December Update

Hi folks! I hope everyone is doing well this busy month of December. I have a few updates for you.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has informed me that the re-registration forms will be mailed out on December 15th. I know that some of you have concerns about the timing but I wouldn’t worry about it. Just fill out the forms as soon as you receive them.

Suzanne Driessen told me that the University of Minnesota Extension has sent out a survey to learn more about what class participants have done since taking the Tier 2 online course. If you receive the link in your email inbox, please fill it out. Suzanne will summarize the results and share them with us.

The U of M Extension is working on the 2018 class schedule. Here are the confirmed dates and locations. When I get a few minutes I’ll also list them in the events section of our Facebook page. You can register for the classes here: Cottage Food Safety Courses

•           January 4, 1pm – 5pm, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Robert J. Jones Urban  Research and   Outreach-Engagement Center

•           February 6, 9am-1pm, Buffalo, Wright County Government Center

•           February 27, 1pm-5pm, Marshall, SW/WC Service Coop

•           March 1, 9am-1pm, Brainerd, Land Services Building

•           March 13, 1pm-5pm, Jordan, Scott County Extension Center

•           March 27, 1pm-5pm, Alexandria, Douglas County Extension Office

•           April 21, 1pm-5pm, St. Cloud, Extension Regional Office

•           May 2, 1pm-5pm, Bemidji, Beltrami Electric Cooperative

•           June 27, 1pm-5pm, Willmar, MCROC Extension Regional Office

•           July 10, 1pm-5pm, Mankato, Extension Regional Office

•           November 7, 1pm-5pm, Worthington, Extension Regional Office

•           December 8, 9am-1pm, St. Cloud, Extension Regional Office

If you need more information about becoming a registered Minnesota cottage food producer the information is available here: Cottage Food Producer Registration

One more thing, we have now been legally able to operate as cottage food producers for 2 ½ years. We have seen many people begin businesses and many people register as is required. However, there are still a lot of people operating without registering and there are people who have registered but do not follow the basic guidelines.

We know that the MDA does the best it can to enforce and follow up on this issue. It is understandably frustrating when you are doing everything you can to follow the letter of the law while others do not, especially after working so hard for so many years to amend this law in the first place.

I think it’s important for us all to get the word out to others about registering, but the loudest way to inform others is by deed. If you are following the rules, if you are displaying your signs, if you are being the example of the proper way to conduct yourself as a registered cottage food producer, the consumer will take notice.

In summary: We worked VERY hard to get this law passed. Do your best to always follow the law. Food safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Have a fantastic December!

 

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November 2017 Update

Hello everyone! I received some exciting news from Carrie at the MDA last night. Our Cottage Food registrations have just hit a record high 2500 active registrations! Great work everyone! Please keep spreading the word and sharing the information for Minnesota Cottage Food Producer Registration.

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Re-Registration                                                                                                                            
Many of you have been asking about re-registration. If you are a registered cottage food producer for 2017 you will need to renew your registration before Dec. 31st, 2017.  Your 2017 registration will expire January 1st, 2018. This is something that must be done every year in order to remain operating as a Cottage Food Producer. Carrie has sent the following information:

*   You will have two options for re-registering: online or paper form.

*   Reminders will be mailed out on December 15 to those currently registered and will include the link and a PIN for re-registering online

*   MDA is working on some updates to the online renewal process to be completed in time for 2018 re-registration. These are minor enhancements, such as creating check boxes for Tier 1 ($0-5,000) and Tier 2 ($5,001-18,000) sales rather than having you type in a dollar amount.

*   Sending in a new paper form for 2018 is also acceptable.

*   If your address has changed, you will need to fill in a new registration with the new address information.

For all New applications:                                                                                                                *   MDA is also working on an online application for new registrations (not just re-registrations). This is expected to be done in early 2018.

*   MDA will continue to have the paper form as an option for those who want to register by mail.

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Food Safety Training 
Our wonderful Suzanne Driessen, who helps us unravel the ins and outs of food safety, has only two more Tier 2 Food Safety Classes scheduled for this year. These classes are on Nov. 9th in Little Falls and December 2nd in St Cloud. If you would like to attend either of these events you can register for them here: In-Person Cottage Food Workshops

The Tier 2 food safety classes are not mandatory for Tier 1 producers but I do recommend them if you can find time to attend one near you. They are so interesting and you will learn a lot of valuable information to help make your business safe and successful. Suzanne and her team are working on the  2018 cottage food class schedule and it should be done by the end of the month. We’ll post it on here and in the event section of our MN Cottage Food Facebook page.

About a month ago the Tier 2 online cottage food producers training was launched. Several people have already taken this course. This is a fantastic option for anyone who can not attend the in-person classes. You can check it out here: U of M Extension’s online cottage food producer training.

