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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Why, oh why?

So many things have happened since we last talked (read, wrote, you know what I mean).  The Georgia Department of Agriculture finally passed the Cottage Food Law....YAY!!!!!!!  Here's a link to the regulations....
Cottage Foods
Click here for the  Georgia Cottage Food facebook page .

Such a big step for Georgia bakers.  This will seriously help out so many people who may not have been able to legally start their own businesses, which in turn will create revenue for the state.  So many positives across the board.  I absolutely love to read about the bakers who have already passed their kitchen inspections and are on their way.  For me, well I've come to another brick wall.  I live in Gwinnett Co, one of the largest counties in the state (second largest behind Fulton for population), and at this point in time the Water & Sewerage Dept will not allow a home-based food business in a residential area.  Why?  In order to have a food business, they require you to have a 1500 gallon (YES, you read that right) grease trap on site.  That grease trap would have to be flushed regularly, meaning big trucks, nasty hoses, etc.  So basically they won't even give me the time of day because I don't have this. 

I spent most of the day yesterday doing research, making phone calls, waiting on return calls (which btw never happened), and hoping for some positive news.  I spoke with "the guy with all the answers" at the Water & Sewerage Dept.  He hated to be the barer of bad news, but he basically said there was nothing I could do. 

Now, let me run this by you.... their main reason for this was because any grease put down a drain can start to cause buildup and thus back up the sewage into neighborhoods.  Several years ago, there was a big problem with the water and Gwinnett was able to come up with a solution for theirs.  This has created even more strict regulations from the top down at the water dept.  Apparently some of the other big counties (Dekalb & Fulton) have some pretty bad problems and will eventually have to change their regulations as well.  So....with all of the "underground bakers" across the county making cakes to supplement income that may or may not already put any grease down the drain, will it make any difference at all if the water dept does allow this Cottage Food Law?  And there are limitations already on what you can even produce under the Cottage Food Law.  We're talking things like cakes, fruit pies, cookies, pastries.  You can't make anything that is considered perishable and needs refrigeration.  No cream cheese frostings, cheesecakes, cream pies, etc.  So how much "grease" would you really put down the drain?  For me, any leftover frosting gets scraped in the trash.  And I use disposable pastry bags because I really dislike washing them.  We're talking MINIMAL amounts of grease, if any.  No more than your average meal cooked at home for your family.

AND....the state of Georgia allows certain items to be produced and sold at state operated farmers' markets.  Hence the reason I chose to participate in the Snellville Farmers' Market this summer.  Which btw was a lot of fun!  As long as you individually package your items and label them with ingredients, allergen information, and contact information, you were able to sell their approved list of items WITHOUT having a business license OR contacting the water dept for approval.  So if a baker is allowed to participate in farmers' markets without pre-approval from the water dept, why won't they allow a variance for the Cottage Food Law? 

Sara Rylander spoke up and made a change for the future of small business bakers across the state.  Now it's time to help my fellow Gwinnett bakers get their businesses going.  Spread the word, share your stories, talk to the media, etc.  We can do this!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Seriously, where did the summer go?!?!


I know!  We're thinking the same thing!  Seriously, where did the summer go???

It's been almost 2 months since my last entry.  Time sure does slip away from us, doesn't it?

Well, let's see.  So much has happened.  I'll try to recap without boring you to tears.

Farmers' Market has been consistently successful.   We have several people that stop by weekly to get cupcakes.  LOVE that!  And of course we hear about it when we're not at the market.  Very, very thankful to those that have continued to support SDC.  I love that the market is over at noon so I can get back to regularly scheduled weekend fun (although Fridays are a bit overwhelming at times). 

Here are some fun pics of market stuff...

Sand Bucket Cupcakes

S'mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie
"Sundae" Cupakes


And, we've had two big birthdays this summer....my littlest man turned the big 4!!  Yep, hard to believe.  They grow up so fast!  His party was FANTASTIC, if I do say so myself.  And our friends are STILL talking about it.  I created a drive-in theater, complete with snacks, cars for the kids to sit in, and a movie of course.  Best idea I've had yet!  The kids actually sat in their cars with their snacks for an ENTIRE movie!!!  Can you believe that?  The parents actually had a chance to sit, relax, and chat.  
We set up a photo booth with props for all of the kids!                                                                                                                                                       

The birthday boy in his car!


The favors...a take home movie night with redbox gift certificate!

The concession stand

All of the kids got so comfy in their cars.
"Popcorn" Cupcakes









And, yes, I turned 30 this summer.  Yep, the big 3-0....THIRTY!  Me?!?! Whew....hard to say.  It's true.  I threw myself an extraordinary party inspired by the great Jimmy Buffett. 

