Wanting To Sell Baked Goods At Farmers Market...

Business By redding86 Updated 12 Mar 2012 , 11:03am by MimiFix

redding86 Posted 24 Feb 2012 , 4:31am
post #1 of 9

I will try to be as concise as I can be.
I am very interested in becoming a vendor at my local farmers market. I have been making scratch/home made baked goods for the past year and am very passionate about using seasonal ingredients and producing the best product I can. I am aware of the 'Cottage Food Law' here in Michigan but I have pets so that option is gone. I have looked on the state of Michigan's website about acquiring a food license but I am not seeking to open my own establishment. I am hoping to rent a commercial kitchen near the farmers market to bake/package my baked goods. Do I still need to be licensed? I know that I need to complete a food safety handling class in order to rent the kitchen that I have in mind, is that required for all commercial kitchens? I guess I'm just searching for any kind of advice I can get.

8 replies
jason_kraft Posted 24 Feb 2012 , 4:37am
post #2 of 9

Typically commercial kitchens are not covered under the cottage food law and would need to be licensed and inspected. Your county health dept should have more information.

MimiFix Posted 24 Feb 2012 , 12:20pm
post #3 of 9

Most farmers' markets have requirements such as vendors must be licensed and have insurance. If you know where you're interested in selling, contact the market manager for their rules.

tweetspie Posted 12 Mar 2012 , 12:48am
post #4 of 9
Originally Posted by redding86

I am aware of the 'Cottage Food Law' here in Michigan but I have pets so that option is gone.

I've been reading up on the Michigan Cottage Food Law, and nowhere in it does it mention having pets in your home being a factor. I just read through the PDF on the Michigan.gov website and the only mention of pets is that you can't make pet treats or pet food.

I think as long as you are thorough in your cleaning, you shouldn't have much to worry about when utilizing the Cottage Food Law in Michigan (other states have different laws)

elliespartycake Posted 12 Mar 2012 , 1:21am
post #5 of 9

Though I'm not in Michigan, I do have a booth at my local Farmers Market. Check with the organization who operates the market to determine what is required. Call your local health department and tell them what you are hoping to do. They should be able to tell you if the pet thing is an issue.
Some markets have few requirements and others (like mine) require a formal application, health department certification, Servsafe certification and a liability insurance policy. So make your inquires to determine if you can qualify and what you need to do to get into the market.

Good luck!

FromScratchSF Posted 12 Mar 2012 , 1:53am
post #6 of 9

First, I know of no law that allows pets around food being prepared for human consumption to be sold. If it's not covered in your specific cottage law, I'd venture to guess it's covered somewhere else in another HD law somewhere. You just can't keep a cat or dog at a restaurant. I could be wrong, but in all my time on CC and seeing cottage laws discussed, I've never seen someone say that pets are A-OK. Anyway, I strongly suggest you call your local HD for clarification on this.

Being "licensed" simply means that you've registered your business with the appropriate taxing authorities, be that city, county or state (every area is different). It puts your business on record along with who the owner is. It's not like a driver's license! There is no test, you just fill out a form and pay a fee. Some areas require you to publish your business name in the paper. Once you do this it puts you on radar for paying local, state and federal taxes and requires you to start maintaining a paper trail for your activities.

And as a BIG bonus - you'll be able to start buying stuff wholesale. I don't know how you'd be able to make a profit selling cake when you are paying retail for your ingredients! And don't be shy - I use my business license to get a discount on anything I can, even non-cake related stuff.

Any commercial kitchen will most likely require you to have a business license, but I'm almost positive your farmer's market will require you to have one.

Most kitchens require you to take a food safety class, and if you are serving food to the public it's a no brainer that you should want to take one! If you are lucky, your area might recognize a SafeServ class, which is as low as $25 and is online. If you are unlucky (like me) your county will require a full 8 hour classroom session with a big test at the end that costs $300.

Glad you are taking the steps to be legal! Once you do it you'll realize it's no big deal and wonder why everyone doesn't do it! icon_biggrin.gif

MimiFix Posted 12 Mar 2012 , 3:11am
post #7 of 9

I live in NY and have a Home Processor permit. We are allowed to own pets but they must not be in the kitchen during production.

FromScratchSF Posted 12 Mar 2012 , 3:50am
post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by MimiFix

I live in NY and have a Home Processor permit. We are allowed to own pets but they must not be in the kitchen during production.

Interesting! Do you have to have a door that closes off the kitchen from the rest of the house or anything? I only know what I read here (having no cottage laws where I live) so that's interesting to see.

MimiFix Posted 12 Mar 2012 , 11:03am
post #9 of 9

In some respects NY is highly regulated, so allowing pets has greatly surprised me, too. My kitchen has an archway into the dining room with no door. Before the inspector came I thought through all the possible issues. Regarding my 80 pound German Shepherd I planned an explanation: I set up two chairs to stop my dog from entering. The inspector never asked. I suppose having children or a messy spouse or being a bad housekeeper are all potential problems. Ultimately, every food business is responsible for their products. Cleanliness is important regardless of where the production facility is located.

Quote by @%username% on %date%