December 2022

Happy last day of 2022! This year just sailed by. Most of you cottage food producers should have received your re-registration forms for 2023 by now. This can easily be completed online. If you haven’t received your renewal form yet send an email with your registration number to LIS.Info@state.mn.us to request a new PIN. Your registration number will stay the same.

With the many new cottage food producers we have and the new year upon us, I thought it was a good time to remind everyone to be especially aware of scams. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” isn’t just a cliché. It is the truth.

There are many different scams that are attempted against cottage food producers and small businesses in general. Some of the most used scams come as fake vendor events. Always check out the details of any event before you give them any payment. If the event is said to be at a certain place, (such as the local VFW, community hall, etc.) call these places and verify that these events are also on their schedules. Another popular scam to be aware of is a consumer requesting a large amount of product and then asking for your bank information to send the payment. Or they will pay you with a fraudulent cashiers check. Avoiding Cashier’s Check Fraud These are just a few examples. Be sure to do your homework and check out websites such as the link I have provided above and information from the Better Business Bureau. I have also attached more information by the Oregon DOJ. One more thing! Do not update or apply for your DBA, LLC or any other business registration with anyone else but the MN Secretary of State! Anyone else just wants to charge you additional and unnecessary fees. Be aware, stay safe!

A huge congratulations to Lisa Kivirist and her Wisconsin Cottage Food Association for their recent win! What a great way to end 2022. To read more about how this benefits Wisconsin cottage food producers click here: Victory for Wisconsin Home Bakers

Two years ago I was so happy to attend the first, and so far only, National Cottage Food Conference which was hosted by Lisa Kivirist & John Ivanko. They are co-authors of the awesome book Homemade for Sale and the force behind the fight for cottage foods in Wisconsin. This conference was so successful and well-attended, it was a delight to participate. You can read my recaps here: National Cottage Food Conference 2021, My Review

I’m so excited to announce that they will once again host the Home-based Food Entrepreneur Virtual National Conference 2023, which will take place April 10 – 13, 2023.

The price is super low, only $35 for the 4-day virtual conference, so that it is accessible to as many cottage food entrepreneurs as possible. In 2021 over 900 people from all over the world attended. It was so much fun and so informative. Be sure to register for this event ASAP.

Sign up for the Home-based Food Entrepreneur Virtual National Conference 2023

2023 MNCFPA Cottage Food Conference

Come join MNCFPA for our 5th Annual Cottage Food Conference! This will be two fun full days of virtual webinars all about cottage foods, featuring our keynote speaker Matt Rosen, owner of Sgt. Shortbread. Matt is a retired veteran, cottage food producer, and commercial food license holder. Additionally, there will be a social media workshop with Michelle Sharp from Meet the Minnesota Makers, marketing tips by John Krumheuer of MSP Kitchenery, MFMA executive director Kathy Zeman will host a Blazing trails collab with us, where to begin when wanting to move beyond cottage foods with Kurt Schneider food & nutrition consultant, plus sooo much more. Stay tuned for our full schedule of events. We look forward to seeing you January 12th and 13th, 8:15am to 5:30pm. Registration ends January 9th.

Link: Conference Registration Form Can Be Found Here

Membership Information

Location: Interactive Webinars via Zoom

Cost: MNCFPA member: $20

Non-members: $60

Dates to Remember

Jan. 10, 20236:30pm-7:30pmMNCFPA Members Happy Hour
Jan. 12-13, 20238:15am – 5:30pm5th Annual Minnesota Cottage Foods Conference
Jan 12, 20237:00pm – 8:00pmMNCFPA Members Annual Board Meeting
Jan. 19, 20237:00pm – 8:30pmThird Thursdays with Tom

I want to end this last blog post of the year 2022 by once again telling all of the 7000 plus registered cottage food producers in Minnesota how wonderful and amazing you are! I am so proud to be a part of this community and can’t wait to see what 2023 holds for our industry.

I read this story the other day and I am going to leave it with you for something to ponder and remember. Never ever forget your worth. You are marvelous! Happy New Year!

A violinist played for 45 minutes in the New York subway. A handful of people stopped, a couple clapped, and the violinist raised about $30 in tips.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. In that subway, Joshua played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before he played in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out a Boston theatre, and the seats averaged about $100.

The experiment proved that the extraordinary in an ordinary environment does not shine and is so often overlooked and undervalued.

There are brilliantly talented people everywhere who aren’t receiving the recognition and reward they deserve. But once they arm themselves with value and confidence and remove themselves from an environment that isn’t serving them, they thrive and grow.

Your gut is telling you something. Listen to it if it’s telling you where you are isn’t enough!

Go where you are appreciated and valued.

