Mess with The Man and you will pay. That’s the lesson for Double H farmers Richard Bean and Jean Rinaldi, who butchered their own pigs and sold the food in defiance of food safety laws. In September, they were consequently arrested and hauled off to Nelson County jail where they were served with four misdemeanors each. Seven more plus a felony followed in Charlottesville because of their participation in the City Market.
Jean Rinaldi and Richard Bean agreed to a host of conditions in a Nelson County plea agreement. "We’re going to behave now because we don’t want anymore trouble," says Rinaldi.
|Previous Double H coverage:
All you can’t eat
Nelson County for Double H
Double H farmers busted for selling pork
Previous local food coverage:
The $5 tomato
The two pleaded guilty December 12 in Nelson County General District Court to a reduced charge of one misdemeanor, a year of probation, and a $1,000 fine that was suspended. They also agreed to a number of conditions, including that their kitchen be inspected by the state agency.
Since being arrested in September, the farmers had already taken measures to act in compliance with Virginia Department of Health standards by having their meat killed and processed at a duly licensed slaughterhouse, causing them to raise their pork prices by $1 a pound. They have also removed "certified organic" from their yellow bus and installed a number of items—a hot water heater, washable walls—on their farm in hopes of passing inspection at their own place.
To that end, officials with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) were slated to visit December 14 to give guidance. "We just have to work with VDACS step-by-step," Rinaldi says. "We’re going to behave now because we don’t want any more trouble." Their Charlottesville court appearance will be on December 27.—Jayson Whitehead
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