Monday, June 27, 2011

Greenmarket Vendors Say Cheese Slicing Ban Stinks

Greenmarket Vendors Say Cheese Slicing Ban Stinks

June 27, 2011

State officials have banned cutting cheese at local greenmarkets without a license to process food.

No More Cutting Cheese at Union Square Market

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

UNION SQUARE — Cheesemongers at Union Square's greenmarket say the state's new crackdown on rules banning them from slicing their product in public without a license stinks like Gorgonzola.

Under rules now being enforced by the state's Department of Agriculture and Markets, farmers are no longer allowed to slice and wrap their cheese wheels at markets in New York unless they have a license to process food. They can only get that license if they have, for instance, a three-basin sink and hot water heater.

"It eliminates the personal touch, the beauty or freedom, if you will, of the farmers' market," said Jody Somers, ofDancing Ewe Farm, which makes artisanal caciotta, pecorino and ricotta in Granville, New York.

"We try to do the right thing on the farm. We try to treat the animals well. We trudge four hours to get here," Somers added. "We're under everyone's thumb."

Cheese vendors say that the state will kill off their success at local greenmarkets by subjecting them to similar rules as delis or grocery stores — since it's impossible to get access to the same running water in their temporary stands as delis do at a store.

In addition, unlicensed cheesemongers are supposed to cut cheese samples with a disposable plastic knife, an impossibility with hard cheese, Somers said.

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