The “Cottage” Food Act of Florida
Another item that has been on the small Florida beekeepers minds (and home bakers) has been the Florida Cottage Food Act. As I understand it this act allows you to bottle your honey in your house instead of having to rent a commercial kitchen. Bakers can also bake their cakes in their own homes. You have to make less than $15,000/year (I believe). It passed (yay) and goes into affect July 1st.
However, you can no longer sell honey online or sell it to any farmer markets or vegetable markets for them to resell. It must be sold direct to the end user. This doesn’t really affect the big guys as they primarily make their money as pollinators, but it does have an impact on some of the smaller bee keepers who do sell as a third party.
There was a fellow beekeeper at the meeting who has built his business up and sells wholesale to a lot of stores and markets in the area. He was a little upset about that provision and honestly, so was I. I have been working on a website and have approached several stores & small vegetable markets about carrying our honey. I was actually getting some good feedback too. Everyone I talked to wants LOCAL honey, not honey from the other side of the state. I am able to sell AT the little farmer markets, (as in a little booth) but most of the markets are closing down this time of year due to the heat and/or they already have honey vendors and don’t want duplicate products. I would like to check back in the fall but am not sure I will even have enough honey this year anyway.
Does your state have a "Cottage" act? If you keep bees, do you plan on selling honey to just friends and family or possibly stores too? Thanks for reading. :)