January Updates and Conference 2022 Highlights

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you are staying healthy and warm. There’s been a lot going on and I will try really hard to remember it all.

On January 1st the updated law for Tier 1 cottage food producers went into effect raising the cap to $7,665.00. Please be advised that the food safety training for Tier 1 is now yearly.

The MDA’s registration page has been updated to reflect the new laws and the training should soon be updated as well.

For those of us who struggle with understanding sales taxes the MN Department of Revenue is offering a webinar on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 from 9am to 11:30am.

This course is an introduction to sales and use taxes in Minnesota. The purpose of the training is to provide the sales and use tax basics, including fundamental elements, local taxes, exemption certificates, record-keeping, filing and payment instructions, and contact information.

For more information: Introduction to Sales and Use Tax

Blazing the Trails Through the Jungle of Food Regulations is an important training about all the laws and regulations which govern selling food in Minnesota. Find out about the ‘product of the farm’ exclusion from licensing, the ‘cottage food law’ exemption from licensing, the differences between MDA and MDH food licenses, and more! Training is offered 12:30-4:30 on Jan. 29 or 12:00-4:00 on Feb. 15. Fee is $10. Register at: https://www.mfma.org/Events

Blazing Trails is led by Jane Jewitt, associate director of the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. She is also the chair of FIT, a subcommittee of the Food Safety and Defense Task Force that was created to help answer questions and assist Food Business Owners in navigating Minnesota’s food licensing and regulations. I was invited to become a member of this committee and it has been very interesting. There are so many businesses that consist of multiple layers and sometimes figuring out what kind of license you need can be a challenge. That’s where FIT comes in. Check out the FIT website and some of the cases that have been discussed in the past. If you ever need assistance you will know where to go. Click here for more information: Food Innovation Team

MNCFPA 4th Annual Cottage Food Producers Conference Recap

On January 6th & 7th we held our 4th annual cottage food producers conference. It turned out great! We had between 45 to 65 people at each session. Our first morning began with our keynote speakers, two lovely ladies who spearheaded the fight for cottage foods in New Jersey. New Jersey was the last state to obtain any kind of cottage food law and it was a long and hard battle. But Mandy Coriston and Martha Rabello forged ahead and came out victorious. There story was exciting and inspirational and gave me just a little bit of deja vue as several of the things they talked about paralleled our journey the cottage food success.

Kathy Zeman from the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association gave us an update on what’s happening with farmers markets for this new year. They are beginning a new program to help with data and are looking for more field reporters. Please go to the MFMA.org website for more information if you are interested in helping with this.

Then Suzanne Driesssen and Kathy Brandt from the U of M Extension talked about food safety, specifically best practices for the flu and norovirus season which is upon us in full force.

After lunch Dr. Sara Brood a veterinary nutritionist and educator spoke about pet treats. How to make them safe and what is best for our pets. She recommended that we look for low calorie, low fat treat recipes, as pets tend to eat too many treats, which is making them obese. Dr. Brood suggested that we check out AAFCO for a great source of reference: The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)

Next up was Kirsten Libby who has vast government experience that covers three states; Minnesota, Arizona and South Dakota. She has worked with the MN Department of Health, she is a lawyer and she is a cottage food producer. Kirsten spoke about the importance of conducting your business as an LLC and answered many questions on how to do that. Her knowledge is endless and she graciously offered to answer any questions you may have. You can contact her at: Kirsten J. Libby – Libby Law Office, P.A.

Last but not least we spoke with Robert Olding about Photography Basics. He is primarily a food photographer who has worked all over the United States. We had a great time looking at his photographs and asking him questions. It was a lovely relaxing session to end our day.

In the evening we had great fun at our Happy Hour, meeting new cottage food producers and chatting some more with Martha Rabello and another brand new cottage food producer from New Jersey.

The morning of the 7th started off bright and early with a Q&A with Alida Sorenson who serves as the Response and Outreach Supervisor for the Food and Feed Safety Division at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). She is MDA’s liaison to the Minnesota Cottage Food Producer Association and a super nice person. 🙂 Unfortunately, I forgot to record this session for which I apologize profusely. But if you have any questions about cottage foods just contact Alida. If she doesn’t know the answer, she will find it.

