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
Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko
HOMEMADE FOR SALE