Farmer's market participatants should attend class

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By Dennis Morgeson

I wanted to let you know about a unique opportunity for those of you that want to or do sell canned or processed foods at farmers markets, roadside stands, or even from your  farm or home. To legally do so you must be microprocessor certified, which means you have to attend a day long class on the subject provided by Dr. Sandra Bastin from the University of Kentucky, however these classes are generally at least  70 to 200 miles from us!  On April 20, 2009 Dr. Bastin is going to be at the Washington County Extension office providing a convenient class for those in Washington and surrounding counties.

Class will begin at 9 a.m. and will run until around 4 p.m.  If you would like to attend, call me at the Washington County Extension Office at 859-336-7741. The cost to attend this class is $50 (which is much cheaper than the state does it) and lunch will be provided. You must have this certification and get your label approved by Dr. Bastin and the state to legally sell processed products like salsa, ketchup, canned vegetables, barbecue sauce, etc. You don’t have to have microprocessor certification to sell jams and jellies but you do have to have your label approved and it is a separate process. Dr. Bastin will answer all of your questions on these subjects and it would be of interest to you to attend even if you are only selling jams, etc.

If some of you are hesitant to attend or shell out $50 to be legal, you need to realize if you are caught selling illegally, you could get the farmers market shut down, or even sued, especially if someone gets sick and blames you.  It is harder for someone to blame you if you have the proper training and are legally selling your products. So, for your safety, and for food safety you should get certified.  Even if you aren’t planning to sell processed products, it is a good thing to have your certification in case you change your mind, especially since it is very rare for this class to be offered in this area.  I am taking the class too even though I don’t plan to sell processed products, and yes, I am paying the $50 as well. I feel I need to know what is involved in the process since I work with the farmers market and need to get certified sellers there.