Know Your Worth.

Author Unknown

November 2022

Hello everyone! Market season is over and the great holiday rush begins. Being a cottage food producer will definitely keep you busy. 🙂

We ended the month of October with a wonderful MNCFPA get-together at the Big lake Lions park. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. We had about 80 people in attendance and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I know I did. We were honored to have Assistant Commissioner Patrice Bailey from the MN Dept. of Agriculture and his family join us. Sen. Mathews and his family also joined us and our dear Meagan Forbes from the Institute for Justice came with her little boy. They were our judges for the chili contest. We had music, cupcake walks, a scavenger hunt for the kids and lots of good food. It really was a great day!

Our MNCFPA board members: Brenda Thompson (Acting Secretary), Tom Nechodomu, Muriel Kingery, MaryJo Boyle, Christine Myhre (Treasurer), Shelley Erickson (President) and Jennifer Carriveau (Vice-President)

Our special guests and chili judges: Joseph and Meagan Forbes, Assistant Commissioner Bailey, and Sen. Andrew Mathews. My grand-daughter decided to join in the photo opt. 🙂 We can not thank them enough for joining us, participating in every event and for being such great guests.

The delightful Gigi Amal sang for us. We had several cupcake walks, with many happy winners.

Muriel Kingery, owner of Sundog Handmade, taught a cookie decorating class. Everyone loved that!

Pie eating contest. Jen Carriveau showed them who was boss and packed her pie away within five minutes.

Thanks again to all who came and made it such a special day. Next year we hope to see many more of you. 🙂

Dates to Remember

Nov. 17, 20227pm-8:30pmThird Thursdays with Tom
Dec. 7-8, 2022Save the DateMFMA Virtual Conference
Dec. 13, 20226:30pm-7:30pmMNCFPA Happy Hour
Jan. 12-13, 2023Save the DateAnnual Minnesota Cottage Foods Conference

MNCFPA 2023 Membership Fall Sale Until November 5, 2022

Become a member by November 5, 2022, and your membership will not expire until December 2023. MNCFPA membership runs annually from January 1st to December 31st and is only $35.00; however, until November 5th you can become an association member and gain access this year to the members only pages, join in on our online monthly social hours, one last online class, and register for the annual conference (January 2023) at the discounted member rate.

MNCFPA was formed to give cottage food producers a unified voice in Minnesota. As an association we work to keep cottage foods moving in the right direction for producers and Minnesota. We meet with key stake holders throughout the year, offer opportunities for education and socializing, keep up with policies and legislative initiatives that impact cottage foods and so much more. If you would like to become a member, please complete the membership application at: https://www.mncfpa.org/membership/

Last but definitely not least…

There was a time that I wanted nothing to do with politics. I assumed like many of us do that things just got done somehow and I was good with letting people like my husband, who loves politics, just deal with it. Until the day it actually touched something I really cared about and I had to do something about it. I had to get the cottage food law amended in Minnesota or be content to stop selling my homemade sweets. So I did.

I learned an awful lot during that time. I learned that getting a bill passed is a lot of work, very time consuming and can be very daunting. I also learned how politics actually works and that if we the people don’t get involved the outcome can be quite disastrous. I also learned that it is really hard to get people involved. When the bill finally passed in 2015 it was a very small group of us that had spent many hours of blood, sweat, and tears to make it happen.

If we want our cottage food industry to continue to thrive, everyone has to be involved. Even if all you do is vote for your district Representative and Senator candidates who care about cottage foods and small businesses. Your vote is important. Your vote matters. This November 8th take just a few minutes of your time, do a little homework, and support the people who will support you.

Blazing Trails Dates

Good afternoon everyone! As promised I am sharing the Blazing Trails dates and press release published on the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association website. If you have any questions about these classes you can contact Kim Guenther, MFMA Communications Director at kguenther@mfma.org.

Blazing Trails Local Food Regulations Training Series Critical for Food Farmers and Food Makers

(CLICK HERE FOR SPANISH VERSION)

Minnesota, October 13, 2022—In order to assist the rapidly growing local foods movement in Minnesota, six dates are set for important training in food regulation. “Blazing Trails Through the Jungle of Food Regulations” training is designed to provide access to information and resources on how to navigate food regulations pertaining to local food, to improve our food system. Information on important topics such as food safety, ‘product of the farm’ exclusion from licensing, the ‘cottage food law’ exemption from licensing, and the differences between MDA and MDH food licenses will all be covered.

“The world of food regulations can be confusing,” says Kathy Zeman, Blazing Trails trainer, direct marketing farmer, and executive director of the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association. “Blazing Trails provides clear explanations and reasoning for the rules and guidelines which govern our food system.’