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The Holidays are fast approaching with many fun and exciting events to attend. The Minnesota Historical Society will be holding five Family Baking Workshops in December at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis. Participants will bake holiday treats and learn about the history of Swedish holiday traditions. For more information click the link: Holiday Traditions
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Last but by no means least, I wanted to share with you an article featuring one of our very kind and always helpful cottage food producers, Karen Peterson. The University of Minnesota Extension recently published their Fall 2017 Source magazine and they wrote about the cottage food industry and gave some information about it. You can see the article here on their website: Cottage To Table. Congratulations Karen!
That’s all for now. Have a great weekend!

2017 Fall Update

Hello everyone! I hope you had a lovely summer. I have heard from many of our cottage food producers, both home bakers and farmer’s market vendors, that they had really great success this summer. We are nearing the end of 2017 and it won’t be long before the busy holiday season hits us. There are a few things to keep in mind and I have a few updates for you as well.

Holiday vendor events and indoor farmer’s markets will soon begin. Don’t get so busy that you forget about re-registration. Your registration will expire on December 31, 2017. If you want to keep operating on January 1, 2018, your registration will have to be renewed before that date. The Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture will notify us with instructions around the beginning of December.

We are so excited to have the new online food safety course for Tier 2 registration up and running. This is a mandatory requirement for all Tier 2 cottage food producers so if you haven’t been able to make it to one of the classes given by the University of Minnesota Extension then please be sure to take the online course. Also please remember that if you hit the $5001.00 mark you have to re-register as Tier 2.  The good thing is that food safety classes only need to be retaken every 3 years, whereas re-registration is required every year. The following is a note from Suzanne Driessen concerning the online classes:

We just launched the online version of the cottage food course for tier 2 providers. 

Cottage Food Producer Food Safety Training

This advanced online course focuses on food safety practices for all processes covered under the 2015 cottage food law including drying, baking, confections, jams and jellies, acid and acidified fruit and vegetables and fermentation.

By taking this course, you will meet the training requirement of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to register as a cottage food producer for Tier 2 food sales.

Register at http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/food-safety/courses/cottage-foods/index.html 

We will continue to offer classes in 2018. If you have any location requests, please let me know.”

There are only three more food safety classes scheduled for 2017, one is on November 9th in Little Falls and two more are scheduled for December 2nd in St. Cloud. To register click the link: Little Falls Registration, St. Cloud Registration

In case you are unaware the University of Minnesota Extension has a Cottage Food Q & A. Some new information has recently been added such as selling fresh squeezed fruit juice at farmer’s markets and using bacon on baked items. You can check it out here: Cottage Foods Q &A Blog

As you may have noticed Wisconsin won their last legal battle and are now allowed to sell baked goods from home. Way to go Wisconsin!

That’s it for now. Wishing you a very happy autumn season!

 

 

 

 

 

July 24, 2017

Good Morning!! I just wanted to let you all know that the Non-Potentially Hazardous Foods fact sheet that can be found on the Minnesota Farmer’s Market Association website has been updated. Also, the University of Minnesota Extension has updated their Cottage Foods Q & A blog. There is a lot of of really great information to be found on these websites. I’ve posted the links below. Have a wonderful week!

MFMA, Non-Potentially Hazardous Foods

Cottage Foods Q & A: University of Minnesota Extension

Cottage Food Resource Hub: University of Minnesota Extension

Found on Pinterest

 

Happy Anniversary!

Two years! It’s been two whole years– which has gone by so fast– since our Cottage Food Bill was amended and I’d say it’s been a pretty successful two years. Obviously we’ve still got a few kinks to work out but with cooperation from the Dept. of Agriculture, the Dept. of Health, the University of Minnesota Extension, the Minnesota Farmer’s Market Association, our Legislatures, and so many more people, we have forged ahead.

There are still many things in the works concerning the Cottage Food industry. We are constantly working to simplify and improve things to make everyone a success. As of this moment we have 2,025  registered Cottage Food Producers. The Dept. of Agriculture is working on a logo that will be just for us. The U of M Extension is working on online Tier 2 safety classes, and they will be updating the Non-potentially Hazardous Foods list, which you can find on the MFMA’s page, as well as the U of M Extension’s website.

This year Rep. Newberger was able to get legislation passed to allow us to donate to fundraisers and other community events. This is something that previously wasn’t allowed but as of today (July 1, 2017) goes into effect. You can see the exact wording in House File HF1717.2 Sec. 39 Sub 2, you will find it from lines 22.1 to 22.18.

