Roadside sales are unfair to farmers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

To the Editor:

On July 31, the Suffolk News-Herald placed on its front page an interview they conducted with a man from South Carolina. This gentleman is in the city selling vegetables and fruits from his truck that he has grown and bought elsewhere. He has so conveniently set up shop on side of the road. Does he have a permit or business license to do so? Neighborhood Development says he does not.

Times are tough for our local farmers. And this drought has really hurt them. Now our city is allowing outsiders to sell produce without permits or licenses to do so. Yet the citizens of Suffolk must pay the necessary fees and taxes. If a farmer wants to participate at the farmer’s market on North Main Street they must pay as well.

Yet this man from another state can sell all he wants without paying fees or the taxes. He can even set up his store only miles from other farmers taking business from the people that contribute to the city. He has been here for more than a month now.

Not only does the city hurt its own citizens by this, but what about this article placed in the Suffolk News-Herald? I own a farm market in Suffolk and pay weekly to advertise with the paper. I have asked every writer by email if they would be interested in doing an article on my market. Although it has been family owned for almost 20 years, I just took over in January and making many new, interesting changes. I did not get one response from the Suffolk News-Herald. But I certainly received a call asking for my money to advertise.

What is wrong here? Does this sound right to you? The local peanut farmers are the ones that put this city on the map. And this is the thanks we get from our local government and newspaper.

Jill Holland Peacock