Before I start my Daily Complaint (isn't that what this website amounts to?) I want to direct you towards Lindsay Kennedy Photography and the MIGHTY MAGGIE READER SPECIAL. Dude, you guys, I've never had a Reader Special named after me. Or anything, actually. Except the blog, that I named myself, out of a desperate lack of creativity. BUT THE POINT IS Lindsay is offering a discount for my readers, all four of you, and you guys SHE TRAVELS. Check out my gorgeous new canvas, yo:
Note. This is not where it's supposed to go. I want to hang it on a big blank wall nearby, but doing that requires getting out the monster ladder and that is a Phillip job. It might get hung by Valentine's Day.
At the very least you should check out that link for yet another picture of my delightful and only-because-of-Lindsay photogenic family. I FEEL SO FANCY.
Oh, and did I tell you Lindsay offered to take pictures for Thumbprints? I KNOW. No really, I KNOOOOOW. 1) she is the best. 2) I am still totally utterly wonderfully floored by the support my entire off- and online universes have thrown behind this bakery craziness.
SPEAKING OF THE CRAZINESS. (This is where I complain.) Katie I spent a large chunk of Saturday going over what we want to sell via the website. That was a lot of work. I had a big list of ideas, Katie had a big list of ideas, and we edited and culled and priced and mulled and I think we came up with an assortment of things that are yummy, pretty, and special to us.
THEN we started going over the Cottage Food Application. And that is when I started to get Annoyed.
Until the Cottage Food Act passed, you could only sell food that had been prepared in a commercial kitchen. A few days ago I told you why that wasn't a good option for Katie (or our bakery). So we should be uber grateful that the CFA exists. EXCEPT.
You are only allowed to earn a maximum of $15,000. Not like I think we're going to make over $15,000 any time soon, but I think we can agree that that is not a Living Wage and anyone who applies for the CFA has, I have to assume, ambitions of building a larger business, either eventually renting space in a commercial kitchen or opening a storefront.
You COULD apply for a CFA to just make goodies on the side, right? And sell to friends and family and maybe their friends and family and be legal etc. etc. But if that were our only goal (and Katie's pretty much been doing this exact thing), WE WOULD NOT BOTHER TO APPLY. BECAUSE:
- It costs $230.
- You have to have your kitchen inspected. And the rules for your kitchen include: a two-compartment sink, smooth countertops, child gates (or a "child management plan"), separate storage areas for your business supplies and ingredients, etc.
- You must copy and submit to the Powers That Be every single recipe you intend to use. Which, in our case, is a lot of recipes.
- You must make labels listing ingredients (and some ingredients, like flour, must be broken down into sub-ingredients) for every single item you intend to sell, and submit these with your application.
- You must write out your packaging process for each product.
- You must write out any processing steps for each product that are not listed in the recipe (ie: cooling on racks, storing in the freezer, etc.)
- Youc cannot sell anything that needs refrigeration.
- You may only sell direct to the consumer, hand to hand, which means no shipping, no Etsy, and no selling to food service establishments, like small local coffee shops.
I feel like I'm forgetting a few things. Oh, writing up the sales plan and schedule (which can be "unknown, will vary"). Some of it will be quite easy for an English major who graduated summa cum laude in B.S., but writing up the ingredients for every single stupid cookie? OMGGGGGG. (Katie's doing that part. HA.)
And I UNDERSTAND. I do. But if we weren't hoping to open a storefront at some point, I don't see how doing this is worth it. A stringent rule-follower like myself is saying this, people. It's a LOT of tedious work for not very much reward. Unless it springboards us into something bigger. FINGERS CROSSED.
I GUESS, if we were just making homemade granola, or jam, or something like that, it wouldn't be such a big deal. I WILL GIVE YOU THAT.
Anyway, I had resigned myself to this whole application process, until Saturday when it was discovered by both of us that neither of our kitchens would work. Not Katie's, because she only has a one-compartment sink. Not mine, because I have tile countertops, ie: not smooth, with nasty unsanitary grout all over the place. And as much as I would like to remodel my kitchen, that doesn't seem like the best solution.
After we freaked out, calmed down, and let off some anti-CFA steam, Katie came up with a solution. We will use my kitchen, but the kitchen table instead of the counters (and the butcher block bar area above the tile counter). This is not ideal because my oven is the House Original and is also the smallest oven known to man and Katie hates it with her whole being. ALSO I HAVE TO HAVE MY KITCHEN INSPECTED HOLY CRAP. But it will work. For now. We think. GAH.
So! That's what's up with THAT. We are really really hoping to get legal in time to sell our numerous holiday cookie trays and gifts. I hope people want to BUY them. I think they will be yummy and CUTE AS HECK. We need to start hauling ass on labels and hoping against hope that someone feels like coming out and inspecting us in a timely manner. AND THEN I WILL PUT UP THE WEBSITE. AND IT WILL BE GLORIOUS. AMEN.