The tiki bar


Oil Station (All those tourists covered with oil!)

Wastin' away again in Margaritaville Cupcakes

The food table- each item had a reference to a Buffett song!!!

And of course we used the photo booth as well....

Ya know, if the whole cake thing doesn't work out...perhaps I could go into the party planning business.  ;)


So, what's going on with the business side of me?  The Dept of Agriculture posted the regulations for the cottage food law in July and opened a 30 day commentary period allowing people to write in and share why they think this would be beneficial or not to our state.  Well, the 30 day period is over, and still no word on what the outcome will be.  We are anxiously awaiting some news about it.  Until then, we have a few more weeks scheduled at the farmers' market and will keep trucking along!


Some other projects this summer...
BBQ Grill/Tailgating Cupcakes







What about you?  What have you been up to?  How did you spend your summer???

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Market Updates

So, summer has finally set in.  The weather has been strangely mild so far, although today felt like a heatwave came through.  It is always a big adjustment for the first few weeks of summer... I have both boys AND the hubby home with me everyday, which can make for a hard time getting work done....thus is why I haven't updated my blog in some time.  I started the Snellville Farmers' Market a few weeks ago and have been very welcomed by the community.  Both weekends we nearly sold out of treats!!!  I've featured an array of sweets, from Maple Bacon Cupcakes, to S'mores Stuffed Cookies and Chocolate Overload Push Ups.  I picked up a box of peaches from Pearson Farms to make peach preserves that I served with samples of cream cheese poundcake and also used them in peach cobbler cupcakes!  They were delish!!!


We are back at the Farmers' Market this Saturday, June 23 with more sweets and treats and then we will be off for two weeks.  If you're in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by Snellville City Hall. 

I finally got around to putting my business info on my car and it turned out GREAT!!!  What do you think?















I hope you're enjoying your summer!
-Jennifer

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Updates

Yes, I know...it has been forever!  I promise to try better next time.  I won't leave you for so long.  It looks like we have a lot of catching up to do...

Well, I've had some VERY busy weeks lately with the school year ending, which means that I had to get gifts read for Nicholas' teachers and bus driver.  I absolutely LOVE that Nicholas is taking advanced classes at school.  He truly is very smart, but that also means triple the number of gifts to send in!  But, it is all worth it.  I came up with a really cute idea for his teachers, that "hopefully" they would be able to use over the summer.  Since the hubby is a teacher and I worked at a private school back in the day, we really try to send in gifts that the teachers will appreciate and USE.  I can't tell you how many bottles of Bath & Body Works lotions I received over the years that are still in my gift tote.  I started to wonder if they thought I smelled bad, but then realized that smelly stuff just seems to be a typical gift.  Haha.  Here's a pic of what I sent in.  Total cost per gift worked out to be around $11, plus the kids got to enjoy the leftover snacks (bonus!). 

The buckets were filled with a personalized water bottle that had crystal light drink packets in it, a beach towel, snacks and candy.


The same week was filled with lots of cakes.  My favorite one was made for my cousin's graduation.  I haven't seen some of my extended family in 10 years or so, so when my aunt asked if I would make my cousin's cake, I was honored.  We drove out to their house for a party and spent some time catching up with everyone.  It was neat for my kids to meet a whole different side of the family!  My cousin, the one I made the cake for, has been accepted into the Navy Seal program as a Navy Diver and leaves this fall.  So, we only thought it was appropriate to make a Navy Ship Cake.

The hubby had to help guide me on this one because my ship looked like a cruise ship for a while.  He said it needed more weapons! 

I also made a graduation cake for a friend's sister.  She is a huge Beatles fan.


And my neighbor was celebrating his 2nd birthday.  Aren't these Blues Clues cupcakes adorable???

Oh, and I made the awesome BEATS headphones for a good friend.  They were a lot of fun to make.



And, while I've been away, I purchased my new CUPCAKE MOBILE!!!!  Yay!!!!  Here she is.....


Do you like the little cupcake antenna topper?  (Thanks Mom!)


Since then I have ordered some advertising for the back window and can't wait to put it on!  I'll post pics hopefully next week.  So, what's going on now???  Well, my first day at the Snellville Farmers' Market will be this weekend.  I have made product lists, gone shopping, ordered promotional items, and I'm not even close to being ready yet.  I am overwhelmed, stressed, nervous.... VERY nervous.  What if people don't buy my treats?  What if they don't like them?  AHHH!  But, at the same time, I am very excited to have this opportunity to share my sweet treats with the community.  And, it will help by some time until we hopefully hear some good news about the Georgia Cottage Food Law!

Until next time,
Jennifer