“As a farmer, food entrepreneur, or local food advocate, understanding the legal aspects of our food system is really important,” says Jane Jewett, Blazing Trails trainer and associate director of the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. “Minnesotans in the sustainable ag and local food space are doing great work. We want to support and ensure their work is successful, without difficulties along the way,” 

The half-day training is scheduled for 6 separate offerings (same training, six separate dates).

Registration is $10 and open to anyone with a passion for local farmers and local food who wants additional information on food regulations. Possible attendees include SHIP coordinators, Extension educators, farm group leaders, school board members, school food service directors, economic development staff, public health staff, farmers, restaurant owners, and farmers’ market operators. Anyone is welcome. Registration is now open at: www.mfma.org/Events

Blazing Trails is sponsored by the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) and the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association (MFMA). For more information, contact Kim Guenther, MFMA Communications Director at kguenther@mfma.org.

About the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association

The Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association (MFMA) provides services, programs, and leadership that support and promote farmers’ markets across Minnesota. The organization works to foster a community of vibrant, profitable and professionally managed Minnesota farmers’ markets that cultivate, nourish and inspire a vibrant local foods landscape. The MFMA vision is to create greater accessibility to local, farm-fresh foods and to allow opportunities for local food producers to thrive and grow.

About Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture

The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) is a partnership between the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, University of Minnesota Extension, and the Sustainers’ Coalition. The purpose of MISA is to bring together the diverse interests of the agricultural community with interests from across the University community in a cooperative effort to develop and promote sustainable agriculture in Minnesota and beyond.

September/October 2022

Hi everyone! I hope everyone had a great summer. There are a few things to update you on.

First of all, the Cottage Food Q&A on the University of Minnesota’s website has been updated. If you are not familiar with this you should check it out. A lot of questions cottage food producers ask can be found here: Cottage Food Q&A

Yesterday we were so honored to be invited to speak on behalf of cottage foods at the MDA’s all staff meeting of the Food and Feed Safety Division. Tom Nechodomu of Behind the Breadbox and Matt Rosen of Sergeant Shortbread did a fantastic job talking about cottage foods and why it is such an important industry.

They both spoke of the importance of community and how supporting each other is paramount not only for the cottage food industry, but humanity as a whole. Tom described how much of a difference cottage foods has made in his life and his communities. Matt described the amazing creations cottage food producers make. Works of art that can’t be found in a random grocery store. Cottage food producers are not only passionate about their individual specialties, but their community’s welfare as well. I was so very proud of them and I am honored to be their friend.

Jane Jewitt of MISA and Kathy Zeman of MFMA will be offering a series of Blazing Trails webinars every month from November 2022 to April 2023. They will be teaching about all of the updated laws and regulations required for Farmers’ Markets, cottage foods, etc. We will share the dates as soon as we know them. Until then you can find a link to their Blazing Trails slideshow here: Slide Deck Presentation

We hope you will join us for our Annual CFP Get-Together. Click the link to sign up for this event: Minnesota Registered Cottage Food Producers Association Annual Get-Together – Minnesota Cottage Food Producer’s Association (mncfpa.org)

Dates to Remember

Oct. 20, 20227pm-8:30pmThird Thursdays with Tom
Oct. 30, 20221pm-5pmFall CFP Get-Together
Nov. 7, 20221pm-2pmMFMA Open Forum Meeting
Nov. 8, 20226:30pm-7:30pmMNCFPA Happy Hour
Nov. 17, 20227pm-8:30pmThird Thursdays with Tom
Nov. 29, 202211:30am-12:30pmVirtual Coffee Hour
Dec. 7-8, 2022Save the DateMFMA Virtual Conference
Dec. 13, 20226:30pm-7:30pmMNCFPA Happy Hour
Dec. 15, 20227pm-8:30pmThird Thursdays with Tom
Jan. 12-13, 2023Save the DateAnnual Minnesota Cottage Foods Conference

One More Thing

Almost exactly 11 years ago I wrote my very first letter and began my quest to change the cottage food law in Minnesota. At that time my goal was to be able to legally sell my homemade cakes and cookies. I never imagined how huge this would become. We now have approximately 7000 registered cottage food producers in Minnesota. Nor did I foresee all of the wonderful friends I have made along the way. I have to admit, every time I see a cottage food producer, I feel like a proud mama.

The cottage food industry grows every year. Not only here in Minnesota, but throughout the whole country. The cottage food industry is gaining more notice and popularity. With this recognition comes responsibility. It is more than ever important for us all to follow the law and be vigilant about food safety.

Food safety is the number one weapon that our opposition has to use against us. Trust me, there are several entities that would love nothing more than to completely shut us down altogether.

