get funding from the Bedford County I was informed by the County Administrator that the only way to get any funding from the County is to set up the market as a non profit organization!
To set the market up as above takes a lot of time, brain power and money which we have none. The present economy cut down huge amount of vendors. They are now travelling to NC. to sell the meat and others.
Just to make the matter worst, two days ago I received two bills from the VA. Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services informed me that the food Inspection fee is now $100.00 for each site.( One for the market and one for my homemade bread making.) When I called to question them, I am told by one sympathetic Food Inspector in Richmond that the big box stores: Walmart, Kroger, Food Lions etc. are requried to pay the same fee!
The combine total income of our market during the season (May to Oct.) was probably less than $4000.00 and the Walmart...million? We have three bakers at our market, one Mom with 4 months old son, One school bus driver and me, a retiree on social security! I made about 10 to 12 loaves of breads and perhap a tray of focaccia (on my good day) for sell. I go to the market once or twice each month. I really enjoyed baking and the extra money give me a chance to buy bread book( One) and one benetton.
It is unfortunate that small business are not getting any help but large businesses get all the perk! I am very sad to see the market goes away because we have many nice vendors. We have fresh goat cheese (from the vendor's 11 goats), apple strudels (from the bus lady) and nice tarts from Mom with baby ( she traveled 75 miles round trip to come) . We have local honey, organic veggies and local fruits.All of us will be gone. The food inspector came to my house once and it took him 10 minute to look at the cabinet where I stored my flour. He has not come to inspect the market at all this year. On the VA. Agriculture website 'questions and answers" , One person asks why she has to pay the inspection fees when no one ever come to inspect her place! The answer was her store is low priority but she is still must pay the fee!
I am sorry to be so long winded but today is a sad day. All of us have to eat breads from Walmart,Kroger ... peaches,apples and veggies from Foreign Countries. Who is helping the little market? You can look at our market on www.monetasmlmarket.com