Last Thursday, Governor Kitzhaber signed HB 2336- the Farm Direct Bill- into law.
The bill basically codifies the loose rules and gray zones that farmers market vendors have operated under for years, providing clarity to Oregon's small farmers about which the manner in which home-grown products can be produced for sale. Direct crops covered under this bill that could be sold directly from farmer to consumer include fruits, vegetables, beans, and eggs. Acidic foods are covered, as long as the producer ensures that the product does not contain a natural pH level higher than 4.6. Preserves are also covered, as long as the annual sales of the preserves by the vendor does not pass $20,000 a year.
The bill passed out of the House with bipartisan support this past February by a 45-13, and passed through the Senate by an overwhelming 27-3 margin. As it does not include language stating that the bill is being passed due to an emergency, don't expect to see the effects of this bill at your farmers market this season. Instead, HB 2336 goes into effect on January 1st. It remains to be seen how and in what manner the Farm Direct Bill will impact the 2012 farmers market season.