With this in mind, there are some things we can do to safe guard our industry.

• I highly suggest that even if you are a Tier 1 cottage food producer that you take the Tier 2 online class. There is so much more information in it. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

• Read the Non-potentially hazardous foods list on our website mncfpa.org. You will find an easy to follow guide on what is and is not allowed to be sold by cottage food producers.

• Attend our monthly webinars Third Thursday’s with Tom. This is free and open to the public so that you can ask all the questions you may have about your cottage food business.

• Sign up for our monthly blog. Every month we try to post updates on things happening in the cottage food world.

• Definitely join our registered cottage food producers Facebook chat group. It is a major source of information, inspiration and guidance.

And last but definitely not least, become a member of our association. Having an official association with active members will help with future legislation, education and other important projects. You can become a member at mncfpa.org.

August 2022

Happy August everyone! It’s been a wonderfully busy summer with county fairs, farmers’ markets and all kinds of summer fairs, festivals and events. Cottage food producers can be seen everywhere which makes me burst with pride over all you have accomplished and how far our industry has progressed. It’s especially awesome to see how much we all support each other. Cottage food people are the best!

It’s especially gratifying to see all of the young cottage food producers out there. At the Sherburne County Fair I got to meet Braydon Vossen of Brayden’s PAWfect Treats, LLC. Unfortunately I couldn’t buy any of his beautiful treats because oddly enough my fur baby is peanut butter intolerant, but everything looked wonderful. Braydon has garnered quite a following and the St. Cloud Times wrote an article about him a few days ago. You can read the article here: 10-year-old operates small business baking and selling dog treats in St. Cloud area.

Speaking of young cottage food producers, not long ago we introduced you to Cruz Chladek who along with his mother Amy created Chladek Cookies. They recently won some ribbons in the Steele County Free Fair. A huge congratulations to them and also to Laura Thompson of Thompson Family Farm (pictured) for all of the ribbons she won at the Dakota County Fair, April Taylor of Get Baked and Stuff for her ribbons at the Wright County Fair, and Stephanie Lynn of Shortie’s Sweets ‘n Treats at the Dakota County Fair. I know there are so many more of you who have already entered your delicious items in these competitions or plan to, please be sure to share your success stories with us. Congratulations and good luck to everyone!

Our association is dedicated to bringing cottage food producers together, as well as working on all the boring legislative stuff. 🙂 With that in mind we have been working to create events, both in person and virtually, to not only provide assist new cottage food producers, but also to create social networking opportunities for all cottage food producers. Our association is only in it’s second year and run totally by volunteers, so we ask that you are patient with us as we grow and please feel free to assist us whenever and wherever you can and please become a member of our association.

With that in mind we have several upcoming events scheduled that we would like to share with you. Below you will find a list of upcoming events and the invitation for our Annual Get Together which will be held in October this year. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and website mncfpa.org, as more webinars and events will be added.

Click the link to sign up for this event: Minnesota Registered Cottage Food Producers Association Annual Get-Together – Minnesota Cottage Food Producer’s Association (mncfpa.org)

Dates to Remember

Sept. 12, 20221pm-2pmMFMA Open Forum Meeting
Sept. 13, 20226:30pm-7:30pmMNCFPA Happy Hour
Sept. 15, 20227pm-8:30pmThird Thursdays with Tom
Sept. 27, 202211:30am-12:30pmVirtual Coffee Hour
Oct. 3, 20221pm-2pmMFMA Open Forum Meeting
Oct. 11, 20226:30pm-7:30pmMNCFPA Happy Hour
Oct. 20, 20227pm-8:30pmThird Thursdays with Tom
Oct. 25, 202211:30am-12:30pmVirtual Coffee Hour
Oct. 30, 20221pm-5pmFall CFP Get-Together
Nov. 7, 20221pm-2pmMFMA Open Forum Meeting
Nov. 8, 20226:30pm-7:30pmMNCFPA Happy Hour
Nov. 17, 20227pm-8:30pmThird Thursdays with Tom
Nov. 29, 202211:30am-12:30pmVirtual Coffee Hour
Dec. 7-8, 2022Save the DateMFMA Virtual Conference
Dec. 13, 20226:30pm-7:30pmMNCFPA Happy Hour
Dec. 15, 20227pm-8:30pmThird Thursdays with Tom
Jan. 12-14, 2023Save the DateAnnual Minnesota Cottage Foods Conference

One of the subjects often discussed on our MN Registered Cottage Food Producers Group Chat on Facebook is the best way to set up a new cottage food business. The bottom line is that it really depends on how you want to proceed. If you are just wondering if selling your specialties is for you, then you can start off slowly by simply registering with your social security number at the MDA’s website as a Tier 1 cottage food producer.

