I typically make cakes and cupcakes for my family and close friend functions. I get people asking all the time to make cakes, especially my cupcakes, for their functions (weddings, birthday's etc.) and unless they are my close friends or family, I turn them down because I refuse to charge anything since I am not licensed.
I live in Virginia which does allow in home bakeries and the process is time consuming, but not hugely restrictive. I am a full time Firefighter/Paramedic and mom, so I just don't have the time to put into it now. When I inquired about being licensed to the out Department of Agriculture the lady told me she wouldn't worry about it if she were me since it wouldn't be a primary business, which blew me away and left me feeling a little uneasy. I want no part of that. If I were to charge of my cakes, I want to do it the right way, all the way. It's not fair to the other bakeries that put that time into it, and its just plain not right.
My question it this. When I do make cakes and cupcakes as favors or gifts I am often offered money which I always decline. Here lately though, I have received "Thank You" cards in the mail with cash inside for my "time and supplies". It is usually just enough to cover my supplies and sometimes a little extra. I feel wrong about this. I know this is small potatoes for most people on here, but am I worrying for nothing? I love doing this for friends and family, and it IS a hobby. I don't want to do the wrong thing or be caught off guard. What do you all think. TIA!
It sounds like you are trying to do everything the right way. The family and friends that you have made cakes for just want to make sure you are not put out at their expense, and also just want to say thank you. Sometimes people just need to say thank you and do something nice in return. As you are just doing this with a good heart, go ahead and let them do something nice for you in return. If you feel it is too extravagant, let them know, but let them do something. JMHO
I would say not to worry about it too much, especially since the thank You is coming after the fact, if you fel uneasy just let them know< they are friends and family, they will understand.
I have a store front and i get thank you notes from pleased clients, i have one in particular whom after a large order always sends me a gift card for a hand massage at a local salon (i fractured my hand many months ago and it still bothers me after long weekends), so even paying customers feel the need to show their appreciation sometimes, so just go with it and give them a call to tell them you appreciate the gesture!
The Dept of Ag in VA is VERY understaffed IN VA and with a new "home bakery" starting up every minute, they just can't keep up. I am going on 2 years without a second home inspection. I hate when I hear things like that...
BTW, the process to become legal is fairly simple and not that time consuming, even with a full time job. An hour or two a day for 2 weeks and you should have your packet complete. Almost everything else you can do online or within a few minutes at the county courthouse/zoning location.
Virginia has a version of a cottage food law now, so if you use non-perishable icings and label everything saying that it came from a non-inspected facility, you can sell without having an inspection. You'll probably still need a business license and collect sales tax, but that's not the Dept of Agriculture's responsibility.
I'd find out from your county's business office where the business licenses are issued to see what you have to do. Take a copy of the amendment with you because half the time they don't know what the heck they're talking about when you ask them questions about specifics of the food law.
Of course, it won't let me attach the amendment. I'll try again so that you can have a copy with you.
1 VIRGINIA ACTS OF ASSEMBLY CHAPTER
2 An Act to amend and reenact § 3.1398.1
of the Code of Virginia, relating to food inspection.
3 [S 272]
5 Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
6 1. That § 3.1398.1
of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:
7 § 3.1398.1.
Inspections required to operate food establishment.
8 No person shall operate a food manufacturing plant, food storage warehouse, or retail food store until
9 it has been inspected by the Commissioner. This section shall not apply to food:
10 1. Food manufacturing plants operating under a grant of inspection from the Bureau of Meat and
11 Poultry Inspection or a permit from the Bureau of Dairy Services of the Virginia Department of
12 Agriculture and Consumer Services and Grade A fluid milk manufacturing plants and shellfish and
13 crustacea processing plants operating under a permit from the Virginia Department of Health. This
14 section shall also not apply to: (i) any nonprofit;
15 2. Nonprofit organizations holding oneday
food sales, or (ii) any retail;
16 3. Private homes where the resident processes and prepares candies, jams, and jellies not considered
17 to be lowacid
or acidified lowacid
food products and baked goods that do not require time or
18 temperature control after preparation if such products are: (i) sold to an individual for his own
19 consumption and not for resale; (ii) sold at the private home or at farmers markets; and (iii) labeled
20 "NOT FOR RESALEPROCESSED AND PREPARED WITHOUT STATE INSPECTION." Nothing in
21 this subdivision shall create or diminish the authority of the Commissioner under § 3.1399;
22 4. Retail establishments that (a) (i) do not prepare or serve food; (b) (ii) sell only food or beverages
23 that are sealed in packaging by the manufacturer and have been officially inspected in the manufacturing
24 process; (c) (iii) do not sell infant formulas; (d) (iv) do not sell salvaged foods; and (e) (v) certify to the
25 Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that they meet the foregoing provisions of this
26 section. Retail establishments that meet the provisions of clause (ii) this subdivision shall be exempt
27 from inspection and the inspection fees; however, nothing in this section shall prevent the Department of
28 Agriculture and Consumer Services from inspecting any retail establishment if a consumer complaint is