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Jeff Adams feeds his pigs at Walnut Hill Farm in Stafford. Adams is a vocal proponent of bringing a farmers market to the county.
Jeff Adams sells meat from his family's Stafford farm at several area farmers markets. He wants to see one in Stafford.
Several times a week, Jeff Adams packs up meat that he's raised on his family's Walnut Hill Farm, and takes it to sell at community farmers markets around the region.
But none of those markets are in Stafford County, where the Hartwood farmer raises heritage livestock with his wife, Ginny.
By selling outside the county's lines, he's also taking revenue that could be going to his hometown.
"I leave the county four days a week and pay sales-tax revenues to all the surrounding localities and pay nothing to Stafford," Adams told the county Board of Supervisors recently. "I'd like to keep some of that money at home."
The board approved an ordinance following a public hearing that makes it easier for farmers markets to be established, including in county parks and on school property.
That doesn't mean Stafford County government is creating a market. Rather, if a group wants to create one, then there are now definitions and zoning regulations in place, explained Kathy Baker, assistant director of Planning and Zoning.
Farmers markets in the region have gained popularity. The statewide "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" campaign helps families connect with where their food is produced.
Community markets in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and King George are run by managers who oversee vendors. Each market sets its own standards on where products may come from.
"We have no intention of staffing a farmers market, I just want to make that clear," County Administrator Anthony Romanello told supervisors.
Stafford's Agriculture/Purchase of Development Rights Committee, which Adams is a member of, recommended the changes, saying previous ordinances were cumbersome.
The board may also consider charging a $25 fee for a zoning permit for a market, rather than the regular fee of up to $250.
The ordinance has no impact on existing farm stands in the county. Agricultural, horticultural and seafood caught or harvested by a proprietor may still be sold on private property, according to the county documents.
The Adamses, who raise livestock without chemicals, growth hormones or antibiotics, sell meat in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Warrenton, Manassas and Dale City. Their products are also available at a stand on their Hartwood farm.
Various vendors used to set up a weekend market in North Stafford at the Staffordboro Boulevard commuter lot, but the county's permit from the Virginia Department of Transportation expired last fall.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975