Farmers Say: Pass This Pickles (Bill)

The Legislature is debating a bill on pickles and salsa

In Connecticut, a pickle has to bounce to legally be called a pickle. But that's not where the pickle laws end and farmers say one law put them in, well a pickle. 

Farmers can sell all the corn, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes they can pick, but forget about salsa, tomato sauce and pickles. It's just not allowed if you’re a residential farmer and whatever you want to sell has a pH value of 4.6 or less.

Now, the state Legislature is debating about whether to let farmers give Vlasic some competition and allow sales of pickles, jam and salsa at farm stands.

Connecticut’s Farm Bureau wants to see the day when acidified food is available for all, unless it contains milk, eggs, meat, poultry or fish. Those would not be allowed because of potential dangers.

A similar bill made it through the state House of Representatives in 2009 but it expired in the Senate in the final hours of the legislative session. Now it's bounced right back.

Anita Kopchinski, of Hidden Brook Gardens, LLC, a certified organic farm in Ledyard, is one farmer who wants to sell acidified foods at farmers markets.

“Connecticut residents want to support local farmers and want to have the choice to purchase locally made products – like pickles, salsas and tomato sauce,” she said. “From an economic standpoint, for small farmers like myself, most of my business is direct sales to the customer at farmers markets, etc.”

According to the state General Assembly site, the bill was referred to joint committee on Feb. 22 and is slated for a public hearing. 

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