However, many people decide that they want to take a step further and set up their business with either a DBA (Doing Business As) or an LLC (Limited Liability Company). This is when you want to contact the Minnesota Secretary of State. Below you will see detailed instructions by our Karen Peterson on how to set up your business with a DBA. Filing as an LLC is very similar, however it does cost $155.00 to set up and is an expense you might not want until you are sure where your business is headed. There is a recording on our MNCFPA members page with more information about becoming an LLC.

Assumed Name, DBA (doing business as) Facts by Karen Peterson

There is a lot to know when starting off as a cottage food producer, including if you call your business something besides, first name/last name, then registering your name as an assumed name with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office is needed per the MN SOS Office.

Before you choose a name for your assumed name you should do a few different searches on the MN Secretary of State’s business name file search to make sure that your name isn’t already taken as an assumed name. Doing this first can save you a headache down the road if someone already had your assumed name in use before you chose it.

Once you see that your assumed name is available, you register with the MN Secretary of State’s office and pay the $50 fee to file an assumed name. For your assumed name to be considered legal, you’ll need to run an ad in a legal newspaper following the steps listed when you file for your assumed name.

The Minnesota Secretary of States Office is very helpful in getting your assumed name or DBA registered. Check out the link I have provided. http://www.sos.state.mn.us/business-liens/business-forms-fees/assumed-name-sole-proprietorship-forms/

Every year around September the MN Secretary of State’s Office sends out renewal reminders. The assumed name renewal costs nothing if you aren’t changing anything. Shall you change a word or something in your assumed name then you have to file an amendment (pay another fee), re-file in a legal newspaper. Best bet is to make sure when you file you for sure want that name. So when you receive your renewal in your email around September of each year, file the renewal right away. It is due by 12-31 of each year. You can file the renewal at any point after you receive your renewal email.

Any other questions please contact the MN Secretary of State at 1-877-551-6767 or email business.services@state.mn.us

Important Update ~ CBD, THC & Hand Washing Stations

Last week we attended a few meetings with MDA, MDH, MFMA and several other food stakeholders. Amongst the many subjects discussed was the recent law changes in Minnesota regarding CBD and THC. We also discussed hand washing stations, which is a question that has come up a lot with market season in full swing. Here are the conclusions to these discussions.

CBD and THC

Let me say this very clearly. Under NO circumstances is it legal for a cottage food producer to use either CBD or THC in any of their products. They are considered a pharmaceutical product and therefore can not be added to any of our foods.

– They are NOT food according to the “food” definition in law M.S. 34A.01, subd. 4. MN Board of Pharmacy is in charge of regulation, not MDA.

– Cottage food producers can NOT produce THC edibles because they are NOT FOOD by definition.

CBD, THC & Hemp in Dog Treats

As stated above, cottage food producers cannot make any products which include CBD and THC, this includes dog treats. Also it should be noted that Hemp products of any kind, including products identified as GRAS are not allowed in dog treats. Period.

Hand Washing Stations

There has been a lot of discussion regarding hand washing stations. As for now, the law says that a hand washing station is required when giving out samples. This law will be addressed next session, but until that law is revised you should have a hand washing station when passing out your samples.

For more information click on these links below:

28A.151 FARMERS’ MARKET OR COMMUNITY EVENT; FOOD PRODUCT SAMPLING AND DEMONSTRATION.

4626.1855 SPECIAL EVENT FOOD STANDS.

Safe food sampling for farmers market vendors

Build a low-cost handwashing station for food safety

Quick Important Updates

Hi everyone, I had decided to take a little break and not write a blog post for July but I have a few important things I wanted to share with you

First of all we are super excited to announce that the MDA now has the Cottage Food Registration and Training for Tier 1 translated into Spanish. If you know of anyone who would be interested in becoming a cottage food producer that could make use of this resource, please share it with them. The MDA is also working on Hmong and Somali translations.

Spanish Translation of Minnesota Cottage Food Producer Materials Now Available

Cottage Food Producers can now find translated versions of the Minnesota Cottage Food Producer Registration and Cottage Food Training online at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) website.

Here are links to the translated versions of the materials:

Cottage Food Producer Registration | Registro de Productor de Comida Casera

Cottage Food Training | Capacitación para Obtener el Registro de Productor de Comida Casera

Translations will improve food safety in Minnesota

Cottage Food Producers may speak a language other than English as their first language. By having cottage food materials available in Spanish, we hope to:

  • Help to better serve Spanish speaking communities within Minnesota
  • Provide additional outreach and education for Minnesota’s cottage food industry
  • Ensure the safety of cottage food products offered for sale in Minnesota

In David Crabill of Forrager’s most recent newsletter he talks about the Institute for Justice’s new report called Baking Bad,  which also introduces their own new cottage food law map.

