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A new, even easier way to buy produce proposed in Southold Town

An expansion of Southold Town’s peddlers code could soon allow farm-fresh products to be sold on the go.

Councilwoman Sarah Nappa has been working with the agricultural advisory committee on changes to the code that would allow for raw products only grown within Southold Town, including flowers, eggs, oysters and other aquaculture, fruit and vegetables to be sold under a town peddler’s license.

“With that change, [the committee] was happy to move forward … and thought it could be a good opportunity, another outlet for local farms to sell to peddlers,” Ms. Nappa told Town Board members at a work session Tuesday, adding that the proposed code would not allow for processed products, such as jellies or jams, to be included.

But before the board agrees to set a hearing on the code change, Supervisor Scott Russell said several concerns must be addressed, including the potential for exploitation of the rules.

“I think everything you’re trying to do is great, but I do think there needs to be some consideration of unintended consequences,” the supervisor said.

One concern is the possibility that a peddler could remain in one location for a sustained amount of time, selling products with less restrictions than farmers who own their own stands must abide by. The town’s farm stand code requires 60% of products sold to be grown on-site.

Mr. Russell said especially at the height of the season, with traffic concerns, the peddlers could function more like permanent retail operations.

Peddlers, who must obtain a $200 annual permit from the town, are also restricted to remaining in any public place or street for more than 10 minutes or in front of any premises for any time if the owner or any lessee of the premises objects, according to town code.

Ms. Nappa said the code also specifically defines a peddler as someone who goes “from place to place.”

“The bad players are always on our mind but I don’t think we should stop progress especially for farms in Southold, just because of potential bad actions,” she said.

“There’s always room to move forward … [The agricultural advisory committee] thought it opened up an interesting opportunity for business in this town and we should take that into consideration.”

While he supports the code change, Mr. Russell said he’s hoping to clarify the understanding regarding the time limits set forth in the code and resolve the issue with the agricultural advisory committee before holding a public hearing.