Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Celebrating One Month of Homemade-Food Businesses in California - Melissa Bain

This week, we're celebrating one-month of homemade foods by profiling cottage-food producers from throughout California.  While many people think of trendy neighborhoods like San Francisco's Mission or Los Angeles' Silver Lake as the only places where cottage food industries thrive, as I have looked around the state I have found homemade food business almost everywhere.

Yesterday we traveled to the border to visit Riverside County's Patty White and Leah Delyte DiBernardo.  Today, I'm going back up to NorCal, Marin County to be specific, and profiling Larkspur resident Melissa Bain.  A former database programmer, Ms. Bain recently became the first resident of Marin County to obtain a cottage food license, for her business "Blissful Treats."  The article below is an excerpt from a larger article on Ms. Bain and AB 1616 that appeared in the Marin Independent Journal.  I wish her all the best as she continues producing what appear to be delicious cookies and baked goods.

Larkspur woman opens first permitted residential kitchen in Marin

Whipping up batches of cookies and cupcakes is more than a hobby for Larkspur resident Melissa Bain. Her apartment kitchen was recently dubbed the first permitted residential kitchen in Marin, thanks to a new state law that took effect Jan. 1.

Within the past two weeks, Bain has set up shop in her kitchen with the intent to bake treats for the wholesale and retail markets. Selling her goods would've been illegal prior to the passage of Assembly Bill 1616, which allows Californians to make and sell certain foods from their kitchens.

Bill supporters say it will allow people who don't have access to a commercial kitchen or can't afford one to sell their home-baked goods.

Bain, 39, said she had learned about the new law in December after deciding that her work as a database programmer wasn't enough to keep her busy. She made some confections for her friends and asked them whether she should go into business.

"I got so much positive feedback from it," Bain said.

After procuring a business license for "Blissful Treats," taking an online food handlers' course and having her kitchen looked at by a county health inspector, Bain is ready to make her favorite salted caramel chocolate cupcakes for widespread consumption.

She said she was surprised to learn she's the first one in the county to get one of the permits.

"I truly thought other people would be jumping on the bandwagon," Bain said.

She said the process has been fairly straightforward, but involved filling out a large packet of paperwork for the county's environmental health services department. This included determining how much each product costs to make and what to sell it for.

"It's a perfect exercise for individuals to figure out if they really want to do it," Bain said.

Bain is focusing on cupcake flavors like white chocolate coconut and carrot cake. Some of her favorite cookie flavors include ginger molasses, rose water cardamom, chocolate peanut butter and oatmeal raisin.

"I try to keep things a little bit on the simple side," Bain said.

Dave Smail, supervising registered environmental health specialist, said Marin officials have been busy reviewing the new law and developing guidelines. He said it will be interesting to see how many people are waiting in the wings to get a permit and start their own businesses.

"The goal of this law was to bolster micro-economies," Smail said...

...Bain said she'll be happy when she makes her first official sale.

In the meantime, she's been busy baking cookie donations for WildCare, a wildlife rehabilitation center in San Rafael, where she volunteers once a week.

 "I'm trying to keep myself entertained," Bain said.

If all goes as planned, Bain will soon have a long list of clients and her own booths at multiple farmer's markets. She said baking gives her a chance to exercise different skills than those used in her information technology job.

"I wanted to tap into the creative energies a bit," Bain said.

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You can read this entire article and more at the Marin Independent Journal 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.

1 comment:

  1. Wow very entertaining post. Ive notice that there are many Cheap 1300 Numbers that giving to a business to give them many clients. Most busineses are using smart numbers to easily remember by their clients most especially on restuarant and food businesses.