Many of our Cottage Food Producers are vendors in the Farmer’s Markets throughout Minnesota. Recently the Dept. of Agriculture sent out laminated cards to display at the tables stating that “These Products Are Homemade And Not Subject To Inspection.” You do not have to use these specific signs but it is required to display a sign with this wording on it. Be sure to watch for these vendors so that we can encourage each other to keep working hard to be successful in this industry.

In the past two years we’ve had a few articles written about us and a few television news stories. As you may have noticed the information isn’t always correct, but it’s great to know that our industry is being acknowledged. Click the links to read one of the very first news articles written about us after the bill was amended and a few other success stories.

Laura French from the Star Tribune wrote this article about us, Now Everyone Can Enjoy Your Home-Baked Treatswhich was published on July 29th, 2015. It was one of the first articles that really talked about what we had been fighting for.

This article, Sweet, Sweet, Cupcakes & Cookieshighlights our Cottage Food Producers Marcia Ryan and Annette Gustafson. Annette also won several blue ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair and a few other county fairs as well. You can see more of Annette’s beautiful cookies on her Birch Bakehouse page.

Katie Kirkeby has had amazing success with her cupcake business. CupKate’s can be found at most of the community events in the St. Cloud area. You can read about her in this article, Local Baker Takes The Cake With Homemade Cupcakes.

Sussman’s Bakery is another Cottage Food Business that has been widely recognized. The creations of the Sussman ladies and Julie Lindstrom are really yummy! Click the link to read more about Sussman’s Bakery.

Karen Peterson of Confections by Karen plays a huge part in keeping her community in cupcakes and cookies. I’m pretty sure she single-handedly keeps the local police and fire department stocked with sweets. Karen is also a big help with fellow Cottage Food producers. She can be counted on anytime they need advice or have a Cottage Foods question.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make Minnesota’s Cottage Food industry a success. Together we will continue to make Minnesota a healthy, happy place for everyone!

Happy Anniversary!

 

 

Hello June!

Hi everybody! What a great day to be a Wisconsin Cottage Food Producer! Huge congratulations to them on the passing of their bill. You can click this link to read one of the press releases: Wisconsin Cookie Bill Info. However I’m sure you can find much more information on their Wisconsin Cottage Food page.

According to the Cottage Food information on Forrager.com there are actually 7 states that are still not allowed to sell from home, or if they can it is very limited. They are Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and West Virginia.

Today I went to the first day opening of our Big Lake Farmer’s Market. It was so nice to see that the vendors selling baked and pickled items had their cottage food registrations proudly displayed. A big shout out to Stephanie of Cat Tail Farm and Grace owner of Grace’s Goodies. I bought a beautiful apron from Grace that I can’t wait to wear. I met Corrie Scott, the market coordinator, and I was happy to hear that she makes sure all of the pickle and baked goods vendors are registered and following the Cottage Food Law. I even got to meet our city mayor, Raeanne Danielowski. In short, I am very proud of our Big Lake Farmer’s Market.

Last month saw the end of our 2017 Legislature. During this time we made a valiant effort to get the cap raised, be allowed to become LLC’s, and to make it legal for us to donate cottage foods to fund raisers, silent auctions and similar events. Unfortunately we were not able to come to an agreement with the MDA concerning the cap or the LLC’s. However, Rep. Newberger was able to introduce a bill that made it legal for us to donate, which was passed along with the Agriculture bill at the last session. Gov. Dayton has signed this bill. At the moment we are waiting to hear when that law will go into effect, and I will let you know as soon as I find out.

We all really owe Rep. Newberger a huge thank you for continuing to fight for us.

Finally, I’m sure many of you saw the article in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press titled “A new state law has led to a boom in “Cottage Food” startups”. A lot of people are wondering what’s going on as some of the information is not accurate. To make a long story short, the rules have not changed, and no, we as Cottage Food Producers can not sell to grocery stores, restaurants or any other place like that. All sales must be from producer direct to consumer; we can not deliver anything through the mail. I have been in contact with the journalist who wrote the article to let him know about the inaccuracies in his article. He was very courteous and will contact us in the future if he decides to do any follow up articles about the Cottage Food Law.

Susan Driessen from the University of Minnesota Extension continues her great work with the Food Safety classes and is currently working with her team to provide an online Tier 2 class. This is very exciting and I’ll let you know as soon as it’s up and running.

Have a great summer!

