With the new food sovereignty law in place, Kathy Shaw of 4 Season Farm Market in Auburn can raise, make and sell certain food items direct to the customer without the item being inspected by a state inspector. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
AUBURN — At 4 Season Farm Market, dried apple cider rings are coming back, plans next week call for pickles and Kathy Shaw hasn’t ruled out crafting kombucha, now that she can.
Gov. Paul LePage signed a revised food sovereignty bill into law Tuesday that eases restrictions for some farmers and processors such as Shaw by lifting state food laws in certain direct-to-consumer sales.
“People can have an idea and try it out in their home kitchen or on their farm,” said Heather Retberg at Quill’s End Farm in Penobscot, an early Maine food advocate. “I have apples on my trees; I am now able to can and sell applesauce. Or my neighbor’s been coming here for years and saying, ‘Oh, I really love that goat cheese you make; can you sell it to me?’ and people have had to say no, and now they can say yes.”
At least 22 towns in Maine, Auburn the largest among them, have passed local food sovereignty ordinances, in an effort to get people closer to their food, and for growers, a chance to ease up on regulations.
Starting Wednesday, under the new law, any consumer living in or visiting one of those towns can make a face-to-face purchase at the farmer or processor’s farm or home, without state oversight or inspection of foods including milk,…
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