David says, “Along with Forrager’s map, it becomes the second regularly-updated cottage food law map that exists today (that I know of). If you check both of them out (here & here), you’ll notice that the maps are significantly different.
Both maps use essentially the same data to rank the states, so how can they be different?
In short, it’s because my priorities are not the same as those of the Institute for Justice.
Neither map is better than the other. They’re just different.

What’s The Main Difference?

Here’s my best summary for each map in one line:

  • Institute for Justice map: Which states make it easy to sell a wide variety of homemade food products?
  • Forrager map: Which states provide the most opportunities for selling homemade food products?

Those seem mostly the same, but actually lead to big differences in our ranking algorithms.

To put it another way, the Institute for Justice is more focused on the legal side of things. They reward food freedom states, and punish states to the degree that their governments regulate the sale of homemade food.

Whereas I’d say I’m more focused on the business side of things. As much as I hate them, I’m okay with some regulatory burdens (e.g. permit, training, inspections) IF they allow me to do more with my home business. And that perspective of mine is reflected in Forrager’s map.

If you would like to read more about the differences he sees between the two maps, please send David an email and ask to subscribe to his newsletters. He sends them out regularly with updates on cottage food laws across the United States and previews of his podcasts which he does with cottage food producers from all over. His email is: david@forrager.com

A few more quick reminders:

Third Thursdays with Tom is tomorrow evening at 7pm. It is free to everyone but please register at mncfpa.org. to receive a zoom link.

National Framer’s Market Week is August 7th to the 13th. The MFMA has a photo competition going on now and they are giving out $500.00 in prizes.

Stay cool everyone and enjoy the sunshine!

June & July 2022

It’s the end of June already and as we all know it’s been a hot one. If you are struggling with baking in this heat I found an article with tips for helping to ease your misery. Just click the link: Tips You Need To Know For Baking In Hot Weather

Being a vendor at the farmers markets’ in this weather has been quite a struggle for everyone. On our MN Registered Cottage Food Producers Facebook Group Chat the CFPs have been sharing their tips for beating the heat and keeping frosting from melting. Here are a few listed below.

  • Anytime I sold cupcakes, mini cakes, and items that don’t hold up well to the heat, I would use a cambro hot box with a camchiller [giant ice pack] and/or I had a mini fridge I plugged into a Jackery. 
  • I keep the cupcakes in a big ice chest that I have with wheels until just before they are served. I use those big freezer blocks so nothing gets damp. Fill an ice chest or two and just have a sample of what you’re selling or a fake look alike made with clay, or even a picture of your product to display.
  • I was a market where my neighbor had semi-froze some brownies/frosting and then used dry ice to keep them cold. He said he had no melting issues even on warm days. He cut some into samples and the one I had was perfect.
  • I have a display case my husband built me. I have a food grade safe Ice pack taped to the inside on really hot days to keep them cold however most of the time they are cooler in the case. I also keep my extras in a cooler with ice packs under my tables. I have a canopy that helps block the sun. I also now have a second display case for my cookies, pies, brownies etc.

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Summer means that it will soon be time for the great Minnesota Get Together, commonly known as the Minnesota State Fair. In the past we have had several of our amazing cottage food producers represented at the fair, winning ribbons and wowing the judges with their delicious entrees. Pictured here is Annette Gustafson of Birch Bakehouse with her award winning cookies.

If you would like to present one of your specialties for the Creative Activities event you will need to fill out an entry form. Entries are open now and will close for all divisions Tuesday, Aug. 9, at 4:30 p.m. No exceptions. For more information click on this link 2022 Creative Activities Competition and find the category you want to enter. Good luck everyone!

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Speaking of great Minnesota get togethers, I recently met the awesome person who created the Meet The MN Makers website, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Michelle Sharp is a journalist who decided it was time to bring together the many talented people we have in Minnesota who create fabulous foods and other really cool things. We all know that shopping locally to support our small businesses is really important and her website will help you find these local talents. Click the link to find out more about Meet the MN Makers.

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Because of our busy summer schedules the MNCFPA will not have a special webinar for the month of July. Here are some other upcoming events.

