Monday, February 4, 2013

Celebrating Homemade-Food Businesses - Patty White and Leah Delyte DiBernardo

This week, we're celebrating one-month of homemade foods by profiling cottage-food producers from throughout California.  Yesterday we saw a cottage-food business in the Northern California town of Oroville.  Today I'm looking to the opposite end of the state, to Riverside County's Patty White and Leah Delyte DiBernardo.  The article below is an excerpt from a larger article on AB 1616 that appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune.  I wish Patty White and Leah Delyte DiBernardo  the best as they continue producing healthy homemade food options for our communities.

State opens way to sell food from home kitchens
By David Downey - Jan. 25, 2013

Temecula resident Patty White makes her chocolate-covered peanut clusters at home and sells them at area farmers markets. She was one of the first people to obtain a permit from Riverside County to sell goods baked in a home kitchen. — Don Boomer
For years, Patty White has been making delicious treats for holiday gatherings.

“I make chocolate peanut clusters," White said. "And the recipe is my great-grandmother’s. Everybody loves it and asks me how I make it, and I’m not going to tell them.”

After losing a managerial job in cellphone sales last year, the Temecula woman in her 50s is making the sweet and crunchy desserts for more than family. For the last couple of weeks, she has been selling half-pound bags of clusters at area farmers markets.

White said she has had difficulty finding another job despite a long career in sales. And the state's new cottage food law gave her an opportunity to earn income doing something she enjoys.
Assembly Bill 1616, or the California Homemade Food Act, took effect Jan. 1. The law opened the door for entrepreneurial-minded Californians such as White to sell a limited range of food products made in home kitchens...

...A lot more will be sought once people get wind of the program, said Leah Delyte DiBernardo, co-owner of E.A.T. or Extraordinary Artisan Table in Temecula.

E.A.T. is both a catering business and seller of locally produced food. And DiBernardo said she sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown last year urging that he sign Gatto's bill.

Until now, local food producers have had to rent certified kitchens and obtain insurance in order to sell homemade food, DiBernardo said.

"We’ve been renting our kitchen the past few years to people who are doing this," she said. "We did it at a lower cost to support these people, because renting a kitchen can cost anywhere from about $25 to $70 an hour.”

By authorizing production on home stoves, the law is saving people thousands of dollars, she said.

"I think that it’s really important because we have taken such a huge step back from supporting local artisans," DiBernardo said. "This is actually something people have been fighting for, for more than a decade.”

Since the first of the year, 15 to 20 calls a week have been pouring in from people interested in selling homemade food, said Gale Cunningham, market administrator for Farmers Market Management Company Inc.

Cunningham's firm sponsors four farmers markets: one in Murrieta, one in Corona and two in Temecula.

At the moment, she said, every selling slot is spoken for.

As for White, the former cellphone saleswoman, she was one of the first to obtain a permit from Riverside County -- for selling those chocolate-covered peanut clusters.

White said she sold half-pound bags for $6 the last two weekends at farmers markets in Menifee, Canyon Lake and Corona.

“The response has been just great,” she said.

White said the treats come in three varieties of chocolate: milk, white and dark.

As for the original cluster crafted by her great-grandmother, it came with milk chocolate, White said. But she said that's as far as she will go, in revealing the top-secret recipe.

You can read this article and more at the San Diego Union Tribune HERE

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly.  He represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, La Canada-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and portions of the Hollywood Hills and East Hollywood.

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