Tag Archives: Westside Famer’s Market Ann Arbor

Local Food: Tell a Friend

I am a big fan of local food.

I picked up my Thanksgiving Turkey this year from the farm it was raised. And the pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cranberries, eggs and corn meal in the meal were all local.

With that said, I really, really want to see the local food movement grow.

But do Local Food Eaters really want it to grow?

I have been thinking about that lately and part of me thinks NO.

The reason I say this is because I question the incentive for individual local food eaters to bring more people into the fold.

Are local food eater like myself telling friends, increasing our numbers, dragging reluctent friends to the farmers market?

A few years back, I belonged to a food club that offered raw milk. The club was kind of secretive, and I got the feeling that most in the club wanted to keep it that way.

More local food eaters means more competition for the limited supply of locally produced food.

Would the good nature local food eater (myself included) feel OK when they can’t get into a CSA, or they can’t get local eggs, or they get shut out of a community garden plot, or if there is a wait list for chicken when it once was easy to get?

Promoting local food feels like shooting ourself in the foot.

It’s like telling everyone about our favorite restaurant, which results in us never getting a table.

The incentive to not share in our good thing is strong.

But this mentality has a risk because we need more local food eaters.

Without more local food eaters, the movement is sunk because more local food eaters means more local farmers and larger/more farmers markets to meet demand, more local food restaurant, more prepped food products and more access all around for locally produced grown food.

There currently is not enough farmers market shoppers in my town to buy up the current farm production.

There are simply more food shoppers shopping some where else then from local farmers at the farmers market.

So perhaps the current group of local food folks have little to worry about, but that is my point here.

I feel that local food eaters and the movement enjoys the current size of the local food movement and I am one of them, I have to admit.

There is plenty of local food for us now, but not if our numbers grew.

Indeed local food access has grown. It is easier to eat more locally (in some areas). And without the work of local food advocates for years, the current folks like myself who enjoy access to local food would not be able to enjoy their local Thanksgiving.

But I do feel that the movement is vulnerable to stall because of an inclussive and hoarding mentality.

What I say, eventhough it may be shooting ourselves in the foot in the short run, is to tell a friend about local food. Get more folks to eat more locally.

This means dragging your friends to the farmers market until they become regulars, and then not complaining when it gets hard to get some of your local food items.

Be patient supply will grow to meet the increased demand and that is better for all of us.

Westside Farmers Market: Year in Review

Ann Arbor Food

Inchworm Bakery Peach Cobbler with cinnamon buttermilk biscuit topping (yummy)

It was another good year at the Westside Farmers Market. I know everyone talks up their market, but the Westside is the best.

This year the market had some great new additions.

Corridor Sausage Co
Featuring a variety of pork, chicken, beef and lamb sausages

Hand Sown Farm 
Offering a great variety of fresh veggies

I hope they are back next season.

Inchworm Microgreens and Bakery Recap:

Baked Good:

All Made with Organic Flour, Organic Butter, Organic sugar, Organic eggs, Organic spices and fresh local fruits and berries

Rhubarb Pie
Rhubarb Scones
Short cakes
Cinnamon Cakes
Blueberry Pie
Raspberry pie
Sweet and Sour Cherry Pie
(Finally bought a cherry pitter, was hand pitting for hours)
Peach Pie
Peach Cobbler
Slider Buns
Olive Oil Bread
Smoked Sea Salt Chocolate Cookies
Fresh Ginger Oatmeal Cookies

Veggies:
Sunflower Sprouts
Pea Shoots
Potatoes
(Yukon Gold, Kennebeck, Pontiac red, California White, Yellow Finn)
Oyster Mushroom Kits

I was hoping for a Winecap mushroom harvest and better potato yield.

Next Years Plan

Potatoes (5-10 varieties)
Oyster Mushroom and Mushroom Kits
Sprouts and tray grown baby greens
Fruit Pies
Cookies
And…. Savory pies (Meat and greens and cheese)

I have been hooked on these meat and greens and cheese filled pies that they sell at the Middle Eastern grocery near me. They are affordable and ready to eat for a quick lunch. And they keep in a frig for a few days.

