UF helps Floridians create food businesses through workshops

 

 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Stephanie Bartsch, who sells jams, jellies and German pastries, had been running a cottage food business for a couple of years from her Micanopy home. Nevertheless, she wanted to find ways to make her endeavor more successful.

“I attended a workshop held by the University of Florida IFAS Extension, and learned so much in one day,” said Bartsch, who sells her food at the Gainesville Farmers Market. “My business, ‘Stuffany,’ has grown, and I still reference the materials that we received at the workshop. Now, I’m considering investing in a commercial kitchen and expanding the company.”

Soo Ahn, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of food science and human nutrition who specializes in food safety and entrepreneurship, hopes to help the next group of food entrepreneurs get their businesses off the group. She is hosting two workshops, “Introduction to Florida Food Entrepreneurship,” in Gainesville on May 3 and 4, and Immokalee on June 14 and 15. Both two-day workshops run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Gainesville event will be held at the UF TREEO Center, 3900 SW 63 Blvd., Gainesville, FL 32611. Click here to register.

The Immokalee workshop will be held at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, 2685 State Road 29 North, Immokalee, FL 34142. To register, click here.

While experts believe the industry is growing, it is nearly impossible to estimate how many food cottage businesses operate in Florida, Ahn said. State cottage food operations require no license or permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), she said. But, state law states that gross sales for a cottage food operation must not exceed $15,000 annually, and products must be sold directly to the consumer, she said.

“It’s important that Floridians who are thinking about starting a cottage food business in the state understand the laws because there are many regulations that have to be followed,” Ahn said. “For example, operators cannot sell their food on the internet, on consignment or wholesale. And, there are specific labeling requirements.”

For more information, contact Soo Ahn at 352-294-3909 or sahn82@ufl.edu.

 

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By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu

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