Cottage Foods

Starting a Farm Business Update

Okay, so I started working on the big Farm Business Plan the past couple of weeks.  I found this website where you can do a plan online.  It is nice because then I can work on it no matter where I am, just log in to my account (it is free) and pick up where I left off!

I have linked the website to this banner so click on it and it will take you to the site.

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I started working on the big Farm Business Plan and it got a little overwhelming.  Mostly, this is because I want to do so many different things and be well diversified on the farm.   Also, it got me thinking…when I went to look at the property with the house on 10 acres, most of the acreage was all in pasture.  I would have to most the fence to make room for berries and trees.  So, the home/land we purchase might be a limited factor in what we can do on our farm.  I think most anything is possible but this just made me realize how important it is to plan this out and get each enterprise implemented correctly.

I realized that I needed to break this down into smaller parts.  So, I am going to have one big overall Business Plan but then have individual Farm Business Plans for each enterprise that will break down all the income/expenses for each project.  I will begin with the chicken business plan since this is the one I want to get started first.

Sunflowers

Pat texted me on Thursday and said that he watered my sunflowers!  I have done 2 plantings and we have not had any rain so nothing has started.  I am going to go out tomorrow and see how things look but I am not going to plant anymore until I can see that what I have planted has gotten a good start.
This was the first weekend of the Moscow Farmers Market.

Joshua and I went to the market and got eggs from 3 different farms.  We are going back next weekend to get some herbs.   Lots and lots of vegetable starts were available.  I will probably have to get some peppers because, even though I got new see, mine never germinated.  It was a great morning.

I did notice that there was one vendor there selling flowers.  The prices of bouquets ranged fro $6-$20.  Mostly it was tulips right now with the specialty double tulips demanding the highest price.

One vendor had garlic for sale for 3/$1.  I was a little disappointment to see this because I will have an abundance of garlic and was hoping to sell some but can’t really compete with these prices…maybe they will have run out by the time mine is ready in August…

Cottage Foods in Idaho

Okay, there is something going on with “Cottage Foods” in Idaho.  I know that I had seen several posts about this a couple of months ago and something about a bill being made into law that would regulate the Cottage Food industry.  I will be honest, I didn’t take the time to see what this was all about.  Basically, the bill was never brought to a vote but there was LOTS of discussion about it.  So, Patrick Guzzle is the Idaho Food Protection Program Manager.  He is going all over the state to get public comment about this proposed bill HB 187.  He was in Moscow last week so I went to learn exactly what all the buzz was about and how this might affect ReMARKable Farms and our fancy business plan…
First, what exactly are Cottage Foods.  Here is a definition from the Merrium-Webster site: 
Cottage Industry: a system for making products to sell in which people work in their own homes and use their own equipment.
Mr. Guzzle talked about Time/Temperature Control for Safety Foods (TCS).  These are foods that are known to support rapid and progressive growth of harmful bacteria when certain conditions are met
Examples:
◦ Meats (raw and cooked) and items that contain meat protein
◦ Cooked starches like rice and pasta
◦ All cooked produce
◦ Some raw produce (seed sprouts, cut melons, cut
tomatoes, cut leafy greens)
I bring this up about TCS foods because Non-TCS foods are the types of foods that are made in a Cottage Industry.
Examples:
◦ Breads
◦ Cakes and most pastries
◦ Cookies
◦ Fruit jams and jellies
◦ Honey
◦ Candy
◦ Fruit pies
◦ Dried fruits
◦ Dry herbs, seasonings
◦ Dry cereals, trail mixes, granola
◦ Nuts
◦ Vinegar and flavored vinegar
◦ Popcorn, popcorn balls, cotton candy
Basically, there is nothing even in Idaho Food Code about Cottage Foods.  The Idaho Food Code is up for revision and Mr. Guzzle is trying to determine if that needs to happen.  It seems that there is a small group of people in the southern part of the state that think that Cottage Foods should be heavily regulated.  This would require each Cottage Food producer to register (probably pay a fee), have inspections of their site, and certain labeling requirements and probably more that I cannot remember.
It seems like the system we currently have in place is working fine and this is also the opinion of our State Attorney General.
I am glad I went to the presentation and learned a lot about how the State and the Health Districts work together to regulate food safety in Idaho.  It you are at all interested, here a link to Cottage Foods presentation.  It seems that any Cottage Foods we want to produce here at ReMARKable Farms are on the non-TCS list!

In the Garden

Picked my first harvest of lettuce for the season!

 Planted some broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage among my garlic…we will see how this goes!

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