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John Ivanko

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Recent posts by John Ivanko

Hi Adam:

Your questions:
"I'm wondering if you can speak generally about commercial kitchens. Are they always necessary when selling home-cooked goods? is there any variance from state to state? Are they even necessary for something like Tempeh production in which the main cooking action is incubation? And anything else you would like to say on the topic would be great!"

For home cooked food products, 42 states do NOT require that they be made in a commercial kitchen. That's what these "cottage food laws" are all about and the subject of our book, HOMEMADE FOR SALE. As mentioned previously, these laws can vary greatly, state by state. We can't sell cookies in Wisconsin (currently) and someone in Florida can sell pickles. We have some general info on our website, see:
http://homemadeforsale.wix.com/homemadeforsale#!cottage-food-laws-defined/c1csu

Forrager.com has a state by state listing and summary of the laws.

Unfortunately, Tempeh does not seem to be on any list...so, you'll need to work with your state's legislature to get it on a list...an amendment to the cottage food law if your state has one.

Good luck!
Best,
Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko
HOMEMADE FOR SALE
www.homemadeforsale.com



5 years ago
Hi Joseph:

Thanks to the Great Recession, 42 states decided to promote the freedom to earn with "cottage food laws." In some cases, depending on the state, it made legal what was previously done illegally (which is somewhat your point). I'm really, I'd have to try pretty hard to harm someone with a chocolate cookie or a loaf of fresh artisanal bread. Yet, selling ANY baked good made in a home kitchen in Wisconsin is currently prohibited. I'm sure people still sell cookies under the radar just like people drive over the speed limit. The issue, of course, is what happens if you're caught.

As we write about in HOMEMADE FOR SALE, we encourage folks to contact their legislators, get involved with democracy on a state-wide level and create the change you seek. In fact, most of the cottage food laws passed are the result of individual citizens doing exactly that. We devote a section of the book and our website, www.homemadeforsale.com, to provide resources for people eager to get in the game and make change. It's true, there are some pretty extreme laws on the books in some states... perhaps left over from a time when potions were passed off as medicine.

Our book seeks to provide the best resources possible to work within your state's laws and specific boundaries. Interestingly, every cottage food law that has been amended since it passed has been expanded and broadened -- providing more opportunity for home cooks to test out their food products.

We're big believers in a return to a localized economy, and a nation of entrepreneurs -- butchers, bakers and candlestick makers. The "free trade" global economy is having a devastating impact on planet Earth. It's not hard to imagine cottage food operators delivering their cookies and baked goods to neighbors on bicycle.

Best,
John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist
HOMEMADE FOR SALE
www.homemadeforsale.com
5 years ago
Hi Chuck:

Every cottage food operator will have to decide what their product is and their messaging. Few strawberry jam makers will have every ingredient homegrown. The key is to figure out your story and share it on your package and in your product. That's why we devoted so much to the marketing aspects of launching a food business from your home kitchen with HOMEMADE FOR SALE.

So, most cottage food operators will use homegrown when it makes sense. Others will choose the ingredients locally (highest quality, sometimes organic) and go that route. Others have direct relationships with farmers who have "seconds".

Of course, the ingredients are just one element of a great food product. Again, we encourage folks to think through the many facets of the product they're creating...and have fun experimenting. Who knew we'd sell out of our pickled pumpkin! Your customers will often share what they like.

For those in the Midwest, we're offering a more intensive 2 hour workshop based on HOMEMADE FOR SALE at the Soil Sisters event (soilsisterswi.org) July 31 through August 2, 2015. Our on-farm workshop is on Saturday, Aug. 1 and INCLUDES a copy of HOMEMADE FOR SALE; for more, see: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1380893

Best,
Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko
HOMEMADE FOR SALE
homemadeforsale.com
5 years ago
Hi Adam:

42 states so far created what are called "cottage food laws" to allow food entrepreneurs to create "nonhazardous food products" right in their home kitchen -- sometimes without ANY governmental inspections, fees or oversight, depending on your state. No commercial kitchen is required for these 42 states. In fact, some states explicitly prohibit a cottage food enterprise from using commercial-grade kitchen equipment. By non-hazardous foods, it means usually those that are low in moisture (cookies, breads) or high acid canned goods (jams, jellies, pickles). The spirit of these laws is to allow food entrepreneurs to get out there and follow a dream, test out a product and have some fun earning money selling products (NOT providing services...like catering) to neighbors and friends. Why ship a jar of jam 1,500 miles when you can get a better, tastier jar of jam from someone in your community?

For a great summary of your cottage food law, state by state, check out Forrager.com.

Our book goes into the big 4 questions most state laws address: What can you sell? How much can you sell? Where can you sell it? and In what ways can you sell what you make? Each state is different. Florida's law allows baked goods, but not pickles. In Wisconsin, we can sell pickles, but not baked goods.

Commercial kitchens are for when you've achieved success with your products. The last section of HOMEMADE FOR SALE goes into incubator/community kitchens, co-packers and commercial kitchen operations when you scale up.

Best,
Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko
HOMEMADE FOR SALE co-authors
homemadeforsale.com
5 years ago
Hi Xisca:

The first several chapters of HOMEMADE FOR SALE get into the issues around various state laws.

Cottage foods, by definition, are STATE issues in the US. Canada has provincial laws which allow FARMERS to sell their cottage food products at farmers markets; nothing for non-farmers, at least not yet.

Outside of the US and Canada, the book could help in the how to start a food product business, generally, since we draw a lot upon our experiences in marketing and PR (we used to work for Leo Burnett Advertising in Chicago). You'd need to fill in what you can do legally in the country in which you live.

Here's to celebrating homemade greatness.

Best,
Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko
5 years ago