Business License For Farmers Market?

Business By MoonFreckles Updated 16 Jul 2015 , 7:55pm by thecakewitch

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MoonFreckles Posted 3 Jul 2015 , 4:01am
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I was under the impression the cottage food law (in california) allows a person to sell at farmers markets without a business license, but for my local farmers market they require a business license and insurance. Are those just extra stipulations the town is allowed to have? I'm also confused because it says no 'indirect sales' on the cottage food law permit info page, so would made-to-order be 'direct sales'? So, once I got the cottage food license I'd be allowed to sell from home? Any help or information appreciated. I wish this were simpler. :(

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littlejewel Posted 3 Jul 2015 , 5:48am
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I believe what they are requiring is standard. One of the markets in the city I live requires exactly what what you mentioned, plus a ServSafe   certification. It sounds like they are only allowing you to sell at farmer's market. Getting a business licence is not that hard. 

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Pastrybaglady Posted 3 Jul 2015 , 3:59pm
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I'm in Northern California and am required to have a business license to sell unser CFL.  They are actually cheap, but of course the more expensive of the licenses.  Peddlers are like $2, the one I needed was about $20.  To renew was even cheaper.  It's good to have so you cover all your bases.  It was quick too, go in, fill out some basic paperwork (bring your CFL stuff), pay your fee and they give you the license right there.

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BakerBlackCat Posted 3 Jul 2015 , 4:11pm
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I'm in Northern California too (Hi Pastrybaglady!) and I have a business license (county treasurer), a CFO Class A permit (county health department), ServSafe certification, and FLIP coverage.  I was told that if I wanted to sell at the local certified farmers' markets that I would need a "seasonal" health permit, plus needed to provide basic hand washing services.  I chose not to participate, and so I never followed up on the specifics.

My understanding of the CFLs in CA is with a Class A permit you can make direct retail sales - that it, direct from you to the purchaser.  Your kitchen isn't inspected, you have basic product labeling requirements, and you can only sell products on the Cottage Foods list.  With a Class B permit, indirect sales are allowed, meaning you may sell to a third-party (e.g. restaurant, cafe, coffee house), who then sells it to the final consumer.  Essentially operating as a wholesaler.  I believe (since I don't have this permit, please don't quote me) that you are still limited to Cottage Foods list production, you still adhere to labeling requirements, AND your kitchen is inspected before the license is granted.

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Pastrybaglady Posted 3 Jul 2015 , 8:00pm
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Hi @BakerBlackCat  :)  Hey, how come you don't have any pictures of your work?  I'm in the East Bay and have never done a farmers market because the fees are so high it would be tough to make a decent profit.  If you want to make money START a farmers market!  I didn't even get as far as finding out about the seasonal health permit.

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MoonFreckles Posted 4 Jul 2015 , 5:42am
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You both have been very helpful, especially because I'm in Northern California too so it makes your information a little more relevant. I did some more research and it turns out my city has a BOT certificate that works as a business license. I was mostly looking into the farmers market because I enjoyed the thought of socializing and being able to choose what to make, but it doesn't seem worth the headache.

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-K8memphis Posted 4 Jul 2015 , 1:57pm
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hello all you north californians -- i just got back from a wonderful vacation there and i want you to know we not only got some rain (for about three exits while we were driving san Jose/morgan hills) we gotta rainbow! then back here in elvistown yesterday we got flash flooding -- wish we could share --  rainy, watery, rainbow best wishes to you all

moonfreckles why not just pop for the license is it too expensive? 

it's usually just a trip to the city secretary's office but then here you do have to also get your tax id at a different location - yeah i guess it is a hassle -- at least pursue it to see what all is exactly required in your area

we got the best produce & stuff at the roadside stands in gilroy & etc - acted just like tourists & popped for the garlic ice cream ha!

keep at it, mf, make some phone calls nothing worthwhile is easy

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Marielijah Posted 16 Jul 2015 , 7:19pm
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Hi Baking Buddies ~ I hope you don't mind me tagging along on this post.  I'm in Southern California and in the process of starting my own CFO from home.  I understand, as BakerBlackCat mentioned, I need the following:

  • a business license from my city
  • a Class A permit (as I will be selling direct to consumer)
  • a food handler certificate
  • liability insurance in order to run my business (TwinkleBerry Sweet Selections....  TwinkleBerry for short)...

My dilemma is with the product labeling...  I know you have to list all items in descending order on the label.   As an example, if you are making a "doctored cake mix" cake, do you list all the ingredients from the box of cake mix such as this:

Sugar, Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol Mono- And Diesters Of Fats, Mono- And Diglycerides), Wheat Starch, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate). Contains 2% Or Less Of: Modified Food Starch, Dextrose, Salt, Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, Soy Lecithin, Natural And Artifical Flavor, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum.

And then continue to list the other ingredients like flour, sugar, sour cream, eggs, etc?  Would you also have to list all the ingredients for the flour, sour cream, etc. or can you just list flour, sour cream, etc?

 I hope you can understand what I'm trying to express here.  I'm really stuck and need to figure this one out.  Any words of wisdom from you would be so much appreciated. 

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thecakewitch Posted 16 Jul 2015 , 7:55pm
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Yes on both your questions. Check this:

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