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Nov 9, 2011 03:30 PM

Fear of green market foods - homemade sold at the market

We have a few green markets back now that it's season here in South Fl and I have talked to a few people about how terrific the mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, home churned butter, organic eggs, home made yoghurts, breads, cakes, grass fed meats, fish etc are and some have said they wouldn't buy those goods at market because there's no way of knowing if the containers are sterilized or who checks their kitchens and processes. One friend said she would be scared to eat the yoghurt and would rather buy it at the supermarket.

I buy these kind of items all the time and have never suffered any kind of stomach bug but I know there is a fear of no sell by dates and 'safety' checks. I have said that you can get sick from supermarket dairy foods and meats anyhow but these people cannot be swayed.

Anybody else feel nervous?

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  1. Different Farmers' Markets have different rules about who can sell and what conditions their food must be produced under so for people who are nervous but would like to try those things it is worth it to contact the organization that sponsors the FM and see what their rules are. I just checked the rules at mine and it says "all unfarmed edible items...must be made in commercial kitchens approved by the County" so that makes me comfortable. I tend not to worry about those kind of things however--never had any kind of food poisoning in more than 60 years of life.

    1. I feel exactly the opposite. I buy small batch homemade items all the time, for thirty five years, no ill effect.

      1. So your friend thinks food manufacturing plants are limited to no rodent hairs or bug parts in their products and have no rats, roaches, etc. running around? Guess again.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mcf

          right mcf I have said this that there is no guarantee that something made in a factory or packaged in plastic is safe. Look at all the recalls in supermarkets.

          1. re: smartie

            And re: supemarket recalls and product recalls, isn't it just something how those large corps. are in no way actually required to post the recall notices in a conspicuous place? If we're LUCKY, it will hit the press, especially if the item's a big seller (peanut butter, hamburger, and the like) but I can tell you that in the last supermarket I saw a recall notice actually posted, it was on a teeny tiny bulletin board, tacked up like so much trash next to a bunch of other bullshit that had nothing to do with anything involving the recall, and the bulletin board was strategically placed in a little hallway (aisle, actually) leading to the washroom. Talk about lack of accountability!

        2. Wow, short answer = no. I buy a lot of greenmarket products and have never yet gotten sick from a single thing - to be honest, I tend to believe that small independent producers are more careful because they're not putting out a huge branded corporate product that doesn't require the company to explain itself. I have friends who have the same types of fear about eating from streetfood vendors or taco trucks, and I find it equally ridiculous: if your food is making people sick, you are NOT going to be around long at all; you WILL get shut down - if people just dont stop patronizing you altogether. I think that if a greenmarket stand is clean in appearence and the food is well-displayed, at LEAST that much care has gone into the packaging and sterility of the containers. I don't believe anybody would violate (at least not knowingly) the most basic rules of food hygiene......considering they're probably eating it themselves, too!! :)

          1. Here in Pennsylvania, or at least in my township, any food offered for sale must be produced in an inspected commercial kitchen, one that is not used for home food preparation. Most of the stands at my farmers market are owned by Amish or Mennonite families, and I suspect that rule is not strictly followed when it comes to all their wonderful pickles,preserves, and other jarred foods. However, as stated above, if the stand is clean and well-presented, I assume they are taking the same care with preparation. If I didn't, think of all the great treats I would miss!

            14 Replies
            1. re: FrauMetzger

              Frau, this is SO off-topic, but boy I LOVE the word "township" and "parish" when it comes to geographical borders. So homey, so old-fashioned, so cool. Have a great day. Oh, and I'd eat ANYTHING prepared by the Amish, Mennonites and whomever else's culture is so heavily food-oriented, without a single qualm. Had the best rootbeer of my life from a farm in Penn. which only advertised w/ a tiny sign heading up the lane to the farm: Fresh, homeade rootbeer. The left-hand turn was a total no-brainer, and what a winner.

              1. re: mamachef

                Personally, I buy NOTHING from the Amish. They use pesticides and don't necessarily treat their animals humanely.

                1. re: linguafood

                  I'm always suspicious that the people dressed in Amish-looking attire might just be "English" people doing it as a marketing gag!

                  1. re: jzerocsk

                    Nah, the ones we got here are the real deal.

                    1. re: linguafood

                      How do you know? Serious question, I really do avoid the Amish booth because it seems like such a perfect gimmick.

                      1. re: jzerocsk

                        Because they speak that strange take on German, is why.

                        I avoid their booths for the above reasons, also, most of the stuff they're selling is sugary crap/pastries I am not interested in.

                        1. re: linguafood

                          They speak a strange version of Swiss German -- most of the Amish came from Canton Berne in the mid-19th century. I remember my great-grandmothers (both sides) who were both 1st generation Swiss-American speaking with the Amish in our community -- not every word got through but they more than understood each other. After taking German (Hochdeutsch) lessons as an adult, I could pick up some key words when visiting with my Amish customers, but couldn't really follow the conversation with much success.

                          The "Pennsylvania Dutch" are not Dutch at all -- but Deutsch -- from the Swiss German they speak.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            Yah, I always thought it was funny when people thought that Dutch meant they're from the Netherlands. I can sometimes pick out a word or two, but the rest is gibberish to me.

                            1. re: linguafood

                              other people heard them say that they were deutsch...and it got warped somewhere along the way, although my great-grans and their friends referred to it as 'talking dutch', too -- even though their parents had come from Switzerland.

                              (and yes, when I was a little girl, I thought we were of Dutch heritage!)

                          2. re: linguafood

                            That is my experience as well - I was at Reading Terminal Market with my mother last spring, and as soon as I mentioned my skepticism about the "Amish-ness" of the vendors, a pair of teenage girls walked by speaking their German dialect.

                      2. re: jzerocsk

                        I guess I wouldn't be sure either, but I own a market stand so I spend a lot of time with the Amish stand holders. Another market recently opened in our area that advertises itself as being entirely Amish-owned. Though the stand holders do appear to be authentically Amish, it seems like a silly gimmick to me as well. Some make delicious food, and others not so much. Just like the rest of us.

                        1. re: FrauMetzger

                          Not-delicious food, that's what tipped me off...I bought a whoopie pie and a shoofly pie from them. The shoofly pie was dry-bottom and neither was all that good...and then I became suspicious!

                      3. re: linguafood

                        For a past job, I visited Amish and Mennonite farmers (including inside the houses) at a rate of at least one per week, more often then not it was two or three. I grew up with them as neighbors and my father and other family members regularly did business within the community.

                        In general, the animals were tended to at a level that most farmers and foodie consumers would not find acceptable.

                        At least in my area of PA, chemical use (pesticides and fertilizers) is very common.

                        As far as cleanliness goes, I saw spotless houses as well as dirty houses, just like the general population.

                        The Amish in my area of PA do shop at surplus outlets, produce auctions and Aldi's (they seem to love Aldi's) and resell produce door to door and at local farmer's markets. I have personally witnessed this.

                        They seem to be doing a good business in raw milks and cheeses and I have yet to hear any negative press.

                      4. re: mamachef

                        You're right, mama. It does sound a bit "quaint" when I put it that way! Our township has it's own health department that works with the state and USDA in inspecting our market.

                        Also, if you love homemade root beer and find yourself in southeastern pennsylvania, you have to stop by. Though I can't abide root beer myself, there's a stand here that carries some that everyone else says is fantastic. The gentleman introduces himself as Grandpa Jake, but we all call him Crazy Jake. Sweet guy and great products, but just a little off!