Home food entrepreneurs have been around since the beginning of time. Look back about 90 years, during the Great Depression when making homemade food was a sustainable form of employment. Jobs were scarce, so folks earned money from selling homemade fudge. They traveled around selling sandwiches from lunch and truck wagons. There were women selling homemade baked goods, bread, cakes, and pies. Some folks were known for selling smoked meat, poultry, and fish. While ladies in the community became well known for their specialty canned foods.
Home food entrepreneurs (aka Cottage Food Operators) prepare non-hazardous food products in their home kitchen. Sold to the consumer, these products are often custom made or made to order. Hazardous foods are food products that are time and temperature-sensitive. In other words, the food product must be held under proper temperature controls. Such as refrigeration to prevent the growth of bacteria that may cause human illness.
Many small-batch producers are uninterested in selling to the masses and many of their products are as mentioned made to order. For example, the Hot Pepper Jelly lady sells her products during the peak of the pepper season. And although the jelly might last all year, she may only make it 6-9 months out of the year.
These specialty food crafters offer a link to our culinary past. Never had a Lane Cake or Oatmeal Pie, you’re missing out. Many local home food entrepreneurs specialize in homemade food products. Some are heirloom recipes no longer available commercially. They bring value, skill, and sentimentality to the marketplace. A home food entrepreneur is a small business owner, committed to producing great food products. These folks are part of your community, someone to be respected and valued. Buy local, buy from the home food entrepreneurs in your community.