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!

 

 

March 17th, 2017 ~ Taxing Foods

Good morning! Recently there has been a lot of discussion among the cottage food producers about which foods are taxable and non-taxable. The fact sheets at the Minnesota Department of Revenue (MDOR) can be a little confusing. So I sat down and wrote up a simplified chart and I asked the kind folks at the MDOR to check to make sure it was correct. They sent it back with a few corrections and here is the result. I thought I would share it with you all. This is NOT a legal document. I’m just a lady who likes to bake. If you have any other questions you can email the Sales Use Technical Department at the MDOR: SalesUse.Tech@state.mn.us. It does take them a little while to get back to you but they will.

Please click this link to see the chart: Taxable Foods List

One more thing, I contacted the Dept. Of Agriculture to find out why the registrations have been taking so long. Mr. Jim Roettger, the man now in charge, assured me that they are working as fast as they can and appreciate our patience.

Have a nice weekend!

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March Updates

Hello everyone! If you are like me cabin fever has set in and I’m so happy to see spring on the horizon. Folks are getting ready for spring vendor events and soon opening farmers markets. Brides are preparing for June weddings and seniors are preparing for upcoming graduations. Business should soon be booming for everyone! So please remember that if you are a Cottage Foods Producer you must be registered with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Currently we have 1,163 registered cottage food producers. Last year we had double that amount so please remember re-registration is not automatic, you must reapply every year. If you have any questions contact the MN Dept. of Agriculture.

Suzanne Driessen has informed me that the food safety classes are going well this year. Attendance has been great. 63 people attended the 3 classes that she has taught so far and 30 people attended the Local Foods College webinar.

She has also informed me that there is a simplified version of the webinar that would qualify for Tier 1 training. It is called Cottage Food Law LFC 2017, just click the link.  Folks can also watch the videos on the MFMA website to meet the Tier 1 training requirement. If you would like to use either of these video options, you will need to email Suzanne for the exam, driessen@umn.edu; that way she has it on record that you took the training.  Or you can do the training from the MDA website and take their exam. The Tier 2 online course is being worked on and we’ll let you know when it is completed. Until then Tier 2 food safety training classes have been posted in the events section of the MN Cottage Food Law Facebook page.

Another cool thing that has happened recently is that the University of Minnesota Extension has redesigned their web page. They have added videos and resources for product sampling and transferred their FAQ webpage into a blog. Check it out here: Safe Food Sampling at Farmers Markets.

Recently I have read a few articles that I thought some of you might be interested in. The links are below. Have a very lucky March 🙂

The Price Is Wrong

Making Money on the Homestead – Cottage Laws

Run A Cottage Food Business From Your Own Kitchen

 

 

 

Scam Alert!

Good morning all! Please be aware and alert! Unfortunately several of our Minnesota cottage food producers have been receiving the following text message and/or others similar to the one below:

16864473_10210705413965719_2983056298479388139_n2If you have received this or anything similar to it please delete it from your call logs immediately. As a matter of fact it is recommended by AVG that you clear your call log every few days just as a precaution.

There are many scams out there. As the Cottage Food Industry picks up around the country I am sure we will see more and more. Unfortunately a lot of our information is general public knowledge since we must provide it on our labels. Please be sure to use as many precautions as you can. Never give anyone your bank account information to transfer money to you. Never do a large order for anyone until you have received a down payment to at least cover you ingredients. Make sure your down payment is in cash or if you do accept checks, be sure they have cleared before purchasing large amounts of ingredients.

I’m sure there are many more precautions we should be aware of. If you think of any, feel free to share. I am attaching an article from the Consumer Report website that explains the science of a scam. There is a lot of useful information on their website. Take care you all and be safe!

The Science Of Scam ~ Consumer Report

 

 

February 2017 Update

Happy February you all! I have a few updates for you this morning.

First I have to inform you all that Valerie Gambel, our favorite person at the Dept. of Agriculture, has been given a different position and will no longer be our go to contact there. She has been a wonderful help to us and we can’t thank her enough for everything she has done to advance the cottage food industry here in Minnesota. Mr. James Roettger  will now be our contact for any questions or concerns you have regarding the cottage food law. His email is: James.Roettger@state.mn.us

The University of Minnesota Extension has re-designed their cottage food page. There are updates to the Cottage Food FAQ’s page and there is a great page with information about upcoming safety classes and workshops. It’s easier to see what classes are coming up and easier to register for them: Cottage Food Producer Food Safety Training

I want to encourage anyone who isn’t already following the Minnesota Farmer’s Market Association Facebook page to do so. There is always interesting information to be found and farmer’s markets are a great place to sell your products.

In the past I have mentioned David Crabill and his great website Forrager, which is a wonderful resource for all kinds of cottage food information all over the United States. He recently sent me a letter with a few highlights from 2016:

And he noted that this year he will be keeping tabs on Connecticut and New Jersey, as they are both close to ending their battles to get a cottage food law implemented. According to the Cottage Food Law CT Movement on Facebook, if all goes well they should have everything finalized by April 2017.