Meagan Forbes from the Institute for Justice could not be with us to talk about Cottage Foods in the United States. She did give us a few statistics that we were able to share with others and we were able to answer a few questions.

At 10am the delightful Alison Smith gave a wonderful presentation on how to market your product. “Always be sure you have the four P’s; Product, Price, Promotion & Place.” She is always an inspiration. Be sure to check out the video when you get a chance.

Next up we had Dr. Morrine Omolo with us. She spoke about the Human Aspect of Food Safety which was very informative. Looking at food safety from an every day point of view, in addition to the scientific points, makes food safety more understandable and easier to comprehend.

After lunch Jennifer Carrieveau, our association’s vice president, gave a fantastic presentation on Product Labeling Requirements and Best Practices.

Unfortunately, the individual who was to speak about Accounting Practices had to cancel. So we chatted for a bit and then spun the wheel for our special conference prize which was a beautiful KitchanAid mixer.

A huge congratulations to Jaime Zuis who was the lucky winner!

We ended our conference with a Risk Management Q&A with John Zurst of Alliance Insurance. John has become a favorite of our cottage food producers and is always happy to answer questions and help find the best insurance coverage for our businesses. Alliance Insurance was one of our event sponsors this year and was last year also.

There you have it! Another great conference has come and gone. We learned a lot and made many new friends. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend. A very big thank you to every single one of our speakers. A huge thank you to our sponsors; Alliance Insurance of Mankato, KE Commercial Contractors in Becker and BESE Erickson, LLC in Big Lake.

Recorded sessions will be uploaded to the members page of our website as soon as possible. For information on where to find your access code please email Jennifer at jcarriveau@mncfpa.org.

Thank you to Suzanne Driessen for getting a few screen shots of the conference for us.

December 2021 Updates

Happy December everyone! I’m afraid I missed November updates but I didn’t really have much to report anyway. The Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture are still updating the Law Guidance on their website to reflect how to register and print your labels as an LLC. Hopefully they will have that completed soon, but just know that if you decide to conduct your business as an LLC you can put that on your labels without your personal name.

So it’s really hard to believe that it’s the last month of 2021. All in all, the Cottage Food Producers of Minnesota did pretty darn good. From finally accomplishing some positive legislation to all of the TV, newspaper and podcast involvements, to all of the business successes, 2021 was awesome! Nationwide all 50 states now have some type of a cottage food law and besides the Minnesota Registered Cottage Food Producers Association, Texas now has their own official association. Way to go CFPs!

Re-registrations have been sent out however it still says Tier 1 only goes up to $5,000.00. As of January 1st, 2022, Tier 1 will go up to approximately $7,500.00 gross (it is linked to the inflation index so that number will only be clarified at the end of the month). If you think you will only sell this amount then register as Tier 1. If you are going to go over this amount or just want to register as Tier 2, you are required to take the advanced training and test which can be found on the U of M Extension website. The good thing about the advanced training is it only has to be taken every three years and there is a lot of really good information that you do not receive in the Tier 1 training and test. I recommend the advanced training for everyone. You can find it here: Online, Self-Paced Tier II CFP Food Safety Training

The Minnesota Farmers Market Association are holding their annual conference December 8-9, 2021. This conference always has a lot of interesting information. Even if you are a strictly bake and sell from home cottage food producer, you will learn tips about marketing and other things that you can incorporate into your business. You can register at www.mfma.org. This conference is being recorded and can be watched later on the MFMA YouTube channel.

2022 Minnesota Cottage Food Producers Conference

The 4th Annual Minnesota Cottage Food Producer Conference is scheduled for January 6-7, 2022, and will be virtual this year via Zoom. Be sure to put it on your calendar now. Registration opens December 16th. The first 150 registrants will be entered into a drawing for a 6 quart Kitchenaid mixer.

Here is a glimpse at some of the topics cottage food producers will be able to attend:

Keynote: New Jersey Cottage Food Producers and Lobbyists: Mandy & Martha

Legal Advice on organizing and maintaining an LLC

Best accounting practices from a CPA

Food Safety with the UMN Extension Office

How to properly label the products you sell

Cottage foods outside of Minnesota – A Growing Industry

Capturing the perfect pictures of the products that you sell

Copyright laws

MN Small Business Association – TBA

Marketing your business

More topics to be announced….

