Business- How Do The Amish Do It?

Business By BellaBabyCakes Updated 18 Jun 2011 , 1:48am by JadedJenn

BellaBabyCakes Posted 16 Jun 2011 , 6:47am
post #1 of 15

H everyone,

Slowly plugging away on the makings of a baking business in WI over here. NRFSP Certification test on the 18th of July, finally spoke with our county's food safety inspector and am patiently waiting on the kitchen requirements he'll be sending me. My own kitchen is in the way far off future but it's in my mind...

Anyway, my area is extremely rural. At least 5 miles of country between towns and you can cross county lines just like that. I found out from the inspector that there is only ONE kitchen for rent in my county (and they are organic, which would probably cause probs for me not being) and if I'm crossing a county line, I'll be working with another inspector. The potential for working with multiple people is pretty big, sounds like. Just to sell a couple cupcakes/cookies here and there.

But anyway...we have a HUGE Amish community. Amish baked goods and candy are very popular. How the heck are they getting by the laws? Are they grandfathered into something?

Guess I'm just hitting my frustrated point icon_biggrin.gif

14 replies
jason_kraft Posted 16 Jun 2011 , 8:31am
post #2 of 15

Unless they have a kitchen that can pass inspection, they are probably doing what most commercial home bakers do in non-CFL states: operating illegally either out of ignorance or unwillingness to follow the rules.

The Amish are subject to the same government regulations we are, with a few exceptions (social security taxes, voting, and ID rules). Food safety is not one of those exceptions.

Baker_Rose Posted 16 Jun 2011 , 5:43pm
post #3 of 15

When I lived in Lancaster County, PA the Amish followed all the rules that everyone else had to. If you live very rural there is the chance that there just aren't funds for them to track down everyone, and without complaints I don't think they are going to search them out.

Tami icon_smile.gif

bakingpw Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 12:21am
post #4 of 15

When I lived in Ohio, I had to get my home kitchen inspected: it had to be separate from my living space. Down the street, Amish sold breads and other baked goods out in the barn! I kid you NOT!!!! The overwhelming smell of manure - but they sold a lot and yes, they had an exemption from the county. Not fair, but I played "by the rules" anyway.

BellaBabyCakes Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 12:37am
post #5 of 15

....wonders how one can just become Amish icon_wink.gif

cabecakes Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 1:09am
post #6 of 15

We also have a very large Amish community in our area, and they sell baked goods right out of their buggies along the road. But if I want to become a legal home based business, I have to have my kitchen inspected. Where I work, we have Amish employees that sell baked goods to the other employees there, and to the best of my knowledge they are not a legally established business. They just bake out of their homes. I am in OHIO.

pbhobby Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 1:23am
post #7 of 15

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that some states have cottage laws that state you can sell home baked goods from roadside stands and farmers markets as long as the product is labeled properly (ingredients and states they are homebaked). I'm guessing they are considered a roadside stand.

jason_kraft Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 1:48am
post #8 of 15

I believe OH has two different rules: one for cottage food production that is more restrictive and does not require an inspection (only random sampling -- see the first link below), and a home bakery license that does require an inspection and has less restrictions on sales.

Cottage food:

Home bakery:

Sangriacupcake Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 1:58am
post #9 of 15

I buy jams from an Amish lady who sells at a number of farmer's markets in my area, which is allowed in Illinois. Last fall, I joked that I would miss having her products during the winter months. She said I could stop by her house anytime to buy some more, and she gave me her address. Her location is right on the way to my son's university, so I stopped by a few times over the winter, which I know is not allowed in Illinois.

But dang! her jams are good!

BellaBabyCakes Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 2:23am
post #10 of 15

Yea, I'm in WI with no CF law, of course. The Amish thing is kind of infuriating, kind of quaint, kind of envy-makin.

Ah well...I'll just keep trucking on the "right" path I guess. I am actually considering an Amish mini barn as a foundation for my kitchen, ha. But I think renovating the back porch is more feasible. Has anyone EVER done their own kitchen on the cheap?

cakesdivine Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 3:40pm
post #11 of 15

Diva, bake your stuff, set up and put on an Amish costume, nones the wiser...LOL! Just kidding icon_wink.gif

LNW Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 5:53pm
post #12 of 15

I think the Amish get a pass around here (Missouri). Im not sure why though. At the last FM I went to there were two ice cream stands set up. One was being run by some Amish boys making ice cream out of this big barrel they were spinning around and the other was being run by a local ice cream shop. The line to the Amish stand was sooooooo long. They couldnt keep up and were sending people away and instead of going right across the way to the other stand people were just waiting around for the next batch to get done. We had ice cream from both stands, eventually. We had to wait quite a while for the Amish ice cream and it was very soft when we did get it. It wasnt spectacular, rock your world, wait-in-line-for-half-an-hour awesome. It was just plain vanilla ice cream. The guys across the way who had a shop in town was just as good, better since theirs wasnt all drippy and soft. But the Amish kids charged a dollar more and sold tons more ice cream. Im assuming because people were attracted by a bunch of Amish boys selling homemade ice cream out of an old barrel as opposed to a bunch of employees from the local shop selling it out of big boxes.

The same thing goes for anything the Amish do. One of our neighbors had them build a deck on the back of his house and we will never hear the end of it. He could have had any guy build it for him for half the price but he chose to pay an arm and a leg to have the Amish do it and while its beautiful and they did a great job Im not seeing why its any better then my deck built by a regular old contractor. I wonder if I start telling people Im Southern Baptist theyll be more interested in buying from me?

gatorcake Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 6:15pm
post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by DivaLori

H everyone,

But anyway...we have a HUGE Amish community. Amish baked goods and candy are very popular. How the heck are they getting by the laws? Are they grandfathered into something?

Guess I'm just hitting my frustrated point icon_biggrin.gif

If you do a search on Amish and food safety you come across a variety of stories discussing the conflict between state food ordinances and Amish communities. They are not exempt but stories also indicate officials are unwilling in many areas to go into communities and shut them down. As unfair as it seems there is a long history at work in these conflicts. And frankly given the size of these communities its pretty hard to shut them down.

LNW Posted 17 Jun 2011 , 6:31pm
post #14 of 15

Very good to know Gatorcake thumbs_up.gif

JadedJenn Posted 18 Jun 2011 , 1:48am
post #15 of 15

In some places the Amish are big tourist draw. I'm guessing that the state or county sometimes looks the other way.

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