 

Update & Requests

Good Morning! I want to give you a few updates. According to Suzanne Driessen attendance of her Food Safety classes have been really good. However at this time only 1,790 folks have registered with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Please be aware that even if you have attended the Food Safety class you still have to register with the MDA to become a cottage food producer. You can register online here: Cottage Food Producer Registration

Please be advised that the date for the Minneapolis cottage food class had to be rescheduled because the room wasn’t available. It will be on July 20, 2017 from 9 AM to 12 PM. It will be held in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center.
Also on July 20th, 2017 from 1 PM to 3 PM, Suzanne will be teaching a Safe Food Sampling at Farmer’s Markets & Community Events class.  This class will provide helpful information for those who want to provide free samples at these events. For more information click the link: Safe Food Sampling At Farmer’s Market’s & Community Events. You can also get more information about safe food sampling on the Minnesota Farmer’s Market Association website.
Suzanne Driessen and her staff at the University of Minnesota Extension are currently working on an online food safety course. She is looking for volunteers that would be interested in reviewing this online course and provide feedback. You would receive a Tier 2 certificate for participating. If you are interested please contact her at: 
I will end this on a note of interest, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has a new logo. I don’t know, I kind of preferred the old one. See what you think. 🙂
Have a great week everyone!

May 10, 2017 ~ Update

Hello everyone! I have an update for you from the Foodpreneuer Institute. If you had planned on attending their May 1st webinar, Cottage Food Basics – Learn Before You Leap you will have discovered that it was cancelled due to a power outage.  It has been rescheduled for Monday evening, June 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm ET, 6:00 pm our time. If you would like to register for this webinar please use the following link: Register now 

If you are still in need of Tier 2 food safety training or if you would just like to attend a more advanced and very interesting class about food safety, the next one will be held on June 1st, 2017, details can be found here: Cottage Food Producer Advanced Food Safety Training, Rochester

Farmer’s Markets are just about to go into full swing so please remember that if you are selling any kind of baked goods, candies, jams, pickles, or spices you must be registered with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Have a great day!

 

Upcoming Classes & Webinars

Hi everyone! Back when I first really took over working on getting the CFL bill passed I contacted a wonderful lady named Denay Davis. Denay had been instrumental in getting the cottage food bill passed in other states and her patience in answering my questions and great advise really helped to guide me on this journey. She runs several blogs, websites and YouTube videos as well as giving online classes about the cottage food business. Now she is giving a webinar called Cottage Food Basics. I’m going to be honest, I haven’t actually attended any of these webinars before but I’m looking forward to my first one, Cottage Food Basics, on May 1st at 11:00 our time. Below is the information about this webinar.

For Cottage Food Basics and many other upcoming webinars that may interest you click this link: The Foodpreneur Institute Upcoming Events.

Cottage Food Basics – Learn before you leap will provide information for entrepreneurs who make food products at home. Our goal is to lay a foundation and offer honest insight into the cottage food business. This online conference provides basic honest information about cottage food operations. 

Cottage foods are non-hazardous food products people produce in their homes and sell to consumers. The product may include, but not be limited to cookies, jams, cakes, dried spice blends, chocolates and other foods made in a commercial kitchen like salad dressings, sauces, salsas and more. The 1-hour session will help participants learn about the cottage food industry.” 

I also want to give a quick reminder, if you are a Tier 2 cottage food producer who still needs to take your food safety class, Suzanne Driessen will be giving two classes on May 6th in St. Cloud. For more information click here: MN Cottage Food Law Upcoming Events 

 

April 7, 2017 ~ Update

Good morning everyone, hope your day is off to a great start! I have a few updates for you.

As many of you know there are a few items in our cottage food bill that we are still working on. After almost two years we have a clearer understanding of what works and what things still need to change. One of those things was the ruling against cottage food producers being allowed to donate their products. I am very excited to tell you that after meeting with the Department of Agriculture, Rep. Newberger was able to present an amendment to the bill on the House Floor and it passed!

An amendment by Rep. Jim Newberger (R-Becker) was also adopted. It would modify the rules governing cottage food producers – home cooks and gardeners who sell their products to the public – to allow them to also donate their products to charities and other organizations trying to raise money.” ~ From the Session Daily Article

Suzanne Driessen continues to do a wonderful job directing us in food safety. If you haven’t checked out the U of M Extension website lately she has added more information. It’s a great place to find the answers to any food safety questions and if you don’t see it there just ask her. She’ll find the answer. The most recent question we asked her was if alcohol is allowed in frosting. Click the highlighted link for the answer and for any other questions you may have this is the blog link: Cottage Foods Q & A Blog

If you haven’t taken your food safety class yet the next one is May 6th, 2017 in St. Cloud. For more information about upcoming classes and to register  for them click the link: 2017 Cottage Food Workshops

One last thing, recently many of our cottage food producers have been singled out by scammers via email and text. I tried to find a good website that explains how to identify a scam. This one from Scamguard seemed to be the most informative.

Stay safe and have a wonderful April!