Some produce sold at farmer's markets scrutinized

Some produce sold at farmer's markets scrutinized

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by Jacqueline Quynh

KTVB.COM

Posted on April 16, 2012 at 7:24 PM

BOISE -- The Idaho Department of Agriculture says farmer's markets have been growing in popularity across the state, but they also want to make sure Idaho's native crops are protected.

So what does this mean for anyone who grows and sells produce in Idaho?

We spoke with a local farmer who says he's willing to comply with the rules, but says it could be a big change for other small farmers.

For example, small farmers may end up having to pay more for certified bean seeds.

Brandon Stankewsky, a local farmer with A Seed Planted Farms, which donates a portion of its crop to people in need, thinks despite the possible rise in costs, the alternative could be worse.

“It might go against somebody's better judgment if there's a better price online or through that type of trade, but when it comes down to it getting the onions or potatoes or the beans from an unsecure source could cause failure for Idaho crops that bring in money for our economy," said Stankewsky.

The Department of Agriculture is stressing, for example, that beans grown in Idaho come from approved bean seeds, to protect from new plant diseases.

Karen Ellis, who runs the Capital City Public market downtown, says local farmers markets have been rapidly expanding, that's why getting the message out to everyone has been hard.

“I don't think anybody even knows there were issues, that there were quarantines on so many things, so the Department of Ag is very busy, so they don’t have time to get out to all the little farmer markets," said Ellis.

In the end, Stankewsky says he'll comply with the rules, even if it costs him more.

"If it's to help prevent a catastrophic disease or some type of infestation, I'll follow the rules," said Stankewsky.

Ellis says the reaction from the farmers at her market so far has been positive.

The state Department of Agriculture tells us they're not trying to hurt or crackdown on businesses, but rather legitimize the efforts of these smaller farmers.

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