Maryland’s Cottage Food Business Law: Make and Sell Food from a Home Kitchen

March 20th, 2017

As the Small Business Librarian at the Cecil County Public Library, I am frequently asked about making food at home and selling it. According to the Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center, in 2012 Maryland established a Cottage Food Business Law. This law allows Maryland citizens to operate a home-based food business that does not exceed $25,000 in sales and is operated in a residential kitchen. Under this law, the business does not need a license for operation from the Health Department. The law defines “cottage food products” as a nonhazardous food sold at farmer’s markets or public events. Interested entrepreneurs do need to be aware that according to the law, there are certain requirements for the food label such as, (1) the name and address of the business; (2) the name, ingredients, and net weight or net volume of the product; (3) allergen information specified by federal labeling requirements; (4) if any nutritional claim is made, nutritional information as specified by federal labeling requirements; and (5) a printed statement that the product is made by a cottage food business that is not subject to Maryland’s food safety regulations. If you have questions about this, the Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center is a great resource.

If you are thinking about operating a small business in your residential kitchen, consider contacting the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Office in Cecil County at 410-996-5280. The Cooperative Extension Office in Maryland provides information and workshops on selling and processing food.

For general information on starting a small business of any kind, be sure to visit the Cecil County Public Library’s Small Business Information Center (SBIC). The SBIC provides free information and assistance to local Cecil County entrepreneurs. I’ll meet with you in person and discuss how to formalize your business, write a business plan, research demographic and competitor information, and refer you to local organizations in the county that might help your business succeed.
Also, be sure to visit www.cecil.ebranch.info/small-business and discover our business databases. Our Business Plans Database provides sample professional business plans covering all industries, including cottage food businesses. Books available on this topic include: “Running a Side Business: How to Create a Second Income” by Richard Stim, “Homemade for Sale: How to Set Up and Market a Food Business from Your Home Kitchen” by Lisa Kivirist, and “Start Your Own Specialty Food Business: Your Step-
By-Step Startup Guide to Success” by Cheryl Kimball.

If you are considering small business ownership, you may be interested in attending the upcoming “Small Business Accounting Workshop” at the Elkton Library on March 20 at 6:30pm. This free program will teach participants how to anticipate and plan for taxes, how to save time and money during the start-up phase, choosing the proper type of business entity, and small business accounting tips. To register for this program, or to make an appointment to discuss your business ideas, call 410-996-5600 ext. 481 or email sbic@ccplnet.org.


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Never Forget What You Read Again

March 6th, 2017

 

Sometimes patrons ask if we can look up books they have borrowed and returned, to remind themselves if they’ve already read the book. While we don’t keep a record of items once a patron returns them, there are a number of ways to keep track on your own. Using your library card number and PIN, you can log into your account through the CCPL website, www.cecil.ebranch.info and click on the “My Lists” feature on the top right of your screen. You can keep one running list or name as many lists as you’d like.
If you’d like a more interactive but still easy tracking method, consider Goodreads.com. If you are even a little familiar with social networking sites like Facebook, Goodreads is a breeze. If you need assistance, signing up for a 30-minute one-on-one tech session with a librarian can help you get set-up.

GoodReads lets you create “bookshelves.” Virtual organization has never been more customizable. You can organize the books you’ve read by genre, author, books you loved or totally hated, etc. You can track books you have read and books you want to read. You can also browse previous year’s Goodreads Awards winners and nominees. Categories include best graphic novel, best children’s book, best memoir, and more.

For smartphone/tablet users, there is a free Goodreads app which allows you to scan books instantly. This is a great feature if you come across something you want to remember at the airport, Barnes and Noble, or your public library. Scan the UPC barcode on the book jacket, see the average rating, the synopsis, and save it to your “to read” bookshelf. NEVER again will you say “what was that book I had in my hand yesterday?” or “Am I on book 13 or 15 of that John Sandford series?”

If smartphone apps are not for you (but you’re comfortable on a PC) use CCPL’s SelectReads service which allows you to subscribe to customized recommendations email newsletters. http://www.cecil.ebranch.info/great-reads/discover-your-next-great-read/

If you are old-school and just want great recommendations, Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests is a highly recommended reference book. Found at most branches in Cecil County, this book by Cynthia Orr and Diana Herald is a superb browsing guide to understanding why certain people are attracted to certain genres and what they should try next! Be your own expert!
It’s also worth noting these websites which thoroughly cover popular genres. For mystery award winners, try http://www.stopyourekillingme.com. For buzz-worthy science fiction reviews, try http://www.sff180.com/. For Romance books, one of the best is http://allaboutromance.com.

Still have questions? We’re here to help you find your next great read. Visit our www.cecil.ebranch.info, message us through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cecilcountypubliclibrary send an email to ask@ccplnet.org or call (410) 996-5600.


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