Watch for details on this opportunity to learn, grow, and network with other cottage food producers. Check the MNCFPA.org website for details.

The November 2021 issue of the Cottage Food Connection has been published. Click the link below to read this issue.

Cottage Food Connection ~ Enews for Minnesota Cottage Food Producers

I am sure everyone is busy taking those holiday orders and cranking out those amazing Minnesota yummies. On December 14th take a break and join us for a webinar on making lefse with Jennifer Carriveau. We will also be holding our monthly MNCFPA Members Happy Hour at this time. To register for this event go to: How to Make Norwegian Lefse

Save The Date!

DateTimeEvent
Dec. 8-9, 20219am to 4pm each dayMFMA 2021 Annual Conference ~ Participants will gather virtually for 2 days of learning & networking. Wednesday, Dec. 8 and Thursday, Dec. 9 from 9am to 4pm, with a 30-minute lunch-on-your-own at 12 noon both days.

Wednesday evening, Dec. 8 from 6:30-7:30pm for some fun and door prizes – a chance to relax, play some KaHoot! games, win some cool prizes.
Dec.14, 20216:30pm to 7:30pmMNCFPA Members Happy Hour and MNCFPA Webinar – How to Make Lefse
Jan. 6-7, 20229am to 4pm each dayMNCFPA 2022 Annual Cottage Food Producers Conference

Join us Thursday evening, Jan. 6th from 6:30-7:30pm for some fun and relaxing conversation.

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.

October 2021 Updates

Hi Everyone! I’m afraid it’s taken me a little time to get to October updates. It’s been a few months of really amazing press for the Minnesota Cottage Foods industry. There have been several interviews on television, newspaper interviews with many of our so talented cottage food producers all over the state and the last few Forrager podcasts were about Minnesota. Way to go Minnesota! You should all be so proud of the way you represent the cottage food industry and have contributed to it’s success. You can find some of the articles and interviews on our Facebook page: @MNCottageFoodLaw

On October 20th we had our monthly webinar, How to Make the Perfect Pie. Several people attended and it was a lot of fun to learn perfect pie techniques from Christine Myhre of Desserts First Bakery. Christine not only creates fabulous pies, but she is also the Treasurer of our Minnesota Registered Cottage Food Producers Association. If you are a member of our association you can watch the recordings of our webinars at mncfpa.org.

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.

Helpful Tips

This month in our Helpful Tips section we are talking about tips for the upcoming holiday season. On our group page there has been a lot of discussion on what sells best for the holidays, how to price and how to package our sweet treats. Here are a few things to take into account for a successful holiday season.

  • Be sure to price for profit. Too many of us are worried that we are charging too much for our products. Calculate the cost of your ingredients and packaging, plus the time it takes to make it, and then add for your profit. Remember that this is your business and you are making something that is uniquely yours. If you make a quality product, quality customers will return again and again.
I found this neat cookie calculator on Pinterest.
  • Stock up! Watch for the sales and stock up on all of the ingredients you are going to need for your holiday baking season. There will be a lot sales for the holidays, however there seem to be a lot of shortages on items like canned pumpkin, cocoa, vanilla and even eggs and milk have been in short supply in some stores recently. Calculate what you will need for the season and be sure to stock up when you can.
  • Prep work. Consider what you will be selling and all of the things that can be prepared ahead of time, from your products to your labels. Cookies can be baked and frozen ahead of time, icings can be made in large quantities ahead of time, boxes can be preassembled, labels can be printed, etc. Find ways to make things move faster and smoother.
  • Create a menu. The best way to not overdo it during the holidays is by creating a limited menu of what you will be selling. For example a choice of three cookies, three cakes, three pies, etc. Or maybe you are specializing in cocoa bombs this year, only make a few certain flavors. If you are doing a holiday cookie tray decide ahead of time what varieties you will be including and stick to it.
  • Advertise! As soon as possible create your holiday menus and publish them to your social media and websites. Make some handouts for your vendor & farmers’ market events, pass them out to your customers, family and friends, hang them on the city bulletin boards.
  • Don’t over extend yourself. It’s hard to say no when so many people are asking to order but for your sanity it’s a must. Keep a calendar with all of your orders. Set up exact times for when items can be ordered, when they will be delivered or picked up, and don’t stray from that. Make sure all of your customers give some kind of a down payment when ordering and have it in writing what your procedures are for no show pickups.
  • Have fun! One of the best things about being a home baker and canner is that we get to do something we love and share it with our community. Enjoy every moment and remember to check out the MN Registered Cottage Food Producers Group Facebook page if you need any advice or a word of encouragement. Minnesota CFPs are the best!

