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Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #359

Culinary no-no's


For 15 years, I worked here…

One of the most marvelous structures one could call a workplace, the state Capitol in Madison.

Almost every Wednesday during spring, summer and early fall I’d walk down the block to partake in a Madison tradition.

The Farmers' Market.

Though there are many great vendors, I’d always make a beeline for one in particular.

 My purchase du jour would be the spicy cheese empanada.


And why not! That scrumptious little bomb contained provolone and Monterey jack cheese laced with herbs and spices rolled into a buttery crust. On the rare occasion the empanadas were, GASP, sold out...


A Danish. Just as yummy.

It wasn’t always empanadas and bakery. I’d also grab some fruits and vegetables to take home.

Patronizing the Farmers' Market was gratifying, not only because it was delicious, but you also felt as you handed over your cash a sense of pride, supporting local businesses or farmers.

Never for a moment, not one time during my many visits to the Farmers' Market those 15 years did I even consider the possibility that I might be the victim of fraud.

Surely those empanadas were made at and by Stella’s Bakery.

The frail Vietnamese woman? Of course she picked those green beans.

Ditto the Darlington farmer and his tomatoes.


At a Farmers' Market?

No way!


The LA Times reports enforcement at farmers markets has increased in Los Angeles County because there are more cheats, a lot more.

What are inspectors nailing the vendors for?  Simple. Primarily for selling items that were not
grown by the farm.

Believe me, I’m not at all surprised that pencil-pushing government inspectors are checking out farmers’ markets (Where can I sign up for that job?).  I’m just not sure how they do it. That is, until I read the LA Times reports.

Those crafty inspectors are tipped off. Here’s an example from the newspaper’s accounts of shady vendors:

Farfan Aurelio, Parlier. Fined $401 by Los Angeles County for selling yellow plums not grown by the farm at the West Los Angeles farmers market July 21. Tipoff: A Los Angeles County inspector took photos of all the fruit on the market table; a Fresno County inspector visited the farm and could not find yellow plums.

Other tipoffs: Produce that has a commercial appearance — being waxed or uniformly sized — or is out of season for a growing area.

Conservatives might be shaking their heads, and rightfully so, wondering if such scrutiny is a wise investment.  The LA Times reported that
Los Angeles County, which has 153 farmers markets, spent $243,000 on the inspection program during the fiscal year that ended June 30. That figure far exceeded the $81,000 the county received from farmers market fees charged to farmers and market operators. One official told the Times, “We're spending a lot more money on this program than we can sustain.”

What about...


Oh we have our rules and regulations,
boring as they are.

The Dane County Farmers’ Market proclaims on its website it is “the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the U.S. All items are produced locally by the vendor behind the table.”

I sure hope so. Because there are inspectors on the prowl, and maybe, just maybe, someday an actual watchdog in the media.


McDonald's shuts down website

Worst food gifts of 2013 

$375 per person


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