I want to make and sell them next year for the Farmers Market

This will require the use of a commercial kitchen, which will take some work arrange, but I love the idea of offering meat filled pies like using Corridor sausages and making greens and cheese with the seasonal fresh greens like spinach, arugula, broccoli, kale, chard, collard, beet greens or what is in season.

See You Next Season!!!!

Toilet Paper Mushrooms: Blue Oyster

Ann Arbor FoodSome may note my minor obsession with growing mushrooms this year. My plan was to hit the ground running with my Wine Cap mushroom that I planted last Oct.

My wine caps have yet to pop up, but I am still hopeful for a fruiting this year in a few weeks. They can take up to 18 months to fruit, so if they do not come up soon it will look like I will have to wait over winter.

The next idea was to get some Shitake logs started, but it was/is next to impossible to find fresh cut oak logs. Believe me I tried.

Don’t be surprised if you hear a chain saw going in the middle of the night in your yard to see mushroom obsessed vandals in a desperate attempt to score a log or two.

So with my wine caps in wait-and-see mode and no go on logs, I set my sights on Oyster mushrooms.

Oysters can be grown on a variety of substrates including pasteurized wheat straw, coffee grounds, newspaper and I even seen I class teaching mushrooms growing on old phone books.

And then there are Toilet Paper mushrooms.

Ann Arbor Food

Toilet Paper mushrooms are by far the easiest ways to get started with growing mushrooms.

I purchase some spore from Chris of Easy Grow Mushrooms, and ordered some special Toilet Paper mushroom  growing bags that have a mess air vent on the top.Trader Joes had the best deal on Chlorine-free Toilet Paper.

Step by Step Instruction

The idea was to grown mushrooms for sale at my booth at The Westside Farmers Market.

They worked like a charm. I got mushroom on 3 weeks with most fruit around the same time.

Chris at Easy Grow said that Toilet Paper Oyster mushrooms tend to be on the same side because the small amount of substrate compared to a good size log, or several gallon bag of straw/coffee grounds.

He was right and I figured that I would not yield enough mushrooms off of my 18-20 rolls of toilet paper to have enough mushrooms for sale.

Each roll yields around 1-2 ounces of mushrooms per fruiting.

My mushrooms looked great and were ready to harvest, so on a lark I figured that I would bring a few to the market to show off.

Ann Arbor Food

The response was huge. People gravitated toward these alien looking things. The toilet paper after three weeks gets so morphed by the mushroom spore that it is hard to recognize. Form a distance, people thought it was a hunk of soft cheese.

They were amazed when I said it was toilet paper.

I ended up selling/trading them as mini-mushroom kits.

They make for a fun grow project for kids and would-be mushroom growing enthusiasts.

I will have more next week at the Westside Farmers Market.

Ann Arbor Bagels

Ann Arbor Food

I have been looking for a great bagel ever since I moved from New Jersey. It has been a kind of obsession for me, which peaked when I moved in Portland Oregon and I could not find a good bagel.

For a few years, I  wondered in a bagel dessert that was Portland until Kettlemans opened up. They bagels were good, and boiled they way they should.

During my wonderings, I attempted to make bagels at home. I am still working on recreating the bagels of my homeland.

Now living in Ann Arbor there are a few bagels to choose from.

There is Barry’s bagels. They are right near my house and next to the library, so they are my go to. I like their vanilla cinnamon. I am not a raisin fan but like cinnamon on a bagel.

I give Barry props for cinnamon vanilla.

No Ann Arbor Bagel conversation is complete without talking about Zingermans. People love their bagels and they have their own appeal as “traditional” style bagels, but for myself who grew up on the New Jersey (and NYC for that matter) super puffy bagels Zings are not my thing.

The best bagel in town, the one closest to my favorite, Hot Bagels of Fairfield, in Fairfield NJ is Elaine’s out of Detroit.

The are sold at Kerrytown, Produce Station and Morgan and York.

With that said, I am still working towards making bagels myself.

Here is my latest attempt.

I used the bagel recipe from Best Recipes. They were good, but I still think they need some work. I might add a little sour dough starter for a little kick and use sugar in the boiling water.

