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bdasko

Looking for Washington State Regs re: Baking

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Hey everyone

I've been looking and searching and googling and my eyes are about to bug out. I can NOT seem to find ANY information on county regulations in ANY counties in Washington State as far as baking for a farmer's market.

WA state website says you need a certified kitchen. A farmer's market rep from Spokane told me I'd need a commercial kitchen, though. But looking at the county website I can't seem to find ANY of that information! ANd none of the nearby counties either.

I don't currently reside in WA (I will be soon) and I was trying to find this info and I'm going nuts!

I was actually wondering if there was some sort of comprehensive website that talked about regulations for different states and what you need for them, etc. And especially county laws.

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Just call the health department for the county you're going to be selling in. Here in CA you must produce everything you give samples of or sell in a commercial/restaurant kitchen. The only kicker is that you don't have to have proof of it, it's pretty much the honor system, or at least it's that way in Orange County. My only advice is to talk to the health department directly and they will tell you exactly what you need to do.


Edited by ChristopherMichael (log)

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I agree that calling the health department is the way to go. But I can tell you that I live in Kitsap County, WA and here you can bake for the farmer's market without a commercial kitchen if and only if you aren't selling anything that's potentially hazardous. So if there's any sort of custard, cream cheese, or eggy component to your baking, pastry cream, that kind of stuff, you need a commercial kitchen.

However, you can get what they call here a "bake sale permit" if it's just bread and cookies, dry stuff. But the market itself might require that food be prepared in a commercial kitchen. Our little market does, for example.

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welll it'll be in Spokane county although possible Stevens county. I'm moving to WA in a week so I guess I'll have to phone around.

I do use cream cheese in the frosting so chances are I'll have to find myself a commercial kitchen. Churches, fire houses, restaurants, etc. will rent their kitchens, correct? There's one incubator in the Spokane area but I think they are all full.

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Lots of places will rent their kitchens but they're not necessarily certified. This is the case with most church kitchens. When you call the county health folks they'll tell you exactly which kitchens are certified and available for rent. I find that they're very helpful about that stuff, because they want you to follow the rules.

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Lots of places will rent their kitchens but they're not necessarily certified.  This is the case with most church kitchens.  When you call the county health folks they'll tell you exactly which kitchens are certified and available for rent.  I find that they're very helpful about that stuff, because they want you to follow the rules.

Ahhh gotcha. I've never had to do this before and so that makes a lot of sense.

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In addition to contacting the county, etc., get in touch with the specific markets you're interested in and find out their rules and regs. In NY State, each market has its own operating rules. Some are very strict about where the items are produced (i.e., only on a farm with a certified kitchen), some not so strict. The State's regs are pretty relaxed as long as potentially hazardous foods are not sold, similar to Abra's comments. A friend of mine who is a farmer uses my commercial oven to bake bread for sale at a farmer's market, but he is required to label the bread as being made in my store for him. It can be confusing, but persevere ... and good luck!


Ilene

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i'd ask one of the bakers that already sell there...for real-world info. what you can get away with. not that anyone out there would do that sort of thing.

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I agree with the previous posts. Each farmer's market has their own set of regulations, some allow 'crafting' in addition to farmers, some allow vendors that don't make their own products, some don't require official documents. The market that we have participated in requires a valid food handler's permit, commerical insurance policy, department of agriculture business permit which requires a certified or commercial kitchen and a copy of your business license. Here in King County it is pretty hard to find kitchen space, most of them are rather expensive. Most church kitchens don't want to rent their space, they feel that it might jeopardize their 501c3 (non-profit) status, which actually is not the case since you would not be "a material source of income". One of the other issues is that the Dept of Agriculture want you to have all of your tools (pots, pans, etc) to stay wherever it is that they inspect you, so you have to have space to store stuff, and be sure it is safe there, loss can be an issue. There are also different regulations for wholesale versus retail sales, reporting sales and taxes. There is also a group called the Washington Specialty Foods Association, website www.waspecialtyfoods.org, 1-800-444-WSFA. It is a non-profit association organized to provide its members with the benefits of networking, marketing, access to suppliers, and act as an intermediary betw government agencies and members and developing new market opportunities. Spokane and Stevens counties are region 1, and the last directory I have says the Executive Director is Toby Wolf in Spokane. Good luck. You'll find that there are two groups of folks out there, one is happy to help you, give you the names of suppliers, etc, and the other that won't help. It was tough for me to get started, I met a fair number of people in the second group, but some in the first. Keep trying, and keep asking questions in this forum, we will all help if we can. Good luck and welcome to a wonderful part of the world. :biggrin:

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wow, you guys have been a huge help - I really really appreciate it! I'm almost on my way -0 flying out on Thursday but I think we have to figure out where it is we end up LIVING in the Eastern WA are because it could be Spokane but it also could be Colville. Then I'll scout around at farmer's markets and see what's available in any case - if they already have enough bakers obviously I won't even try but I'd like to check it out for sure.

Thanks again everyone!

Bethany

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