Ag Answers: Cottage Foods Q & A

The Morning Show

Farmers Markets across the area and prepping to open. Doug Gucker has some tips on what to know before you sell at the market.

  •  Doug, the farmers market season will be beginning soon and you have an upcoming meeting that may be of interest to farmers who sell at farmers markets. (Yes, the meeting is called “Cottage Foods Q & A”. Effective in 2018, the “Illinois Food Freedom Act” expanded cottage food opportunities for farmers wanting to add value and convenience to their farm raised fruits and vegetables. This meeting is designed to answer the questions of people interested in making and selling “cottage Foods” made from local produce.)
  •  When say “Cottage Foods”, just what are you talking about? (A “cottage food” is any permitted food or drink produced in a kitchen located in that person’s primary domestic residence or another appropriately designed and equipped residential or commercial-style kitchen on that property for direct sale by the owner, a family member, or employee.)
  • You said “permitted food or drink”, just what are those permitted products that can be made and sold? (Actually, it is easier to tell what are prohibited from being sold as “Cottage Foods”, since the list is shorter. No: Animal Meats (or products sold as cottage foods); No dairy or eggs (unless used in a baked good); No custard or crème baked goods; No fermented products; Some canned foods – canned foods, except for fruit jams, fruit jellies, fruit preserves, fruit butters, and acidified vegetables, canned tomato products must be made following an approved recipe; No sprouts; No pureed fruits or vegetables; No cut leafy greens unless dehydrated or frozen. As you can see there are plenty of opportunities but there are rules to be followed, This is why this meeting is so important for anyone wanting to start or expand their cottage food business.)
  • When and where are these meetings being held, Doug?  (Please show: Cottage Food flyer)  (Three meetings are being held: April 11 from 6-8PM in Monticello; April 20 from 9-11AM in Decatur and April 25 for 6-8pm in Clinton. The registration fee is $8 to cover the cost of foods being demonstrated. For more information: go.illinois.edu/dmp; 217-877-6042; or Facebook @uie_DMP.

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