2018 has arrived in all it’s freezing glory! I know it’s not as cold as it can be here in our lovely state of Minnesota, but for some reason the chill factor seems worse than usual. I hope you all had a lovely holiday season. I know many of you had a lot of business and hopefully you will get a few weeks break before thinking about those Valentine’s Day orders.
A quick reminder, if you haven’t re-registered yet you must do that right away. Your 2017 registrations expired on Dec. 31st, 2017. As of today we already have 745 renewed registrations so it looks like the online process is working smoothly. We want to thank the folks at the MDA for making that work so well. If you are new to the cottage food industry and would be interested in becoming a cottage food producer, you can register at the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture website: Cottage Food Producer Registration
Suzanne Driessen sent me the list of upcoming food safety classes for 2018. You will find them in the events section on our MN Cottage Food Law Facebook page and also on the U of M Extension website. If you are interested in taking a class but can’t find one near you, please let Suzanne know. You can also take the online food safety classes which can be found at these links:
Tier 1, $0 – $5000.00. This class must be completed when you register.
Tier 2, $5001.00 – $18,000.00. Advanced Training must be completed when you reach Tier 2 status.
Even though it is super cold outside there are still several indoor farmer’s markets and vendor events going on. In my surrounding area there is Maple Grove, Monticello, Big Lake and Princeton winter farmer’s markets. If you’d like to find the one nearest you click on this link from the Minnesota Grown website. Just type in your zip code and you will see all of the winter markets in your area. By the way, if you aren’t already following their website, Minnesota Grown has a lot of interesting and useful information.
Minnesota Grown Directory
I try to share articles that are written about our Cottage Food Producers as often as I can. I’m afraid I do not always see them and for that I apologize. Today I would like to share with you a newspaper article written about our MN Cottage Food Producer Ruth Francour of Aunt Ruth’s Goods. Congratulations Ruth! Local Artisan Profile, MankatoLife
That’s all I have for now. Stay warm and have an amazing year!
Hello folks! I just want to give you a quick update about your cottage food producer’s re-registration. By now those of you who have been waiting for your registration renewal letters should have received them. They are very easy to fill out online. Just follow the step-by-step instructions printed on the yellow page.
One thing to note, Step #4 asks for your “License Number”, that should say “Registration Number”, which is located near the top left hand side of the white page.
Also please note that if you have a change of address you cannot re-register online. You will have to fill out and send in the snail mail form.
If you are re-registering as a Tier 2 cottage food producer there is a payment of $50.00 required. You can pay with a credit card, follow the link provided in Step #10. If you are paying with a regular check you will need to re-register through the mail.
If you prefer to mail in your re-registration this is also pretty simple. Just be sure to read the Cottage Food Exemption rules on the back of the white form, fill in the required information on the front and mail it in the already addressed envelope that is provided.
If you have any questions please contact the MDA at (651) 201-6062 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 Treats, which 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 & Cookies, highlights 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!
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!
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
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!