Sales Tax Talk

A subject often discussed among cottage food producers is what items require a sales tax, when, where and how much. If you are one of the many people confused by sales taxes, the MN Dept. of Revenue is offering some webinars that you might be interested in.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue is offering the following webinars in November and December.

Introduction to Sales and Use Tax

Thursday, November 18, 2021 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

This course is an introduction to sales and use taxes in Minnesota. The purpose of the training is to provide the sales and use tax basics, including fundamental elements, local taxes, exemption certificates, record-keeping, filing and payment instructions, and contact information. It is meant to complement to our industry-specific webinars.

Sales Tax Education
Visit our website to see a list of classes and select the desired class to register online. These classes are free and open to the public.

Save The Date!

DateTimeEvent
Nov. 9, 20216:30pm to 7:30pmMNCFPA Members Happy Hour
Nov. 30, 20216:30pm to 7:30pmMNCFPA Webinar – How to Make Lefse
Dec. 4, 20219:00am to 1:00pmCottage Food Producer Food Safety Training Webinar
Dec.14, 20216:30pm to 7:30pmMNCFPA Members Happy Hour
Dec. 8-9, 2021TBAMFMA 2021 Annual Conference
Jan. 6-7, 2022TBAMNCFPA 2022 Annual Cottage Food Producers Conference

October 2021 Webinar

How to Make the Perfect Pie

Featuring Christine Myhre owner of Desserts First Bakery

Minnesota Cottage Food Producers Association

Cordially invites you to our next webinar…

How to Make the Perfect Pie

October 20, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.

Please reserve your spot for this webinar by October 18, 2021 at mncfpa.org

Tickets: $15 per person and free for all MNCFPA members

With more than 20 years of experience, Christine will take us through the steps showing us how she prepares the perfect pies for her family and customers. Learn how to make a tender & flakey crust, thick delicious fillings, and more!

A Few Tidbits

Happy first day of Fall everyone! We woke up to 37 degrees this morning. Mother Nature has begun the autumn season with a vengeance. I just wanted to give you a few little bits of news today.

For those of you who do not get David Crabill’s e-newsletters, I am sharing with you his letter from today. Great news for California who just passed a bill we dream about here in Minnesota. Congratulations to the California Cottage Food Producers!

Big news this week!
Last week, California passed their cottage food bill, and a few weeks ago, Illinois also passed their cottage food bill!
Both bills are significant improvements and will go into effect on January 1st.

I think we now have all 2021 cottage food bills in the books!

It has been the biggest year ever for cottage food improvements, with 17 states improving their law in one way or another!
This year was also the first time that I ever started (or even was directly involved in) a cottage food bill.
I just published this epic post, where I shared some behind-the-scenes intel on how AB 1144 came to be.
Even though I have read and tracked hundreds of cottage food bills over the past decade, I was often totally clueless about the legislative process.
Questions would come up about our bill, and I hadn’t the foggiest idea what the answers were. Fortunately we had an experienced team leading AB 1144 forward!
You’ll want to read this post if:

  • Someone has ever asked you to reach out to your legislator and you thought, “I don’t have time for that” or “My message won’t make a difference”
  • You want to know what really goes on to make a cottage food bill happen
  • You want to learn how my baby daughter (Sierra) sparked the idea for this bill (no joke!)

After reading this post, you’ll have a greater appreciation for the cottage food law that you already have!
Read the post: Behind The Scenes Of A Cottage Food Bill

Check out the new and improved cottage food safety training online course which is now available on the Universtity of Minnesota Extension website. Find out what you need to know to comply with new law changes. https://z.umn.edu/7526

SAVE THE DATE!