DateTimeEvent
July 11th1pm to 2pmMinnesota Farmers’ Market Association Open Forum
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84702484081
July 12th7pm to 8pmMNCFPA Members Happy Hour
Get to know other CFPs, swap stories & advice.
July 21th7pm to 8:30pmThird Thursday with Tom – Cottage Food How To’s Q & A Session
August 7th to the 13thNational Farmers’ Market Week

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If you are not yet a member of our association become a member today. The Minnesota Registered Cottage Food Producers Association unites cottage food producers all over Minnesota and gives CFPs a unified voice when addressing topics that impact our industry, lobbying our lawmakers to strengthen the cottage food industry, and the opportunity to secure group purchasing power. We have instructional webinars, many resources and other opportunities. For more information go to our website: mncfpa.org.

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Last but most definitely not least, July 1st is the 7th anniversary of the day that the amended Minnesota Cottage Food Law went into effect. We now have over 6000 registered cottage food producers. Since that day on July 1st, 2015, some have gone on to acquire there own brick and mortar shops. Some have remained contently as home bakers and farmers’ market vendors. Some have been doing this a very long time and some are just beginning.

Whatever your passion may be, wherever your heart and talents lead you, we wish you the most amazing success. May all of your dreams comes true. Happy Happy Anniversary to you, my fellow cottage foodies!

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Wishing everyone a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!

May 2022

Happy May everyone! Hope everyone is staying safe and dry in this crazy Minnesota May weather.

We ended April with a MNCFPA members shopping trip which was attended by eight amazing cottage food producers. We met at the Yum bakery in St Louis Park for coffee and sweets, then headed to the Nordic Ware Factory just a few minutes away. After that we went to the Costco Business Center, where we wandered around for nearly two hours. There is so much to see there! Then we lingered over lunch at Davanni’s, just enjoying the good food and great conversation. We ended our day at the Restaurant Depot right next to the Minnesota State Fair Grounds. What a neat place! It was such a fun day and we can’t wait for the next one, which is being planned for the Fall. Hope you can join us!

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Julia Child once said, “Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.” The founder of Icing Smiles understood that giving a cake wasn’t about the cake, it was what the cake represented; caring, compassion and love. My two favorite charities are all about spreading the love.

The first is Icing Smiles, for which many cottage food producers have become Sugar Angels. Sugar Angels bake and donate cakes for critically ill children and their siblings. On May 19th, 2022, Icing Smiles will be joining up with Craftsy, and Creative Cake Design to bring you the 2022 Sugarthon! Join them live on May 19th at 11:00 a.m. CT as expert decorators create amazing cakes to celebrate amazing kids. You can watch as they design a custom cake and share the stories of three families who have been impacted by the critical illness of a child. You do have to register to receive viewing information. Click here for more information: 2022 Sugarthon If you would like to become a Sugar Angel please click this link for more info: Become a Sugar Angel!

Food with Love, Inc. is a non-profit corporation who’s purpose is to provide a week’s worth of home-cooked meals monthly to families dealing with a family member who has a serious or terminal illness. This organization was founded by my dear friend and one of our former board members, Virginia Loudan. During the height of covid they took a break, but they will be starting up once again. Donations are always needed and volunteers for cooking and the new garden they will be planting are needed. If you are interested in helping to give back to the community and spreading the love, please click this link for more information: Food With Love, Inc

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Over a year ago, Lisa Kivirist & John Ivanko hosted the first national cottage food conference, the Home-based Food Entrepreneur Virtual National Conference. Over 900 people attended from all over the world. There was something going on nearly every moment of the four day conference. It was great fun! I gave a daily update on the events as they were happening, which you can find here, National Conference – My Review.

Due to popular demand, Lisa & John are doing it again, and it will be in a similar format as last time. It will again be a virtual conference, spanning 4 days, with 1 keynote each day along with other sessions. Save the dates on the calendar for next spring: April 10th – 13th, 2023

Lisa & John are working hard to keep the cost very reasonable through fundraising and sponsorships. If know of any businesses that might like to support a conference like this please let them know. A lot of funding is still needed to bring everything together.

Stay tuned for more information on this awesome conference and when tickets are available.

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As the Farmers’ Markets and other community events open up for the summer there will be a lot of vendors selling food. You may come across individuals who are not following the cottage food law properly or even at all. I know it can be incredibly frustrating to those of us who are following the law, but it is not our job to police others. However, we can educate by our examples.

Be sure to have your “These Products Are Homemade And Not Subject To State Inspection” signs along with a copy of your cottage food registration framed and displayed where it can be seen. Make sure all of your products are properly labeled. Brag about who you are. You have done the work, you have insured the quality of your product, you have earned the right to be proud of who you are. There are still many people who do not know what the cottage food law is. It’s up to us to show them the difference.

