Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cooking Up Cottage Industry Products

  The new Cottage Food Bill AB1616 (The Homemade Food Act) became effective January, 2013.  This new legislation allows Cottage Industry people to produce and sell low-risk food products that are "non-potentially hazardous" to the public.  A list of items that can be produced are baked goods without cream or meat fillings; candy; dried fruit; dried pasta; fruit pies; granola; honey; jams, jellies, preserves and fruit butter; nuts; popcorn; vinegars.  This opens up a new avenue to sell items directly to the public, that are grown and made on the property where the food item originated.  There are two classes of food production, Class A and Class B, depending on the scope and type of items a business wishes to pursue.
   I have recently gone forward to obtain the licensing and certification to sell items in Class A which this class means I can sell my prepared items directly to a customer, such as through my CSA business or through a Farmer's Market or at my Self Service Roadside Stand.  Of course, nothing is easy if it involves the government, right?  I filled out the necessary forms with our Public Health Office (after going to 2 separate offices to find the correct department to file them).  This is such a new program, internal county offices have had to sort out jurisdictions and procedures.  At the Health Office, I was instructed to take the special water testing container, pay $18 and to drop off the sample of my drinking water to the Public Health Laboratory.  Then I am to take a 2 hour Food Operators Course that costs $15.00 and after completing, I am to send the certificate back to the Health Department.  In the mean time, my application is being forwarded to the Department of Development Services, Land Use for their review to insure that my property meets the land use and I am in a proper zone to have a cottage industry.  I will be notified of that cost at a later date.  I took my water sample into the Health Lab and am waiting for the results and approval by the Development Services Department.  I decided to wait for those results, before I paid out the $15 and take the 2 hour Food Operators Course.  Since I have been cooking for over 50+ years and have yet to kill anyone or make anyone sick from my cooking, I am assuming I will pass that course.
  All I want to do is to add some items to be made available to my customers, some jellys, some jams, some dried fruits and to possibly add pies and breads to my CSA member's baskets.  Since I have fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, farm fresh eggs, and Grass Fed, no hormone beef (from Douglass Ranch), what better items to add to make a totally complete weekly basket!!
In between the wind, we did get a few days to work in the fields, I planted some onions and hope to plant potatoes in the next few days.
I have been also busy putting my Learn To Knit Nite class together.  The class is scheduled for Monday, February 25th 6:30pm-9:00pm.  I have knitted up a bunch of really cute gift items for door prizes and will prepare my favorite Lemon/Lavender Cake served with fresh strawberries, mint tea and ice water.  The evening should be great fun and the instructor is Aime who owns the Yarn Shop in Paradise.  If you are interested, I still have 2 open spots.
Great Quotes:
Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer

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