DateTimeEvent
Oct. 12, 20216:30pm – 7:30pmMNCFPA Members Happy Hour
Oct. 20, 20217:00pm – 8:30pmMNCFPA Virtual Class:  How To Bake the Perfect Pie!
Nov. 9, 20216:30pm – 7:30pmMNCFPA Members Happy Hour
Dec. 14. 20216:30pm – 7:30pmMNCFPA Members Happy Hour
Dec. 8-9, 2021TBAMFMA 2021 Annual Conference
Jan. 6-7, 2022TBAMNCFPA 2022 Annual Cottage Food Producers Conference

Become a member of the Minnesota Registered Cottage Food Producers Association. We believe that our organization unites 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.

For more information go to our website, mncfpa.org.

September 2021 Updates

Hello everyone! It’s been over a month since the newly amended cottage food laws went into effect. I apologize for not writing sooner, but what should have been a celebration for finally getting our caps raised and the LLC issue settled has instead turned into a case of disappointment.

For many years the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) claimed that the use of the word “individual” in the law was the reason why we could not run our businesses as LLCs. So, for five years we kept working on this bill to have it changed to the word “person” to appease the MDA. This past session we had almost unanimous legislative support. MDA even told the legislatures, “No problem! Of course, they can set up their businesses any way they want to, just leave the word “individual” there. It’s all good!” And I said hold up! For five years we’ve been fighting with these people over this one word and now all of a sudden, it’s okay? Something is up. I don’t buy it.

But everyone we spoke to couldn’t figure out what they were up to and so the bill passed. Oh, happy day! Finally, we have a cap that we can live with and we can set up our business as an LLC if we want to. Now I can finally be at peace long enough to do what I actually set out to do 11 years ago and just bake. Nope, that’s not going to happen.

That’s not going to happen because we were right, there was a catch. I assumed that in the statute where it says an individual must put their name on their label, that it of course meant my business name. That’s what all businesses do right? That’s not going to happen because after contacting 5 lawyers and spending this whole past month trying to figure out where this leaves us, we have found out there’s nothing we can do about it because it’s law. So now we have to go back and get the law changed to that one little word “person” because otherwise our labels leave a gray area. And right now, I feel deflated because I knew all along something was up but I just couldn’t see it.

So, that being said, we can still rejoice that our cap is higher. We can look forward to making pet treats. We can set up our businesses as LLCs if we want to. As per law we will have to put our names on our labels but legally there is no reason why we can’t add our business names to the label as well. After speaking to several lawyers, they gave us some suggestions, and we have posted a few examples of how you might want your label to look. You can see them on our website, mncfpa.org

It should also be noted that the MDA has made some additional changes to the Cottage Food Law Guidance and everyone registering at the Tier 1 level will now be required to take a yearly food safety test, instead of taking it every three years as we have done in the past.

Non-Potentially Hazardous Food Update

On a more positive note, the Non-potentially Hazardous Foods Lists on our website have been updated. We have added one specifically for Pet Treats. We are so excited to be able to make and sell pet (dog & cat) treats now. Both are available on our mncfpa.org website. Be sure to check out the rules at the MDA regarding this and follow safe food practices for pet treats. Remember things like chocolate, garlic and yeast are poisonous to dogs. Here’s a helpful article from bechewy.com, 23 Foods Your Pet Should Never Eat

Human Foods NPH Guide

Pet Treats (Dog/Cat) NPH Guide

SAVE THE DATE!

We will be holding our 2022 Annual Cottage Food Producers Conference on January 6th & 7th. This will be a virtual event, stay tuned for more details.

Helpful Tips

I thought I would add a new paragraph to the blog with helpful tips. We quite often have discussions on our Facebook group page, MN Registered Cottage Food Producers Group. One of the most recent discussions was about what to do when you have taken an order and an unforeseen emergency comes up causing you to have to back out of the order. This can be very stressful to everyone involved, especially if the occasion you are baking for is a wedding or other large event. We have put together a few suggestions that we hope will help.