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DateTimeEvent
May 19th7pm to 8:30pmThird Thursday with Tom – Cottage Food How To’s Q & A Session
June 6th1:00pm to 2:00pmMinnesota Farmers’ Market Association Open Forum
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84702484081
June 14th6:30pm to 7:30pmMNCFPA Members Happy Hour
Get to know other CFPs, swap stories & advice.
June 16th7pm to 8:30pmThird Thursday with Tom – Cottage Food How To’s Q & A Session

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If you are not yet a member of our association become a member today. The Minnesota Registered Cottage Food Producers Association unites cottage food producers all over Minnesota and gives CFPs a unified voice when addressing topics that impact our industry, lobbying our lawmakers to strengthen the cottage food industry, and the opportunity to secure group purchasing power. We have instructional webinars, many resources and other opportunities. For more information go to our website: mncfpa.org.

April 2022

Hi everybody! This month we begin with wishing our dear Kathy Brandt bon voyage as she retires from her role at the University of Minnesota Extension. Kathy worked with Suzanne Driessen to keep us up to date on food safety and created the Cottage Connection newsletter. We will really miss her. We hope to see her join her husband in the cottage food community as producers of BBQ sauce and other yummy things. Good luck with your new adventures Kathy!

It is hard to believe that it’s already April. It’s the time of year when everything is becoming new again. The snow is nearly melted, the the trees and bushes are budding and the birds are singing their hearts out. It’s also time to get ready for farmers’ markets to open, Mother’s Day, weddings, graduations, and so much more!

We know how busy everyone is and hope that as you look at your April calendar you are able to join MNCFPA for one of our virtual events. Here is the lineup for April:

Tuesday, April 5th at 7 pm: Learn How to Make Hot Cross Buns with Christine

Tuesday, April 12th at 6:30 pm: Social Hour with CFP’s across Minnesota

Thursday, April 21st at 6:30 pm: Third Thursday with Tom: A Forum for New CFP’s to ask questions

For more information and to register for these events please go to mncfpa.org.

Farmers’ Markets are a wonderful sign of spring here in Minnesota. Even if it does take a little longer before we begin seeing a lot of the fresh vegetables and herbs, we can enjoy the many other crafters at the markets. There will also be many cottage food producers selling jams & jellies, breads, cookies, pies and so much more. If you are a cottage food producer who wants to be a vendor at one of the markets, you can find some of them featured on this map created by Sazzy Varga of Farm Direct Minnesota. The leaves on the map indicate the markets. The map link is: Farm Direct Minnesota Map. Sazzy has done a fabulous job on her Facebook page and website which she began to help consumers and farmers to connect primarily during the height of the Covid outbreak. It has been very successful and now has over 66,000 followers. Sazzy volunteers her time and the website is paid for with donations. If you would like to be featured on her page, find some really good home grown Minnesota eats or just donate a few dollars to help run it all, her Facebook link is: Farm Direct Minnesota and her website is: Farm Direct Minnesota.

Another good place to look for a list of markets in Minnesota is the directory on the Minnesota Grown website. They have a great map that makes it easy to search for markets all over the state. Here’s the link for that: Minnesota Grown Directory

If you have questions concerning being a vendor at a farmers’ market, be sure to join Tom Nechodomu every Third Thursday of the month to chat and talk about everything to do with farmers’ markets, mncfpa.org.

It’s always fun to see articles about our registered cottage food producers in the local newspapers and the wonderful things happening in our state to promote local foods. Thank you Allison Schmitt for sharing this one. Congratulations to you and to Carrie Conrad of Sunshine Sweetz for representing registered CFPs in our state.

Grant to Farmers Market to Expand Local Food Access

Photos from the Faribault Daily News

I want to take a minute to address a topic that is often discussed among registered cottage food producers. It can be very disheartening to work so hard to follow the law and all of the requirements that must be adhered to, while so many sellers of foods still do not register or follow the law. But you should know that your efforts are not unseen and we appreciate every one of our 6000 registered cottage food producers. I would like to encourage you to always post this sign and a framed copy of your registration card wherever you sell your product and encourage your family and friends to look for these signs before they purchase any homemade foods from anyone. These signs indicate that you have gone the extra mile to ensure that you have educated yourself on safe food handling practices and that you conduct your business accordingly. We all need to make a concentrated effort to support our registered cottage food producers and to educate the public on what that means. Many people still are unaware of the phrase “registered cottage food producer”. It’s up to us to make it known.

If you are not yet a member of our association, become a member today. The Minnesota Registered Cottage Food Producers Association unites cottage food producers all over Minnesota and gives CFPs a unified voice when addressing topics that impact our industry, lobbying our lawmakers to strengthen the cottage food industry, and the opportunity to secure group purchasing power. We have instructional webinars, social hours every second Tuesday of the month, many resources and other opportunities. For more information go to our website: mncfpa.org.