The owner of a Fredericton shop that specializes in local food has found a way around new rules that prevent him from selling ungraded, free-range eggs from local farms inside his store.
Levi Lawrence, of Real Food Connections, expected to begin selling the eggs from a refrigerated truck parked outside the store, starting Tuesday.
"I’m not trying to break the rules, I’m not trying to sell them in the store, I’m just simply trying to extend the farm market," he said.
Earlier this month, health inspectors ordered Real Food Connections to stop selling ungraded, free-range eggs from two small farms in Centreville.
According to provincial regulations, farms with fewer than 200 hens can sell directly to customers or at farmers' markets, but don't qualify for the commercial inspection program.
Lawrence says local farmers had scaled up production to meet customers’ demands at the store.
So the refrigerated truck is a quick fix, for now.
New system needed
But David Coon, the executive director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, says the provincial government needs to find ways to make it easier for consumers to buy local food.
"The provincial inspection process as it is is badly underfunded and really is directed at large scale export-oriented operations and tends to rely on the federal side for a lot of things," he said.
"So we actually do need to put some money into that."
Meanwhile, provincial food inspectors swept through a Fredericton restaurant that gets its eggs from Real Food Connections on Monday.
"They came in to look at our eggs to make sure they are from commercially-inspected facility," said Lisa Wilby, owner of the Cedar Tree Café.
The cafe likes to support local farmers and offers a number of home grown options, including maple syrup, said Wilby.
"We go to the farmers’ market all the time and we buy lots of food and a lot of that food isn’t coming from commercially-inspected places.
"But we buy it because we know the people, we trust that."