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University of TN Ag Dept said they've never heard of what I want to do

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Colleen 4 years, 2 months ago.

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    I’m very new to the Cottage Food law, so I started with Agriculture Dept of the UT. I started there because my husband and I are developing a coffee house in Clinton, TN. We ran into a problem with finding organic ingredients wholesale. No one would accept our restaurant for wholesale purchases because we couldn’t meet their minimum order requirements. We ended up shutting down the coffee house to develop a new idea. We are transforming our yard into a cottage garden with TN native plants, a Koi pond and naturally grown produce.

    Next we plan to create a wholesale buying food club so we can pool money with others and buy ingredients wholesale. Our idea is to create a small store where people can subscribe and get fresh fruits and veggies twice per week (a CSA) and get bulk foods and baked goods. This is how Our Little Homestead idea came about. Our Little Coffee House will re-open once we get the homestead set up to grow enough veggies to supply our restaurant.

    The UT Ag people said they have never heard of a CSA model like we are creating. They don’t know if ingredients fall under cottage food laws and they are rounding up some information for me. The cottage laws are very confusing.

    Can we sell sugar, flour, oats and other ingredients under the cottage laws? Our structure is duo-zoned so half of the house is an apartment, under residential ordinances and the other half is commercial. The City of Clinton Zoning board voted unanimously to duo-zone our house to give entrepreneurs a break. We hope to open September 1st if we can sort the laws out and find someone who knows how we can sell produce, cottage foods and bulk ingredients.

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by  Colleen.

    David Crabill

    It’s a unique setup, for sure. I don’t think I’ve heard of anything quite that elaborate, though I do know CFOs who pool money to buy ingredients wholesale from existing suppliers.

    I can’t claim to know anything more than UT’s ag dept, so you’ll have to wait for responses from them, but I will say that a number of states are fine with flours and other ingredients being allowed under their cottage food law, even though the laws don’t specifically include them.

    I wish you all the best in your venture!



    Thank you for responding David.

    I got a reply back from someone from the office. They don’t know how to handle this either. They’re trying to get some information for me.

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