Best Recipes technique (and other sources) requires rolling out the bagel and placing them on a sprayed baking sheet covered with plastic for 13-18 hours in the frig to create a slow, flavor creating rise.

The problem is that my frig is only so big and if I wanted to make more than 6 bagels (one sheet pan) I would kind of be out of luck.

So I took the dough and put it in a plastic tub to rise over night then I rolled them out the next day to rise.

This solved for the space issue, but the dough was cold and hard to form and it would take hours to poof up again, but I went with it anyway.

I let the dough poof up at room temp for two hours and boiled and baked them. I think they could have benefited from a little more proofing. Maybe next time I will proof them in the oven with a pilot light on, or let them rise longer.

The idea here is to make bagels to offer for sale at the Westside Farmers Market and for special orders in town.

Ann Arbor Food

Rolled Bagel Dough

Ann Arbor Food

Proofing after 2 hours

Ann Arbor Food

boiling bagels 30 seconds

Ann Arbor Food

draining bagels

Ann Arbor Food

baked bagels

Inchworm Micrgreens and Pie

Today’s offerings at the Westside Farmers Market today from 3:00-7:00PM are:

Cinnamon Cake: A coffee cake with a cinnamon and sugar swirled inside

Rhubarb Pie: Local rhubarb, all butter crust

Both made with organic sugar, org flour, org eggs, rbgh free butter (tilimook)

Pea Shoots and Sunflower Shoots

Grown in organic soil

Sunflower seeds are organic pea are natural from Johnny Seeds

Cottage Food Law: The Nuts and Bolts

Inchworm Bakery started just a few days after the Cottage Food Bill was signed into law. Since then, I, fellow farmers market vendors, and others interested to starting a cottage food business have wondered what exactly are the rules. Below are the rules, and answers to most questions.

I learned for example that I could not make veggies samosas that I was planning to feature at the market this week. Nor could I put some parmesan cheese on my foccaccia bread. While there are some limits to what can be produced in a non-inspected kitchen, and the ways we can markets our goods, the Cottage Food Law does offer a good variety of possibilities.

Inchworm Bakery makes pies, cookies, and foccaccia bread. I noticed that the law allows nuts and coated nuts, and we might play around with them too.

Below is the text from a document from Michigan Dept of Ag. The two links are to the specific PDF documents.

Good Luck to fellow Cottage Food Operator. Please tell me about your business. I will be happy to post a profile on this blog.

http://michigan.gov/documents/mda/MDA-CFFAQ-MASTER_327558_7.pdf

http://michigan.gov/documents/mda/MDA_CFLblngGuide-MASTER_327559_7.pdf

Michigan Department of Agriculture
Frequently Asked Questions
Cottage Foods

The Cottage Food Law, enacted in 2010, allows individuals to manufacture and store certain types of foods in an unlicensed home kitchen.

What are Cottage Foods?

Specific types of foods that you manufacture in the kitchen of your single family domestic residence.

What does a single family domestic residence include?

This is the place where you live, whether you own the home or are renting. So an apartment, condominium or a rental home all could be a single family domestic residence. It does not include group or communal residential settings, such as group homes, sororities or fraternities.

What types of Cottage Foods can I produce in my home?

Non-potentially hazardous foods that do not require time and/or temperature control for safety.

Examples include:

Breads
Similar baked goods
Vinegar and flavored vinegars
Cakes, including celebration cakes (birthday, anniversary, wedding) a label with notification and ingredients will need to accompany the cake to the purchasers
Fruit pies, including pie crusts made with butter, lard or shortening
Cookies
Dry herbs and herb mixtures
Jams and jellies in glass jars that can be stored at room temperature
Popcorn
Cotton Candy
Non-potentially hazardous dry bulk mixes sold wholesale can be repackaged into a Cottage Food product. Similar items already packaged and labeled for retail sale can not be repackaged and/or relabeled
Chocolate covered: pretzels, marshmallows, graham crackers, rice krispy treats, strawberries, pineapple or bananas
Coated or uncoated nuts
Dried pasta made with eggs

What types of Cottage Foods are NOT ALLOWED to be produced in my home? Potentially hazardous foods that require time and/or temperature control for safety.

