It was only a matter of time. Thursday, at the local farmer's market, the inspectors invaded. They came out in force. The agriculture people were there. Even the maple syrup inspector showed up. Exactly one vendor sells maple syrup at the market. As far as I know, they didn't find anything out of line with anyone's product.
I talked to the maple syrup person for a bit. Had no idea how tough the inspector can be. If one container of syrup is not labeled to the inspector's satisfaction, he can open the whole batch. If the batch number is missing, the producer's complete stock can be opened and tested.
I'm of two minds about that. On one hand, it seems the inspector could take pretty draconian steps. What if a label had fallen off? Should a producer lose their stock because of it?
On the other hand, I can be pretty sure about the purity and quality of New Hampshire maple syrup. No one wants to mess with the inspector. That does add value to the NH brand.
Many sweeteners are now adulterated with high fructose corn syrup. (HFCS) Chinese honey is notorious for being cut with cheaper HFCS. Now I hear that agave syrup is often cut with HFCS. My buddy from KY informs me that even mom and pop producers of sorghum cut it. The pure product is hard to find as they don't label that it's mixed with HFCS.
The NH maple syrup inspector is also the honey inspector. I'm told there will be local honey at the farmers' market soon. Really looking forward to picking up a lot of local honey. I've a great sweet mead recipe that requires 15 pounds honey. Haven't made it in a while due the high price of honey. Maybe I can barter. Give me the honey I need to make mead, and I'll give back a certain number of bottles.
Not really surprised to see the inspectors. Government does what government does. If they stick to actually protecting the public from bad products, then I suppose I can live with it. However, if they are there to kill the market, that's another thing entirely. Another thought: state funds are tight right now. How likely is it that inspectors have been told to generate a little revenue to fill the coffers?
I know some of the people behind the market. They really do seem to have their act together. That should keep government interference to a minimum.
Would really hate to lose the local market. It's nice to have some fresh veggies, fruit, and local meats, but I've really fallen in love with the cookies and hard cider. Gotta keep those local producers in business. Then there is the chance to get out in the community. Really love connecting with old friends and meeting new.
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