  • Team up now with other cottage food producers in your area that you know you can rely on in case you have to cancel any future orders.
  • When booking an event make sure that you have a list of fellow cottage food producers on hand to give to the customer in case of an emergency cancellation.
  • Be sure that your backup CFPS are aware that they may be called on in advance if at all possible.
  • Good customer service is the key to repeat customers so be as helpful as possible.

Last But Definitely Not Least

It’s hard to believe that the Minnesota State Fair has already come and gone. These days just race by too quickly! We had been so kindly invited by MN Grown to be a part of their booth at the State Fair this year. Unfortunately, due to many different variables, we were not able to join them. Hopefully next year! However, Minnesota cottage foods was well represented this year. MN Grown and the MDA highlighted cottage foods at their booths. Matt Rosen of The Bakerz Dozen even got to do a cooking demonstration at the Cambria Kitchen in the Creative Arts building. We had several of our wonderful Minnesota cottage food producers enter their specialties in many food category competitions. A huge congratulations to every single one of them! Here is a list of 2021 State Fair Winners from the Star Tribune. Check out a few pictures of the yummy treats entered by our fabulous CFPs.

Become a member of the Minnesota Registered Cottage Food Producers Association. We believe that our organization unites 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.

For more information go to our website, mncfpa.org.

One last thought and a few throwback images to remind us of how far we have come.

Happy Baking Everyone!

MNCFPA Anniversary Celebration

Hi everyone! We had such a nice time on Saturday. Thank you again to everyone who came out to Brainerd for our 6th year Anniversary event. For everyone who couldn’t be with us, you were missed. A lot of people wondered why we specifically chose Brainerd. We chose Brainerd because it is the exact center of Minnesota, and where better to hold an event that celebrates Minnesota Cottage Food Producers than the heart of Minnesota.

We had a pretty good turnout, great food and a few of the guests we had specifically invited were able to attend. We had a silent auction, a table full of items with our MNCFPA logo on them for sale, a cake walk and pie eating contest and fun games, paintable sugar cookies, bubbles & tattoos for the kids.

Among the many legislatures we invited, Sen. Mathews was the only one who was able to attend. But since he was the chief author of our bills this past legislative session, we were more than delighted that he joined us along with his wife and son. Meagan Forbes from the Institute for Justice also attended. Retired Rep. Jim Newberger, the man who is most responsible for helping us to become cottage food producers in Minnesota, attended with his lovely wife Michele. He spoke a few words and encouraged us to diligently watch over our hard-won accomplishments and keep pressing forward.

We took a lot of pictures to share with you all. I will also a share a few words from my speech below. I think it’s pretty close to what I actually said. My brain turns to mush when I speak in public. 🙂

“Thank you for coming to help celebrate the 6th anniversary of amending the cottage food law in Minnesota and the passing of the two new bills this year 2021, which further amended and improved our cottage food law.

Eleven years ago, I discovered that it was illegal to sell homemade foods in Minnesota.  So, I set out to change the law. I met Christy Stefanick who had already begun the process of contacting legislature and had started a petition. But she was busy with small children and I eventually took over from her. Along the way Marianne Susseman, Joleen Christenson and Amanda Reinsbach joined us and we became the five musketeers. Unfortunately, they could not be with us today but Christy did send a message to everyone:

Message from Christy Stefanik: Tell the rest of the gang how happy I am about what you all are doing with this cottage food law! You are all amazing.

We have so many people to thank and it would take forever to name them all, but we are lucky enough to have a few here with us today.

Rep. Newberger was just beginning his first campaign for election when I met him. I explained what the cottage food law was and why it needed to be amended and he said if he won, he would help me. And that’s exactly what he did.

In 2015 after so many years of trying and failing to get the bills passed, I had just about given up. But Jim never did. After meeting Kathy Zeman of the MFMA we teamed up with Sen. Dibble as author of the senate version and together with great bipartisan effort the bill finally passed. I firmly believe that we would not he standing here today if it wasn’t for Jim Newberger.

Although we were finally able to legally sale after 2015, the limitations were strict. Among other things we were only allowed to make up to $18,000 gross revenue, and MDA wasn’t allowing us to become LLCs. So, we went back to the drawing board. Again, there were a lot of ups and downs and years went by.

