Update: Farmers Market Vendor Sharon Palmer's Arraignment Postponed

The DA alleges Healthy Family Farms bought thousands of dollars worth of meat, poultry and eggs from other vendors and resold it at area farmers markets.

The arraignment of Healthy Family Farms' owner, Sharon Palmer—who is accused of conspiracy stemming from the illegal sale of raw milk and other products—has been delayed until Aug. 10.

The arraignment is now scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 10 in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, according to officials at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

Palmer, who sells eggs and poultry every Thursday at the , was charged Wednesday with criminal conspiracy stemming from the alleged illegal production and sale of unpasteurized goat milk, goat cheese and other products. 

Invoices and records seized in a search of Palmer's Healthy Family Farms location in Santa Paula revealed that "she was buying thousands of dollars worth of meat, poultry and eggs from other vendors and reselling it at farmer's markets and at Rawesome, despite claims and advertising that it was raised on her farm and not fed commercial feed," according to court documents.

Two others were charged in the criminal conspiracy case: Eugenie Bloch, 58, and James Stewart, 64. Both pleaded not guilty at their arraignment Thursday.

Evidence suggests that co-defendant Stewart—through his business, Rawesome—illegally imported unpasteurized cow dairy products from Pennsylvania and Palmer assisted him in selling those products to area consumers at local farmers markets, said the court documents. 

Bail was set at $60,000 for Palmer and $30,000 for Stewart with special conditions; Bloch has been released on her own recognizance.

Since the defendants' income from illegal activity could be used to arrange for posting of bail, a hearing for bail hold (penal code 1275.1) has been requested, the court documents also state. 

Prosecutors allege Healthy Family Farms has operated without any type of license or permit for milk production since 2007. The business Healthy Family Farms and Palmer are charged in nine of the 13 counts. Bloch works for Palmer and is charged in three conspiracy counts. 

Stewart runs the Venice market Rawesome, which has been in operation for more than six years but has never had any type of business permit or license, prosecutors allege. Stewart is facing 13 counts.

Bloch and Stewart are expected back in court Aug. 10 in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

The defendants' attorneys could not be reached for comment. Patch will continue to follow-up and report information as it becomes available. 

Kristen Papac August 12, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Thank you so much, Patrick!
Kristen Lepore August 16, 2011 at 01:47 AM
Hi all: An update to the Healthy Family Farms case can be found here: http://patch.com/A-lf53
janet August 20, 2011 at 08:12 PM
Thank you, Kristen for your work. As a (ex)member of Rawesome and a weekly and bi-weekly shopper of area farmer's markets, I can no longer trust what I see and hear. And no where is it more important than what we ingest. I am baffled by the connection of HFF to Rawesome and what seems to be deceitful behaviors for a profit. Bait-and-switch is maddening, but keep that nonsense off my dinner table. Who can be trusted to provide LOCAL, PESTICIDE-FREE, HORMONE-FREE, RAW, ORGANIC produce, dairy, and meats in season? Is that too much to ask? I paid $40 to join Rawesome just three weeks before the most recent raid, and I was only able to shop there twice, perhaps that's not a bad thing. When I think of all the times I've asked the vendors about their products, I realize that many times they're simply making it up for the sale. Where do you go from here???? P.S. That's not a rhetorical question, if anyone knows, please post a response. I feel really disappointed.
Kristen Papac August 20, 2011 at 10:51 PM
Darn it, I wrote a whole well thought out post. Please see my blog for what to do, as I am writing because I had the VERY same questions as you. http://farmmuckraker.blogspot.com If you want to take action and help fight fraud, report any suspiscions to your FM manager. Also, contact Diana, the FM manager of Mar Vista because she is spearheading a committee of concerned citizens who will investigate farm fraud. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/09/food/la-fo-farmers-markets-20110609 Milk: Organic Pastures or Claravale are the only legal milk producers in CA. Sold at farmer's markets and non-WHole Foods health food stores. Eggs: truly pastured I can only recommend Organic Pastures eggs (sold at their glendale hubstore on sats.) or Dey Dey's, (sold at MarVista Sunday or Sherman Oaks Sat.) Because they are in demand now, get there first thing. There are hush hush co-ops still around selling Amish milk and eggs, poke around if you are so inclined. It is a workout to source these foods, but well worth it. Contact me on FB if you have any more questions. I am glad to help!
Kristen Papac August 20, 2011 at 10:54 PM
Meats: Linder Bison, Dey Dey's Best Beef Ever and Pastured Chickens too!


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