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Nov 18, 2009 07:47 AM

Advice on starting a small food business

Hello fellow posters,
I am newish to posting, so please be kind. I am kicking around the idea of starting a VERY small home- based food business, specializing in homemade, simple, tasty sauces.
I have lots of experience in the home kitchen and a good head on my shoulders, I am planning on starting small and expanding if there is a demand. I am not willing to "quit my day job" right away, but that is the eventual goal, so it would be part time to start.
Any advice on what has worked for you, food safety guidelines and wisdom to impart, ways to connect with businesses, etc would be great! I would be most greatful!

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  1. hi TN

    depending on your local laws and the types of sauces you want to do (and the establishments you want to sell your sauces to, if you do), you may have to operate out of a commercial kitchen. however many places have "pickle laws" that are aimed at very small home-based businesses and farms, which enable folks to sell various types of home-canned products at farmer's markets. checking out which types of products your local "pickle laws" cover is a good place to start.

    1 Reply
    1. re: soupkitten

      Thanks for the advice, SK, I will check into that for sure. We do have a lot of farmers markets out here (Colorado), so I am hopeful that we have a "Pickle law".
      I am just trying to stay within the law, put up a little investment and be successful, not too much to ask at all! LOL!
      Thanks again!

    2. Much depends on food safety requirements wherever you are. Make friends early with your local enforcement authority and take their advice.

      1. TofuNofu, many law schools run legal clinics that are aimed at helping small business owners or those contemplating a small business. Often they will be of help not only with the regulatory issues, but also with more general business advice. You may want to contact one of these clinics if there is one near you.

        1. How exciting for you! I've helped my husband run more than one establishment, and I agree here about knowing the local food safety laws. But more importantly, get certified. People are really funny about food safety; they get all snippy about their knowledge of it, like it's something they should just KNOW. I had to get certified by a county once, which required a three day course, and when I demo'ed at Costco, getting recertified was required every year. And I always learned something new.

          On the lighter side, my kids call it "the class that ruined their lives." LOL.

          Taking a course will protect you in so many ways. All it takes is a whispered rumor of food poisoning, and your business is finished. So you want to have that certification to back you up.

          Good luck, and don't let anybody tell you "you can't." : )