In Jan. 2020 we organized the only official association. That’s when we met Maegan Forbes from the Institute for Justice. She offered to help us with the legislation and form a coalition. We were pretty close to success that year but then covid hit and everything went on hold. Taking up the mantel again this legislative session was interesting. We had so many zoom meetings! But she was always there. Meagan’s help has been invaluable. She not only helped us get our bills passed but she’s been working with several other states as well. We can’t thank her enough.

Sen. Andrew Mathews has been our steadfast and always patient champion through these past few years. Authoring and fighting for our bills all the way. His calm resolve made me 100% sure that we would succeed. Finally, this year with the bipartisan efforts of Sen. Mathews and Rep. Vang we got our two bills passed. We can’t thank you enough Sen. Mathews for all of your hard work.

I have met so many amazing people on this journey. Together we have accomplished so much. I want to give a special shout out to our board members past and present, Virginia Loudan, Karen Peterson, Christine Myhre, and the Yin to my Yang, Jennifer Carriveau. Mark Christianson was unable to join us today. But we had several wonderful volunteers. Tom Nechodomu, Cora Knutson, Brenda Thompson, my children, our long-suffering husbands, thank you all. Now Jennifer is going to tell you a little bit about the bills that have passed this year. Thank you all for coming today…..”

I should have added in my thank you’s that Waylon Thompson helped me create our very first logo when we were just setting out to amend the law. After we became an association Virginia Loudan created our beautiful new MNCFPA logo. She literally captured the essence of cottage foods in one picture. A huge thank you to both of them!

There’s one more thing on my mind this evening, the cottage food industry is all about community. It’s about serving our neighbors, giving a helping hand and being there for each other when someone has a need. Covid showcased the importance of local foods like it hasn’t since the great depression. Shopping at our community events, farmers market, supporting our farmers and cottage food producers, and buying local is more important than ever. You can help by spreading the word, look for the sign that says, “These products are homemade and not subject to state inspection.” This sign signifies that these wonderful cottage food producers have taken the time to complete food safety training, and have packaged and labeled their products properly. Minnesota registered cottage food producers go the extra mile because they care.

Our annual conference is in January. I hope to see you all there!

Below are a few items we had for sale. We still have a few things left. If you are interested in purchasing anything, you can email us at mncfpa@gmail.com.

July 2021 Update

There’s a lot happening this summer which is a great thing, but it’s definitely keeping us hopping.

We are so excited to be celebrating our 6th year anniversary since the cottage food law was amended in 2015 and also the passing of two new bills this 2021 legislative session. The event will take place at the Gregory Park Pavilion in Brainerd. If you would like to join us you can find more information on our website, mncfpa.org.

We have also been invited to join Minnesota Grown at their booth at the Minnesota State Fair. Stay tuned for more information about when and where we will be located.

We have attended some meetings these past few weeks and there is some updated information to share with you all.

The U of M Extension has some updates on their FAQs blog and also the NPH-foods list. Please remember it will be updated again to reflect the passage of the pet treat bill.

One of the things to be aware of is that white peaches cannot be canned and sold under cottage foods, they are considered potentially hazardous. However, yellow peaches are still allowed to be canned.

It should be noted that Covid restrictions have been lifted at farmers markets unless the market manager says otherwise. Some managers are still asking their vendors to wear masks.

Please check out the Safe Food Sampling Info on the U of M Extension website. Even though covid restrictions have lifted, all food samples should be in a covered container and everyone offering samples should have a handwashing station.

There will be a recording of this meeting from July 12th, 2021 on the MFMA website if you would like to hear U of M’s Kathy Brandt talk more about food safety rules and requirements.

Another very important item to note is that anyone getting sick with a norovirus must be well for 72hours after anyone in the home has been ill before using your kitchen for cottage foods.

The MFMA will be celebrating the National Farmers Market Week from August 1st to the 7th. Be sure to check out their website for all of the fun events taking place. Right now, until August 7th there is a photo contest going on. Anyone can participate in the contest. Just be sure to send in your photos of the famers’ markets that you attend. There will be up to $500.00 in giveaways.

