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Bill's love for the ocean goes beyond oysters. Read this article on Bill's other life, it's a pdf - 479kb.
People ask me why I am not doing the farmers markets anymore. The main reason is that I want to slow down a little and enjoy time with my wife and take more time for myself and for my health. (I actually get regular exercise these days). I really enjoyed the markets and meeting so many great people. So what’s next? I want to do events with wineries where people experience my oysters and what I know about their history and culture paired with wines and what the vintners know about their history and culture. Sounds like a good time to me, right? I have recently been to the Napa Valley, Livermore area wineries and local Santa Cruz wineries. A loyal friend and customer gave the letter below to me; it really summarizes some of the crap that I encountered in the past in doing the markets. This is a minor reason why I do not do markets but it might provide you with some insight to the insanity I have faced in bringing you the best shellfish products for over 30 years without EVER having a problem. Enjoy (you really have to laugh or be tempted to commit criminal acts). Bill
12 July 2009
Department of Environmental Health
I have been watching with more amusement then anything else some of the decisions our Environmental Health official n Los Gatos has been making. Specifically, last St. Patrick’s Day at C. B. Hannegan’s restaurant, customers were not allowed to take photographs of the pigs roasting on the spit. The Health department official actually forbade people from entering the area while the pig was roasting. Could you tell me just what the rationale is behind this? Could you direct me to where, in the myriad of state and county regulations, this action is specified or justified?
Secondly, employees were required to sip their own drinks with straws out of covered containers. Again, what is the logic here? Please direct me to the provisions in the Environmental Health Department code that this is from.
I was moved to finally write because I saw this “straw law” again last week in Los Gatos at the Wednesday Jazz Concert. At Bill the Oysterman’s tent, which we affectionately now calls his “Oyster Burkha”, people inside the tent were required to drink their drinks from covered containers through straws. It was bad enough that Bill, after 20 years of incident free oyster shucking, was forced into a tent because it was suddenly dangerous to the public health for him to have his wares outdoors, but when he was forced to have a tarp covering the ground because germs could “crawl up the legs of the table” I thought that was a not only excessive, but a serious misunderstanding of just how the natural world functions. But the straw thing is beyond me.
Plus, I noticed that Bill seems to be singled out by the health official. Although there are many other food venues in the plaza area, and many beverage venues, I saw no others in tents and no others where the people were forced to drink their own drinks through straws. Why is it that a facility five feet away from Bill’s tent does not have the same germs speedily crawling up the legs of their tables? Why are the servers of these beverages not required to sip their drinks through straws as they pour drinks for the patrons? Singling out one business is, at best, unfair and, at worst, possibly illegal.
So in all seriousness, could you please tell me where the justification is for all this in the health codes?
And finally, what are the background credentials of the environmental Health Inspector assigned to Los Gatos, i.e. degrees in bacteriology, medicine? I’m sure this is a matter of public record, it certainly should be, but I am unable to find it on-line.
Many thanks for your time and trouble.