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University of Illinois Extension

The Business Side

  • Develop a business plan and a marketing plan
  • Think about your booth design: display of sale items
  • Cost analysis; are you making a profit?
  • Transporting your items to/from the farmers market
  • Will you provide samples?
  • Time management

Cottage Food Operator Checklist

  • Registered with your local county health department (LHD) where you reside (can show proof of address; NOT post office box)
  • Selling only products allowed by Cottage Food Act and listed on your LHD registration
  • Cottage food placard prepared for prominent display at point of sale that states: "This product was produced in a home kitchen not subject to public health inspection that may also process common food allergens."
  • Owner, employee, or family member scheduled to be present at the farmers market at all times during sales
  • Person preparing and selling product has a valid Food Service Sanitation Manager's Certificate (FSSMC); carry a copy during sales
  • Samples are either prepared in the kitchen of the cottage food operation, or prepared on the spot at the farmers market, but only if you have a Farmers Market Food Sampling Certificate in hand
  • All items for sale must be packaged with proper label on each (see label checklist)