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New Trends: Food Entrepreneurs

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The New Trends: Food Entrepreneurs, with the job losses and many people seeking work, one of the things people are doing is taking their family recipes and taking them to the marketplace. Creating their own job.

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If you are thinking about doing this here are some resources to get started with:

Looking to rent a commercial kitchen? You’ve come to the right place. We know from experience that starting a food business can be a real challenge. You can’t manufacture or prepare food for sale out of your home, but setting up a licensed commercial kitchen is very costly and involved. The solution is to rent/share someone else’s certified kitchen. Commercial kitchen rentals, commissary kitchen rentals, and co-op commercial kitchens (kitchen co-op) offer a benefit to kitchen space seekers and property owners alike. Use our search feature to locate commercial kitchens for rent within a radius of your zip code or click on your State from the list below to get started. Listings also include local small food business incubators for food entrepreneurs (often run by universities) and mobile kitchen rentals/food booths. This is a directory listing.

Where can you sell?

The artisan movement also includes moonlighting restaurant cooks who dream of having their own food business, but don’t want the stress and risk of opening a restaurant. Many such folks are selling their tasty wares at brand new kinds of temporary marketplaces like the Pop-Up General Store, whose offerings include boudin blanc sausages, handmade rigatoni, and chicken stock made from locally sourced, sustainable ingredients, as this San Francisco Chronicle piece reports. The Bay Area boasts several other such guerilla-goods exchanges, like the SF Underground Market, which attracted over a thousand people to its last appearance.

Of course, there are problems. Cooking large quantities in cramped home kitchens is frustrating and time consuming; hauling lovingly prepared food from home to market through New York’s streets or Bay Area traffic is difficult and hard on the product; and, because of the long hours, the economic rewards, despite the high prices people are willing to pay, are minimal.

Then there are the regulatory hurdles. Lee sells her wares at a once-per-month market in the basement of a Brooklyn church, which takes in part of the proceeds. Because of the church’s involvement, she and her fellow market vendors are able to skirt around laws that force food vendors to cook in certified kitchens. However, that will soon change.

Writes Moskin: On May 28, the New York Department of Health confirmed that all food vendors in the city must have a food handling permit, and may use only approved commercial kitchens. Renting space in a commercial kitchen costs about $200 for eight hours. For some vendors like Ms. Lee, who is in the process of getting her permit, that would mean the difference between making a small profit and just breaking even on a day at the market.

So will the artisanal-foods movement be crushed by draconian food safety laws? It needn’t be. One of the lessons that Jane Jacobs taught was that smart city planners should open their eyes and see what’s working well on the ground, and then use policy to bolster those things. Read more

I’ll continue to write about this subject as time goes by..every city has their way in dealing with this BIG issue, some Health departments are working with on the ground Food Entrepreneurs, some would just rather ignore us or make it more challenging. I know the Farmers Markets here, are very frustrated with it all.

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