That’s it for now. Have a great day!

 

 

Happy New Year 2017!

Hello everyone! It’s a new year with new opportunities and a whole lot of hope that it’s a great one for us all!

2016 ended with a total of 1,973 registered cottage food producers in Minnesota. As of a few days ago less than half that number have re-registered. Please remember that all registrations expired on Dec. 31st, 2016. All of the re-registration forms have been sent out. If you did not receive one you can re-register online following the instructions below. If anyone needs their PIN they can call or email the MDA and the kind folks there will quickly find it for you. 

Step-by-Step instructions to renew on-line $0 – 5,000:

1.    Go to our website which is www.mda.state.mn.us

2.    Click on “Apply / Renew a License”

3.    Click on “RENEW my license”

4.    Enter your License Number (xxxxxxxx)

5.    Enter your PIN (xxxx)

6.    Click Renew License

7.    Enter the following information:

a.    Amount of food sales (gross sales amount, not net sales)

b.    Checklist of items you produce – then click “Next”

c.    Training date, if it is not shown please enter your most recent training date – then click “Next”

d.    Contact name, title, telephone, fax if applicable, and email address – then click “Agree, Continue” (If you sold less than $5000, this will be your last screen. When you click on “Yes, I agree”, your registration will be renewed)

Step-by-Step instructions to renew on-line $5,000 – $18,000:

Complete steps 1-7 as shown above

8.    Verify purchase and write down PAYMENT ID (this number is required if you are paying with an e-check), then click on “Enter Payment Information”. You will then leave the MDA website and enter US Bank’s website. Follow the prompts and enter information when required.
Note: US Bank charges a 2.5% handling fee for each renewal transaction.

9.    Print copies of the receipts for your records. 
**PLEASE NOTE: If you are paying with an e-check, you will not be able to renew your license online without the payment ID.  If you forget to either print the page or write down your Payment ID and are unable to renew your license, try closing completely out of your browser and then restart the renewal process.  If this doesn’t work you will need to call us at the number below or mail in your renewal with payment.

On December 17th, 2016 Suzanne Driessen held the last food safety class of the year. We were really happy that 18 people attended this class and we want to give Suzanne a big thank you for traveling all over the state last year to teach these classes for us. Suzanne has already scheduled several food safety classes for this year. You can find them on the University of Minnesota Extension website and I have added them to the events part of our MN Cottage Food Law Facebook page. These classes are very interesting and informative. All Tier 2 Cottage Food Producers, meaning that you plan to gross between $5,000.00 to $18,000.00 this year, must attend a Tier 2 level food safety class.  These food safety courses only need to be retaken every 3 years.

We continue to have a few new people joining our page every week. We welcome you and we wish you all the best in your endeavors to become a Minnesota cottage food producer. You can find most of the answers to any questions you may have on the Minnesota Farmer’s Market Association website, as well as links to other helpful resources. By the way, if you are planning to sell any of your foods at the many farmer’s markets the MFMA is a great thing to become a member of.

For those of you who may not know, we also have a Twitter account @MNCottageLaw and a Facebook group page for MN Cottage Food Producers to share ideas and other information.

Some of you have been following the progress of the New Jersey Cottage Food folks on Facebook. At this time their bill has once again passed the Assembly unanimously and  they are waiting to hear back from the Red Tape Review and getting their Bill posted for a Senate Hearing. The CT Cottage Food Movement looks to be doing pretty good. They report that there is only one more hurdle to pass which is the Regulation Review Committee in their legislature. So fingers crossed they could have their bill passed within a month or two. I’m afraid there isn’t much new news from the Wisconsin cottage food page. They are all happy for any new supporters so please continue to show them some love and encouragement.

Have a great day and best wishes to you all for a wonderfully successful new year!

Updates & 2017 Food Safety Classes Info

Hello everyone! I hope this finds you well and keeping warm. For all of you who haven’t yet seen the Facebook post from today, the December 17th food safety classes have been changed. There will only be one class given that day from 9am to 12 pm. This class is for both Tiers 1 and 2.

Suzanne Driessen has given me the new schedule for Food Safety Training in 2017. Please take note and attend one of these classes if you have not already done so. These classes are legally required for all Tier 2 registered food producers. The classes are very interesting and informative for all cottage food producers. You will learn how to produce, package and label your products safely. These classes are also a good opportunity to ask Suzanne any specific questions you might have with regards to food safety. Please click this link for the 2017 dates and locations: cottage-foods-workshop-schedule-2017

By now everyone who needs to re-register for 2017 should have received their letters in the mail with instructions on how to re-register online. It is very easy to do and works very quickly. I received my new registration card two days after I filled out the online information.  If you have any problems contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, mda.cottagefood@state.mn.us

It’s so exciting to think that this is the second registration card many of us have applied for. The year 2016 has been very successful for many of you and I am so happy for you! Hopefully 2017 will be even better for Minnesota cottage food producers. Maybe I will actually find time to bake myself! Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!