Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Start watching
SoCal Update

SoCal Update

Start watching
a large damn with graffiti of a woman with a hammer on it, mountains in the background

Earth Focus Presents

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Professor T

Professor T (Belgium)

Start watching
Artbound

Artbound

Start watching
Emma

Emma

Start watching
Guilt

Guilt

Start watching
Line of Separation Key Art.

Line of Separation

Start watching
Us

Us

Start watching
The Latino Experience

The Latino Experience

Start watching
Key Art of "Summer of Rockets" featuring Keeley Hawes and Toby Stephens.

Summer of Rockets

Start watching
Death in Paradise Series 10

Death in Paradise

Start watching
millionaire still

KCET Must See Movies

Start watching
Independent Lens

Independent Lens

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Baking Bad: California's Cottage Food Law Turns Former 'Criminals' Into Small Business Owners

Support Provided By
Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilconway/">Neil Conway</a>/Flickr/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">Creative Commons</a>
Photo by Neil Conway/Flickr/Creative Commons

Back in June 2011, the Los Angeles Times ran a profile on local baker Mark Stambler and his fledgling artisan bread business, Pagnol Boulanger, whose crusty loaves regularly took home first-place honors at the Los Angeles County Fair and California State Fair. Trouble was, they were baked right from Stambler's Los Feliz home, a violation of county health code that food-based businesses operate out of a commercial kitchen.

The next day, a health inspector showed up on his doorstep to ensure that "no bread baking was taking place." Pagnol Boulanger was forced to suspend operations, and Stambler became an activist for California's cottage food industry.

Together with Silver Lake Assemblyman Mike Gatto, the two drafted a new bill called the California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616), which would allow the sale of certain homemade food products without the expense and red tape of opening a full-fledged commercial food business. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law in September 2012, and just a few days after the law took effect in January 2013, Stambler became the first person in Los Angeles County to legally sell homemade food. Many other previously under-the-table bakers, jammers, and food artisans followed.

One year later, how has the California Homemade Food Act fared?

Statewide, over 1,200 home-based food businesses have been approved. Almost 270 of those businesses are registered in L.A. County. These businesses offer all manner of homemade goods deemed "non-potentially hazardous," including baked goods without cream or custard fillings, candy and chocolate, nuts and granola, jams and jellies, honey, vinegars, dried pasta, dried fruit, and roasted coffee and dried tea — basically, items that do not require refrigeration. The law does not extend to meat and dairy.

AB 1616 allows homemade food purveyors to make and sell their goods in private kitchens, provided they pass a safe food handling course, properly label their goods, and obtain a business license. This dramatically decreases the costs of opening a small business for someone working from home, but the law also caps the amount of revenue such a business can make under its provisions: $45,000 in annual gross sales in 2014, with an expected increase in 2015 to $50,000. (Last year, the cap was set at $35,000.) Sales over the cap will require the lease of a commercial kitchen and additional permitting and training.

Compared with Louisiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, whose cottage food laws cap entrepreneurs at $5,000 per year (that's less than $100 per week), California's cap seems reasonable. But compare that with the 20 states that have no set limits at all (from Arizona to New York, Montana to Alabama — almost half of all states with cottage food laws on the books), and that leads many food makers to push for a scrap on California's cap entirely.

In an uncertain economy, the launch of a thousand local businesses is nothing to sneeze at. Let's hope California continues to liberalize AB 1616 and pave the way for local food and small business.

For more information on how to register a home-based food business, check the LA County Public Health site.

Support Provided By
Read More
A large cliff has a distinct rock formation that look like pillars, which create little crevices for people to go into and explore.

9 Epic Volcanic Attractions and Hot Springs to Visit in California

If you enjoy living on the edge, and one of your greatest wishes is to see a volcanic event in action before your very eyes, you don't have to travel as far as Hawaii or Indonesia. California has an entire volcanic field that's ripe for exploring, east of the Sierra Nevada. Here are nine spots to explore.
Photographic portrait of Mrs. Arcadia de Baker; previously Mrs. Abel Stearns, Arcadia Bandini, ca.1885. She can be seen from the waist up turned slightly to the left in an oval cutout. Her long dark hair is parted up the middle and pulled back to her neck. She is wearing a frilly shawl over a frilly dress with a low neckline.

The Powerful Mexican Woman Who Helped Shape Early Santa Monica

Arcadia Bandini Stearns de Baker was rich, beautiful and connected. This savvy businesswoman would be an important player in early California and helped shape Santa Monica and the west side of Los Angeles.
TunaClub.JPG

Seven Best Places to Visit in and Around Avalon on Catalina Island

Just 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, Catalina continues to draw visitors with its miles of uninterrupted shoreline, abundant marine life, water sports and dazzling nightlife — much of which can still be enjoyed today in much the same way it was a century ago (with some high-tech improvements).