Don’t Forget! There’s only 3 more days left to register for the Celebrating Cottage Foods Social Gathering. Help MNCFPA celebrate the sixth year anniversary of the Minnesota cottage food industry. July 17th from 11:30 am – 3:30 pm at Gregory Park Pavilion in Brainerd, MN. There will be food served all day, games for adults & children, a silent auction, door prizes, and a pie eating contest right in the Heart of Minnesota! This event is for everyone. So bring the family or load up a car with other cottage food friends and make a day of it (some are making a weekend of it).And remember to bring a chair and business cards. Pre-registration is required.

Happy 6th Anniversary!

Happy 6th Anniversary to all of us, the Minnesota Cottage Food Producers! On July 1st, 2015, after many years of lobbying, Minnesota amended the cottage food law to make it legal to sell non-potentially hazardous foods from home, as well as farmers’ markets, and community events.

I can not believe how much has happened since then. We now have over 5,000 registered cottage food producers in Minnesota. We have the only active cottage food association in the United States, MNCFPA. Nationally every state has some form of a cottage food law now except New Jersey. David Crabill of Forrager.com hosts the first podcast about cottage foods. Lisa & John Kivirist of Wisconsin hosted the very first national cottage food conference which had over 9000 people attend. The cottage food industry proved a vital resource during the hardest months of the pandemic. We have indeed come a long way.

This 2021 legislative session we were so happy to see the passing of two more bills amending the cottage food law that will allow us to make and sell pet treats, make a livable wage and set up our businesses according to state law. We can’t thank everyone enough who helped get us to this point. These amendments will go into effect August 1st, 2021.

In honor of our six year anniversary and the passing of these new bills we will be holding a celebration on July 17th, 2021. It will be held at Gregory Park Pavilion in Brainerd, MN. There will be food, games, and giveaways!

If you would like to join us please click this link for tickets: Celebrate Together

June 2021 Updates

Hello everyone! I hope you have been able to keep yourselves cool. This heat is crazy!

I have a few quick updates for you all. First but most definitely not least, in case you haven’t heard yet, our bills, which yayyy passed this legislative session, will go into effect August 1st. You can read more details about it here: Time To Celebrate!

Yesterday I attended the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association’s monthly open forum. The updated requirements for covid-19 safety was discussed. Most markets are asking their vendors to continue to wear a mask. Food samples are allowed in 3oz sizes or less. Please remember that if you are handing out samples a hand washing station is required. These meetings are recorded and shared so watch the MFMA website for updates. For more food sampling information you can click here: University Of Minnesota Extension

The MFMA monthly meetings are interesting and informative, especially if you are a vendor or want to be a vendor at the farmers’ markets. Next meeting: Monday, July 5th, 2021:   https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84702484081

National Farmers’ Market Week is August 1-7, 2021. MFMA is planning some fun events in honor of this. Check out their website or subscribe to their weekly e-mail updates: MN Farmers’ Market Association

The Cottage Food Non-Potentially Hazardous Food list has been updated as of June 7th, 2021. You can check it out here: Non-Potentially Hazardous Foods List

Stay tuned for more updated information as we will add a Pet Treat category soon.

On a serious note the MN Department of Health has reported a significant increase in foodborne illnesses. Please be sure to take all precautions to keep your consumers & businesses safe. For more information go to: MDH Food Safety Partnership Update

Important Dates To Remember Date Time
MNCFPA Members’ Happy Hour*July 7, 20216:30pm
Celebrating Cottage Foods in Minnesota July 17, 2021 11:30am to 3:30pm
Omnibus bill (SF 958) goes into effect August 1, 2021 12:00am
National Farmers’ Market Week August 1-7, 2021 Details Coming
MNCFPA Members’ Happy Hour August 10, 20216:30pm
MNCFPA Members’ Happy Hour September 14, 20216:30pm
MNCFPA Webinar – How To Make the Perfect Pie!October 6th, 20217:00pm
MNCFPA Members’ Happy Hour December 14, 2021 6:30pm
MN Cottage Food Producers’ Fourth Annual ConferenceJanuary 2022Details Coming

*If you would like to become a member of the Minnesota Registered Cottage Food Producers Association please click here to sign up: MNCFPA Membership