Last year the state legislature signed into law the California Homemade Food Act which essentially allows people to make food stuffs in their home kitchens and legally sell them. This is also known as “Cottage Food Operations”. Before you freak out about salmonella or anything like that there are limitations on the types of foods you can make it your home, such as:
- Baked goods without cream, custard, or meat fillings,such as breads, biscuits, churros, cookies, pastries, and tortillas
- Candy, such as brittle and toffee
- Chocolate-covered nonperishable foods, such as nuts and dried fruit
- Dried fruit
- Dried pasta
- Dry baking mixes
- Fruit pies,fruit empanadas, and fruit tamales
- Granola, cereals, and trail mixes
- Herb blends and dried mole paste
- Honey and sweet sorghum syrup
- Jams, jellies, preserves, and fruit butter that comply with the standard described in Part 150 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
- Nut mixes and nut butters
- Vinegar and mustard
- Roasted coffee and dried tea
- Waffle cones and pizzelles
Part of the law, which went into effect earlier this year, asked that local jurisdictions decide how they want to monitor these businesses. So on Monday the Planning Board will be voting on whether to adopt Alameda’s Cottage Food Operation ordinance which would allow for folks to operate these businesses out of their homes and allow for one other employee not part of the household to assist during business hours.
There, of course, will be some reason that someone out there doesn’t like the idea of Joan McJoanerson making jam out of her home kitchen and selling it to people who want to buy homemade jam out of Joan’s kitchen. But I guess the bottom line is that if these Cottage Food operators abide by all the labeling requirements that tell you that it’s not made in a commercial grade kitchen you don’t have to buy Joan’s jam.
Also, fyi, the Alameda Point Collaborative also runs a commercial kitchen that you can rent if your Cottage Food Operation expands so that you no longer can work out of your kitchen (aka you need to hire more than one extra employee). In case you were wondering what they have out there:
Our fully equipped certified commercial kitchen is available for monthly rental. Renters are provided 24/7 access. Rental equipment includes: double oven Wolf range, two convection ovens, 20 quart commercial mixer, walk-in cooler, walk-in freezer, stainless steel food prep and dish washing sinks.
Rental packages start at $25/hr for minimum 10 hours per month. All rentals require a $500 refundable security deposit.