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The Cottage Foods Act hopes to jump start local economies, allowing small- scale growers to sell their products directly to customers, without having to rent a commercial kitchen….

With spring and summer comes fresh fruits and vegetables, and thanks to a new law, your neighbors could start to sell you some of their crops.

The Cottage Foods Act hopes to jump start local economies, allowing small- scale growers to sell their products directly to customers, without having to rent a commercial kitchen.

People can sell up to $5,000 worth of food a year, right out of their homes, without renting a high dollar commercial kitchen.

“It’s the opportunity for small jobs, people to make a little extra income, and be able to sell these products directly to their neighbors and at the farmers markets,” State Senator Gail Schwartz said.

The idea is to make homemade, healthy, local foods more available, hopefully boosting the local economy.

“Anything that you process, that you put into a jar, was considered illegal if it wasn’t done in a commercial facility or inspected, so it’s opening up a great new opportunity,” Schwartz said.

What seems to be a good idea, might not be for those who have already spent lots of money to legitimize their food business.

“It’s really difficult for those of us who have really invested the time, the money, and follow the rules,” said Carol Zadrozny, who with her family, owns Z’s Orchard in Palisade. Z’s has spent thousands of dollars for a commercial kitchen and other resources for the business, which sells fruits and vegetables throughout the year.

Either way, more people are sure to be selling their local foods around town, with the chance to benefit from a $10 million federal program.

“I was in Colorado talking about the Farmer’s Market Promotion Program, it’s a great program USDA has to provide money for roadside stands and farmers markets to help promote local and regional food systems,” agriculture deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan said.

If you want to start selling food yourself, you have to have liability insurance, and have to get third- party certification in food handling. Some foods that you’re allowed to sell are jams, jellies, candies and baked goods.

Colorado joins 28 other states to pass similar cottage foods laws.

Read more http://www.nbc11news.com/home/headlines/Support_for_local_food_growers_147416085.html

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