"The New Cottage Food Economy"

Read this really interesting article in CHOW, an online food magazine, about talented local artisans who make specialty items across the country and are finding success at it.

Sometimes the process of wanting to start your own business can be daunting, especially with the multiple licenses, permits and special facilities needed to make your own food. But, many of these "cottage" businesses are finding ways around it:

Starting a small packaged-foods company isn’t easy. Many grocers and markets prefer to work with distribution companies to keep their invoicing systems simple, and distribution companies require a certain level of output so they can sell to multiple parties. At the bare minimum, you must be legal. Whole Foods, for instance, works with local producers but requires that its vendors operate out of a commercial kitchen (which the company independently verifies) and that they have a business license and liability insurance.
Foodzie, an online store selling independently produced food products, will help vendors get a license and secure commercial kitchen space. And there are some small food business “incubators,” like San Francisco’s La Cocina, that do the same. But commercial kitchens in a major city typically rent for at least $75 an hour, and a business license runs about $100.
By contrast, independent markets like Greenpoint offer hobbyists a launch pad with few—or, in most cases, no—requirements.
“Maybe after they test the waters and expose their product to a new audience they could go the next step,” says Kim. “We’re a market that caters to amateur home cooks.”

This is quite a reasonable alternative. Not that I'm saying artisans should thwart regulations, but if you know your producer and could even ask to see their kitchen (if it came to that), isn't this food safety at its highest accountability?

AND...since I loved Brooklyn Flea so much, I can't wait to check out Greenpoint Food Market. Anyone in?