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!

 

 

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