Talk with others about the cottage food industry in Pennsylvania
creating a separate home kitchen, need guidance
- March 11, 2014 at 10:47 am #4693
I currently work with a partner baking for a farmer’s market. We do our work in her licensed home kitchen, not in the county where I live.
I would like to be able to do this on my own, from my own home. We have a dog, so the plan is to convert an unused garage room into a separate kitchen for this purpose. The garage is not attached to the house, and it will be possible to ensure that no animals have access to this kitchen at any time.
I am not doing anything that would come under the ‘hazardous food’ category. Just cookies and bread.
I am not ready to have anything inspected, not by a long shot, I’m just at the starting stage for this, although I would very much like to have it done this spring and be ready for market season.
Before I have a contractor come in to do any work, I want to make sure that I’m not overlooking any requirements, but I can’t find anything specific on-line. I’m getting conflicting information from other farmers who have licensed kitchen facilities. Do I need washable walls, i.e. something other than painted drywall? I have a triple sink; will I also need a separate handwashing sink? Are there requirements about backsplashes for counter areas or where the floor and wall meet?
I’ve read through the requirements I can find for home kitchens, but I have an uneasy feeling that if I’m creating a kitchen in a separate room there may be a different list……and I don’t want to go through this twice. Can you help me out?March 12, 2014 at 1:42 pm #4708
You definitely need to call your health dept before spending a ton of money on this. I don’t think you can use the cottage food law, since it’s not the kitchen in your primary residence. You can probably do this with a commercial license if you make that building into a commercial kitchen, but you need to be aware of all the requirements that go into building a commercial facility. It can get really expensive!March 13, 2014 at 11:02 am #4721
Thanks, David. Are those regulations (for the commercial kitchen) actually published anywhere? I am getting put through to voicemail for the person at PDA who is assigned to my zip code, and I’ve left a message, but they have not returned my call. I have a meeting with the Farm Credit people next week, and I’d hoped to be able to start paperwork with them for a loan to finance this, but until my contractor and I can actually see a list of regulations, we can’t figure out if it’s financially feasible.
The building in which I’ll be setting up this kitchen was once actually a house, and the irony here is that I’ll be pretty much recreating what had once been the ‘outkitchen’ when the current house was built. I’m hoping that will be in my favor.March 14, 2014 at 4:38 am #4726
There is probably somewhere in the food code that says something about commercial licensing and commercial kitchens, and it may even list some requirements about how producers handle food, but you really won’t be able to get the full scoop without talking to them directly.
I don’t think it will matter that the extra building is almost a house. You’re not working with the cottage food law here so you’ll be held to all the standards of a commercial kitchen.March 4, 2015 at 11:33 am #16877
I am curious if you ever found the laws and regulations for a commercial kitchen. I am currently trying to start by own business and wanted to start at the local farmers markets as well. We have to build something outside of the home also, because we have an inside dog. I keep searching and can’t seem to find anything on the regulations that are needed for my kitchen.
Any help would be greatMarch 5, 2015 at 7:45 pm #16912
Jenn, usually the only way to find info about this is to call the govt dept directly.
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