Collinsville Farm Hippie Owners Work To Get Farmers Market Law Changed
COLLINSVILLE, Oklahoma - A small farmers market in Collinsville is being told they aren't allowed to sell baked goods in their store.
Farm Hippie owners Carrie Beth and Ash Winfield say they originally filed with the state to be classified as a farmers market but didn’t hear back that their application wasn’t accepted until a few weeks ago.
"We were notified that the registration was not accepted and approved, and we were going to be under the view of a retail store by the health department instead of a farmers market,” said Farm Hippie Owner Ash Winfield.
They say the health department came in for an inspection and told them it's a law in Oklahoma that retail stores can’t sell baked goods, so now they are trying to get the law changed.
"For us it made sense to have a storefront inside through the winter months, through the downtime, to still have a venue for them to come and have a place to sell,” said Winfield.
Related Story: Collinsville Farm Hippie Market Open All Year - Indoors
Winfield said they had a meeting with their vendors two weeks ago when they found out they were no longer allowed to sell baked goods in their store.
That’s when vendors who had bread, cookies, or muffins - that weren’t made in a commercial kitchen or were licensed - had to come remove their products.
“On this shelf right here, we had a lady that would mill her own grains and wheat and make bread, so everything was really fresh,” said Winfield.
Winfield says many of the people are local, and getting a license can be expensive.
“Many of these people, they're making these products to try and have additional income, so having that barrier right up front almost eliminates their ability to do that,” said Winfield.
Under the Cottage Laws, home bakers are permitted to sell products at a farmers market or at a bake sale; however, they aren't allowed to sell them in a retail store.
Farm Hippie originally filed with the state to be classified as a farmers market, but they didn't fit the typical farmers market mold.
"It didn’t line up exactly with how the current legislation is drafted, and the farmers aren't necessarily here in the store - whereas when you go to a farmers market they are," said Winfield.
Winfield says this law was already changed in Texas, and he hopes lawmakers here will do the same.
Now they're filing a petition to change state law, so vendors will be able to sell their products at Farm Hippie and other new concept farmers markets like them in Oklahoma.
They say the petition is to help the legislature further expand what their definition of a farmers market is. They want the state to recognize both indoor and outdoor farmers markets, and they also think vendors in a farmers co-operative should have a choice in how they sell.
“That’s really what we want to do is just bring attention to the current legislation, and let’s remove some of those current barriers and allow people to sell where they choose to sell,” said Winfield.
They've already gotten the number of signatures they need for it to be heard by the legislature this spring, but they are still encouraging people to sign it if they do come into the store.
They are also trying to get a commercial kitchen for their vendors to help them continue to sell and grow and support their families. They have started a GoFundMe for start-up costs.