The West Virginia Department of Agriculture took over the task of inspecting farmer’s markets and farmer’s market vendor permits on July 1.
The switch came as the new rules and regulations outlined in West Virginia Senate Bill 375, passed in 2018, were put into effect.
“The intent of the legislation was to expand markets for cottage foods, as well as have one agency handle the regulations. The hope was these changes would help grow small agribusinesses in our state,” West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt said in a release. “We need to make sure folks understand these changes are now being implemented.”
The new law also opens up vendors making some food products in home kitchens to be able to sell at farmer’s markets.
Farmer’s markets must register with the WVDA and provide a list of potential vendors.
“We have worked with our partners to host 30 informational meetings around the state. Hundreds of stakeholders attended to ask questions. We hope people understand what they must do to come into compliance under the new law,” WVDA Regulatory and Environmental Affairs Director Amie Minor said in the release.
According to the release, vendors with home kitchens who wish to sell canned acidified products, pickled products, fermented products, sauces, salsas, or time-temperature controlled foods must obtain a permit and pass a home kitchen inspection.
Home kitchen permits must be displayed on home kitchen vendor’s spaces at farmer’s markets.