Cottage Food Law 101 ~ Cooking Up Business From Your Farm or Home Kitchen

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Are you a farmer wanting to produce value-added items? Are you a food entrepreneur looking to expand your business? If you are, listen up! This past year, farmers and food entrepreneurs across CA rejoiced in the new Homemade Food Act (also known as the Cottage Food Act).

The first of its kind in the state, this law has opened the doors for many home cooks and farm businesses looking to expand into value-added products, to use their talents and often abundant harvest, to earn extra money and access new markets.

The law allows producers to sell their goods at farmers markets, in online stores, to wholesalers, in community supported agriculture (CSA) shares, and elsewhere. Without many of the restrictions that govern larger producers, this law aims to stimulate small-scale enterprise development and local economies, without requiring commercial kitchen space or lengthy zoning and regulatory measures!

However, it’s not just a free for all! There are still guidelines and limitations to what and how something is produced. Here at FarmsReach, we created a quick and easy info sheet on the basics of starting a Cottage Food Operation. The following are some highlights. For full details, visit our Cottage Food Law 101 Info Sheet in the Marketing & Sales Toolkit.

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VB6: Mark Bittman’s Vegan Diet for Meat Eaters

With a lot of news reporting on the rise in child obesity, the effects of genetically modified foods (GMOs), and the scarcity of natural resources such as water and oil, we all want a ray of hope – we want some good news, already! What can we eat? What is the healthy diet? How can we eat and live while leaving less of a carbon footprint?

The August / September 2013 issue of  The Commonwealth magazine printed an excerpt of chef Joey Altman’s conversation with Mark Bittman, New York Times food columnist and author of the book VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health… for Good. Bittman has long been a conscious eater, offering his discriminating taste and opinion, but also meshing his appetite with social and environmental consciousness. While an ever growing number of us are excited about eating locally, seasonally and buying directly from the farmer to support our health and our local food sheds, Bittman’s new diet is a serving of good news we’ve been waiting to hear.

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Featured Farmer Spotlight: Paul Underhill of Terra Firma Farm

Every week, we’ll spotlight a FarmsReach Featured Farmer. Our Featured Farmers are brimming with great ideas and knowledge to share with the farming community. Feeling a spark of curiosity? There’s no question too simple or tough. Ask a question or add a Conversation and we’ll be sure it’s answered within a day or two.

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This week, we’re featuring Paul Underhill, from Terra Firma Farm – “a non-traditional version of a ‘family farm’“.  Paul is a partner on the farm along with Paul Holmes and Hector Melendez-Lopez, who has several family members who all work intrinsic positions on the farm.

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Featured Farmer Spotlight: Emma Torbert of The Clover Leaf Farm

Every week, we’ll spotlight a FarmsReach Featured Farmer. Our Featured Farmers are brimming with great ideas and knowledge to share with the farming community. Feeling a spark of curiosity? There’s no question too simple or tough. Ask a question or add a Conversation and we’ll be sure it’s answered within a day or two.

Emma Torbert of The Clover Leaf Farm

This week, we’re featuring Emma Torbert, from The Clover Leaf Farm. Emma got her masters in Horticulture from University of California at Davis and currently works for the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI).

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Featured Farmer Spotlight: Judith Redmond of Full Belly Farm

Every week, we’ll spotlight a FarmsReach Featured Farmer. Our Featured Farmers are brimming with great ideas and knowledge to share with the farming community. Feeling a spark of curiosity? There’s no question too simple or tough. Ask a question or add a Conversation and we’ll be sure it’s answered within a day or two.

This week, we’re featuring Judith Redmond, one of the dedicated owners of Full Belly Farm, a certified organic farm located in the beautiful Capay Valley of northern California. Their farm has been certified organic since 1985, where they strive to continue supporting local food systems and creating a strong local food economy.

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Gauchos and Organic Beef – the Grass Really is Greener

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When we heard about the Argentine asado going down at True Grass Farms (Valley Ford), it didn’t take a minute for us to run wild with our imaginations. With pastures of the pampas and gauchos grilling in our heads, we drove out to where our mobiles lost service and the sky is deep and kisses hills of grass.

A spread of grilled veggies, leafy greens a flutter, sizzling skillets of chorizo, ribs, and a wood fire-roasted slab of beef doused in chimichurri sauce. True Grass gauchos were clad in billowy Argentine rancher-inspired garb. Wine flowed freely and live music strummed through the afternoon.

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