Examples include:

Meat and meat products like fresh and dried meats (jerky)
Fish and fish products like smoked fish
Raw seed sprouts
Canned fruits or vegetables like salsa or canned peaches including canned fruit or vegetable butters like pumpkin or apple butter
Canned pickled products like corn relish, pickles or sauerkraut
Pies that require refrigeration to assure safety like banana cream, pumpkin, lemon meringue or custard pies
Milk and dairy products like cheese or yogurt
Cut melons
Garlic in oil mixtures
Beverages
Ice and ice products
Cut tomatoes or cut leafy greens
Foccaccia style breads with fresh vegetables and/or cheeses
Food products made from fresh cut tomatoes, cut melons or cut leafy greens
Food products made with cooked vegetable products that are not canned
Barbeque Sauce, Ketchup, Mustard

Are pet treats included under the Cottage Food Law?

No- the Cottage Food Law applies to human grade food only. For more information about pet treat licensing, please visit http://www.michigan.gov/mda-feed.

How do I sell my Cottage Foods?

You may sell your Cottage Foods directly to the consumer at farmers’ markets, farm stands, roadside stands and similar venues. The key is you are selling it directly to the consumer. You cannot sell your Cottage Foods to a retailer for them to resell or to a restaurant for use or sale in the restaurant. You cannot sell your Cottage Foods over the internet, by mail order, or to wholesalers, brokers or other food distributors who will resell the Cottage Foods.

Why can’t I sell my Cottage Foods to my favorite restaurant or grocery store?

The Michigan Food Law Cottage Food amendments do not allow this. Because the kitchen is unlicensed and not inspected, the safe food handling practices are not evaluated by any food safety official. Since the safe food handling practices are not being evaluated, the food is not considered an approved source for use in a restaurant or grocery store. Also, it is not possible for the final consumer to discuss your food safety practices with you, as you would not be selling or serving the product to the consumer.

Do I have to put a label on my Cottage Foods?

Yes, you are required to label your Cottage Foods. Here is an example of a label that should help you develop your own labels.

MADE IN A HOME KITCHEN NOT INSPECTED BY THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Chocolate Chip Cookie
Artie Pinkster
123 Foodstuff Lane
Casserole City, MI 82682

Ingredients: Enriched flour (Wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine, mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid), butter (milk, salt), chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, butterfat (milk), Soy lecithin as an emulsifier), walnuts, sugar, eggs, salt, artificial vanilla extract, baking soda

Contains: wheat, eggs, milk, soy, walnuts

Net Wt. 3 oz

The basic information that must be on the label is as follows:

Name and address of the Cottage Food operation.
Name of the Cottage Food product.
The ingredients of the Cottage Food product, in descending order of predominance by weight. If you use a prepared item in your recipe, you must list the sub ingredients as well. For example: soy sauce is not acceptable, soy sauce (wheat, soybeans, salt) would be acceptable, please see the label above for further examples.
The net weight or net volume of the Cottage Food product.
Allergen labeling as specified in federal labeling requirements.

The following statement: “Made in a home kitchen that has not been inspected by the Michigan Department of Agriculture” in at least the equivalent of 11-point font and in a color that provides a clear contrast to the background.

What does allergen labeling as specified in federal labeling requirements mean?

It means you must identify if any of your ingredients are made from one of the following food groups: milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, soybeans, fish (including shellfish, crab, lobster or shrimp) and tree nuts (such as almonds, pecans or walnuts). So if you have an ingredient made with a wheat based product, you have two options:
1.
Include the allergen in the ingredient list. For example, a white bread with the following ingredient listing: whole wheat flour, water, salt and yeast. In this example the statement Whole Wheat Flour, meets the requirements of federal law.
2.
Include an allergen statement (“Contains:”) after the ingredient list. For example a white bread, with the following ingredients: whole wheat flour, water, sodium caseinate, salt and yeast. Contains wheat and milk.

