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Cottage Food – The Foodie Side Gig

Do you make the best breads ever? Cookies maybe?  Are you looking for a way to make extra money?  Have I got an opportunity for you!  Being a Cottage Food Operator may be just what you are looking for.

Florida Cottage Food Laws

Years ago, when bake sales were all the rage for school fundraisers and such, states struggled to update food laws to accommodate such events. The Cottage Food laws were born from this problem. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have Cottage Food laws.  Just so you know, each state’s laws are different.  Some states require inspections, food safety certifications and recipe approvals; many states do not.  The laws are usually pretty restrictive with regard to type of product and method of selling but if you operate within the laws, you can make some pretty nice cash.

In Florida, Cottage Food laws allow for the manufacture of certain shelf-stable food products in a home kitchen. This is great news for someone who has a great product to sell but no access to a certified, inspected commercial kitchen.  Florida law allows for the sale of these food items in person, by phone or over the internet HOWEVER delivery of the product must be face-to-face. They call it ‘direct to consumer’. Sales can only be within the State of Florida – no shipping of product allowed, even on internet sales. Proper product labeling is required.  So if you can meet those guidelines, you can have sales of up to $50,000 annually as a Cottage Food Operator.

St. Lucie Cottage Food Class

Although not required by state law, awareness of food safety practices is highly recommended. Also recommended  – basic business skills so you can figure out your break-even point, track income and expenses and plan for growth.  If you have an interest in becoming a Cottage Food Operator, these topics are covered as well as a deeper explanation of the Cottage Food guidelines in a class coming up October 26 from 9am – noon. Dig out grandma’s best cookie recipes and register today so you can start making money selling Cottage Food products. For more information, call me at the UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie office (772) 462-1895 or email cagator@ufl.edu.