Fall = Football

Autumn: the season of cool breezes, Halloween fun, pumpkin spice, and


There is one season that we at Honeybear Baking love more than all the others: Football Season. Nothing beats the excuse to wear a sweatshirt and scream at the top of your lungs... in public. There is an excitement that comes with watching the pros (Go Bears!), and a deep sense of pride for your college team (here's to you my WKU Hilltoppers!), but nothing compares to watching the love of the game grow in little ones.

The Slicers on their home turf.

Tough guys, sweet cookies.

Recently, we traveled to La Porte, Indiana to watch the La Porte Slicers  Mighty Mites Pop Warner football team take on the Chesterton Trojans. It was hot for the beginning of autumn, but those kids played tough! The Slicers lit up the scoreboard early on and never looked back. The team showed maturity as they took direction from their team of coaches and executed plays. After the game, no one could deny they earned a treat. Each player got an orange and black jersey cookie with his number on it. 

So much love for our Slicers!

Honeybear Baking has been thrilled to be a part of the start of the fall sports seasons! There is nothing more rewarding than sharing our decorated sugar cookies with your team as they celebrate!

Whether your in the middle of the action or watching from the stands or your couch, consider  placing and order with Honeybear Baking for your next sporting event!

What is a Cottage Food Operation?

Traditionally, state laws have dictated that food sold to the public had to be prepared in a commercial kitchen. This requirement turns out to be a fairly significant hurdle for the small, food business start up. It means either you have to buy or rent a commercial kitchen space. That just doesn't sound attainable fresh out of the gate. Some commercial kitchens allow clients to rent by the hour, which definitely provides more flexibility, but can still be costly. (We've seen quotes for commercial kitchens in the Chicagoland area ranging from $25-$35 an hour.) Ultimately, it begs the question: how in the world can anyone afford to start a baking business?!?

Cottage Food Laws to the Rescue!

A majority of states have now enacted legislation allowing the home production of some foods to be sold to the public through controlled and limited channels. They key thing to remember here is that every state has different cottage food laws -- if this is something you may be interested in pursuing, we urge you to consult not only your state's laws, but also your county and local ordinances.

Cottage Food Law in Illinois

For example, here in Illinois, since 2012, cottage food operations are allowed to sell baked goods, jams, jelly, preserves, fruit butters, dry herbs, and dry herb blends. The public act then goes on to list exceptions to that list. The whole idea is to limit the truly homemade foods available to the public only to those that are least likely to cause any concern of a food borne illness. That makes sense -- the road to the bathroom is paved with good intentions.

The law also limits the amount of money in sales a cottage food operation can bring in during a calendar year ($25,000 in "gross receipts"). Further, the law provides that the foods produced in a home kitchen may only be sold at farmers markets, and the foods must be labeled ingredients and production information.  For all of the requirements and a *truly thrilling read* (note sarcasm), check out the public act itself here.

There is also a lengthy registration process required to begin operating under the Cottage Food Law in Illinois. A home chef/baker must take a managerial sanitation course and pass the accompanying exam. Then, the sanitation certificate must be registered with the state, then with the county. Many farmers markets also require you establish home baking business as a corporation or LLC and also obtain general liability insurance (for insurance, FLIP, is an economical and comprehensive choice). 

It should also be noted that the state legislature put much of the power in the hands of the county governments. The county can decide whether or not it intends to allow cottage food operations within its boundaries. It is an all-or-nothing deal. 

So what is the Illinois Home Kitchen Law?

The Home Kitchen Law functions similarly to the Cottage Food Law. The most substantial difference is that under the Home Kitchen law, the home chef/baker may sell his or her products out of the home -- no farmers market required! The Home Kitchen Law also has a cap on gross receipts ($1,000 a month). The good news is that if you operate in a county which recognizes both the Cottage Food Law and the Home Kitchen Law, you are able to combine those sales caps. Similar to the Cottage Food Operation, not every Illinois county has opted to participate. Check out the legislation itself here.

Honeybear Baking as A Cottage Food Operation and Beyond!

Honeybear Baking, LLC has its roots as a Cottage Food Operation. We are located in DuPage County, which has adopted the Cottage Food Law, but not the Home Kitchen Law. Subsequently, anything produced in our home kitchen may only be sold at farmers markets. (Spoiler Alert! Honeybear Baking now also works in a commercial kitchen so that we can provide custom orders to our clients outside of the farmer's market setting.)

Icing colors ready for decoration in Honeybear Baking's home kitchen.

Icing colors ready for decoration in Honeybear Baking's home kitchen.

What is our home kitchen like? We treat our home kitchen as the heart of our business. The kitchen is maintained to the high standards associated with commercial kitchens. We utilize our sanitation training and emphasize putting out quality work that we can be proud of no matter where it has been baked.

If you have any questions or comments about Cottage Food Operations, Home Kitchen Operations, or how Honeybear Baking functions within the law, we would love to hear from you! Please leave us a comment below!