The “Contains” statement must reflect all the allergens found in the product. In this example, the sodium caseinate comes from milk.
Are there any special requirements for tree nuts labeling for allergens? Yes, if your Cottage Food has tree nuts as an ingredient you must identify which tree nut you are using.

For example, if you made the following product:

Nut Bread, an acceptable ingredient list would be: wheat flour, water, almonds, salt, yeast. The following would not be acceptable: flour, water, nuts, salt, yeast.

Are there any other limits I need to know about Cottage Foods?

Yes, you are limited in the amount of money you can make selling Cottage Foods – which is $15,000 gross sales annually per household.

Can I make the Cottage Food products in an outbuilding on my property, like a shed or a barn?

No, the law requires the Cottage Food products be made in your kitchen and stored in your single family domestic residence. Approved storage areas include the basement and attached garage of the home where the food is made.

Will I need to meet my local zoning or other laws?

Yes, the Cottage Food exemption only exempts you from the requirements of licensing and routine inspection by the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

What oversight does the Michigan Department of Agriculture have over my Cottage Food operation?

Cottage Food operations are considered to be food establishments, but will not have to meet most requirements outlined in the Michigan Food Law. In all cases, food offered to the public in Michigan must be safe and unadulterated, regardless of where it is produced. As a Cottage Food Operator, it is your responsibility to assure the food you make is safe. In the event a complaint is filed or a foodborne illness is linked to your food, the Michigan Department of Agriculture will investigate your operations as part of our responsibility under the Michigan Food Law. As part of that investigation, it may be necessary for the Michigan Department of Agriculture to enter and inspect your Cottage Food production and storage areas, view and copy records, and take photos during the course of a complaint investigation. The Michigan Department of Agriculture also has the right to seize product suspected of being adulterated, order corrections of label violations, or require you to discontinue making unapproved products.

Where can I get a copy of the Michigan Food Law?

The sections of the Food Law where you can find the definitions, exemptions and requirements for Cottage

Food is:
Section Title
Short description
Section Number
Definitions
Definitions of terms
289.1105 (H,I, and K (i)(ii))
Licensing
Exemptions
289.4102

Are there any additional requirements regarding my home on-site well or sewage system?

No, although annually testing your well for coliforms and nitrates is recommended. Contact your local health department for sampling containers and directions.

Does my equipment, stove and/or refrigerator need to be NSF (a food equipment evaluation group) approved?

As a Cottage Food operator, you would not be required to meet NSF standards for your equipment used to manufacture the Cottage Food product.

Can I bake bread in a wood fired oven?

Yes, as long as that oven is in your home kitchen.

Do I need to have a DBA for the Cottage Food law?

A DBA (Doing Business As) may be a requirement of your county or local municipality; you should contact your county offices to determine if a DBA is appropriate for you.

When are Cottage Food products subject to sales tax?

The Cottage Food amendments are to the Michigan Food Law. The amendments do require that the Cottage Food Operators meet all other provisions of law regarding businesses, including tax law. MDA recommends that you contact the Michigan Department of Treasury for further information on what food products are considered taxable. Their website is available through this link, Contact Treasury.

In general, sales tax is not charged on prepackaged foods that are not for immediate consumption.

If you have additional questions, please contact MDA-Info@michigan.gov; please include your zip code in your request.

Cottage Food Bill: Instantly Turns a Profit

Ann Arbor Food

My Peach Pocket Pie, Picture from RealTimeFarms.com

Just a few days out from Jennifer Granholm signing the Cottage Food Operation Bill, Inchworm Bakery (That’s me) is happy to announce that we sold out of our local peach pocket pies at the Westside Farmers Market. Many were amazed that this bill became a law so quickly. There was a buzz with other farmers, and venders about food products they would like to make and offer at the market. I was the first one out of the gate, but more will soon follow, and thanks to this new law, a diverse and exciting range of Michigan Made food products will be available.

We plan to use as many Michigan ingredients as we can. All of our baked goods will use organic Michigan Flour.

Next weeks offerings will feature Michigan peaches, cherries, a chocolate pie, and local apricot pocket pies. And Emily will be featuring shortbread cookies.