From: Glades Ridge, Inc.
Date: Sat, Sep 19, 2009 at 11:35 AM
Subject: Alachua County Farmers Market
The reason that I’m sending you this email is to let you all know why Glades Ridge Dairy is not at the Alachua County Farmers Market.
Yesterday I received a call from Helen Emery, the president of the Board of the Alachua County Farmers Market. Helen informed me that we were suspended from selling our milk and cheese until the next Board meeting in October, when it will be decided whether or not to suspend us permanently. The reasoning behind this decision was not because anything bad had occurred, and is as follows – we are selling unpasteurized dairy products and the Board fears that, if anyone became ill from eating our products, they would be liable and sued. Helen told me that they had consulted with a number of attorneys and other scientific experts. The conclusion of these experts was that the sale of our dairy products at the Alachua County Farmer’s Market was a liability due to the inherent dangers of raw milk, and because our customers may not be fully aware of or educated about what they were purchasing. [Note that we are in full compliance with all Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulations and possess a fully executed permit to sell raw milk/dairy as long as it is properly labeled.]
I responded with the following points:
* Our products are prominently labeled as “pet food, not for human consumption”. The label/warning is on our signs, packaging and literature. We point it out to our customers when we sell.
* E. coli or salmonella can contracted from many fresh food products, and the sale of raw vegetables and fruits at the market holds similar liability.
* We maintain a valid permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to sell dairy products “for pet food only”, and also have liability insurance as required by the Farmers Market.
* There has never been a reported illness due to the sale of raw dairy products in FL.
* We could not continue to farm if we had to extend our resources to pasteurization, and besides, unpasteurized products are not what our customers want.
* That pasteurization did not provide fool-proof protection against illness.
After I spoke with Helen, I called Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund and spoke with Pete Kennedy, FTCLDF attorney and Tampa resident. Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund was established a few years ago to defend farmers that were legally selling raw dairy and vegetable products and also to protect the right of consumers to purchase these products. Pete agreed to contact Helen Emery. I will let you know how this transpires. Pete also told me that this was the first case in the US that FTCLDF was aware of where a dairy that complied with all state regulations and market requirements was prohibited from selling by the market itself.
We sincerely hope to be back at the Alachua County Farmers Market soon. Until then, our products are available for pick-up from the farm. We are located north on SR 121 to Worthington Springs, and then about five miles west on CR 18. If you’d like to pick up at the farm, call me at 386-266-7041 for directions and to arrange a pick-up time. I’ll be glad to introduce you to the dairy herd too, and you can also see first-hand where the does are milked and cheese is produced. We are committed to producing quality products for you, and want you all to know that we will do everything that we can to be back at space #20 selling milk, cheese and eggs as soon as possible. If you go to the market and are so inclined, let the market manager, Jared Sweat and any of the board that happen to be there, know what you think. Your support is vital to helping us resolve this. You can also contact the market via email: Jared Sweat’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org and Helen Emery’s is email@example.com
Thanks very much, and we hope to see you soon.
Joe Pietrangelo for Glades Ridge Dairy
Joe Pietrangelo and Greg Yurish, owners/operators
p.s. – I’ve included a few informative links, below:.
Glades Ridge Dairy Farm
Lake Butler, Union County, FL 32054