I will be starting at a local farmer's market in the Mansfield. OH area at the end of July and I am SUPER excited. I've been baking and selling out of my home for a year and a half now, relying mostly on word-of-mouth, so it's nice to take that "next step". I will be doing muffins, loaves, cookies, and I really want to add some of my cupcakes because frankly, they're my really strong point. I am already totally comfortable with the cottage food laws here, but I need some opinions about the buttercream. Now, before you tell me to contact my Ag Dept. for clarification, I already have, and their response was basically "No eggs, no milk, no cream - using butter isn't disallowed, but it's not specifically approved either". To compound the issue, I grew up in a country family, that kept the butter in the butter dish on the counter for days until it was used up, so butter doesn't seem hazardous to me. So...does anyone here sell at farmer's markets and use butter in their buttercream or do you stick with just shortening? Do you do half-and-half for summer stability? I almost don't want to bother with it if I have to use all-shortening buttercream. I personally find it greasy and unappealing. I have a marshmallow frosting recipe (for Smores cupcakes) and a PB frosting (for Buckeye cupcakes) that will be totally approved (no butter, no dairy), but I'd like to throw some vanilla and chocolate options in too.
Also - pricing. What prices do you sell your farmer's market goods for? I am having a really tough time settling on pricing. I have all of my exact costs worked out for all of my recipes. I originally thought $1.50 per cupcake/muffin, 3 cookies for $2.00, and mini-loaves for $4.00. Those prices would meet my revenue needs. But I keep reading that round numbers are more appealing at farmer's markets. So now I'm thinking $2.00 for single cupcakes, $7.00 for a 4-pack. The professional bakery I worked in sold for $3/cupcake...no quantity discounts, but that was in Columbus and this is a somewhat different market economically. The professional bakery here also sells for $3/cupcake, but so many of their reviews use the words "too pricey". I don't want to take 100 pieces of baked goods and come home with 90.
Sorry so long - I appreciate any help you can give me... Thank you!