The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), a Division of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, is pleased to announce a new funding initiative to increase the opportunity for Southern Maryland farmers to expand their inventory of Cottage Food products.

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) provides an extensive list of ‘allowable’ non-potentially hazardous/non-perishable Cottage Food products that can be made and sold by a Cottage Food business. However, some popular recipes that producers would like to offer their customers such as moist quick bread (banana, pumpkin, zucchini, etc.), and some cake frostings, icings, and glazes are not on the ‘allowable’ list as they may be considered potentially hazardous.

“The good news is that Maryland Department of Health Cottage Food Guidelines now provide the opportunity for foods in the moist bread and icing categories to be tested if a cottage food producer believes their recipe should be considered non-potentially hazardous,” explained Susan McQuilkin, SMADC Marketing Executive. “Recipes verified as shelf-stable can then be sold directly to consumers at farmers markets, from a home kitchen, and at public events.”

In recognition that recipe testing is an additional cost burden for many small farm enterprises, SMADC is now offering Cottage Food testing reimbursements of up to $250 for Certified Laboratory tests for one recipe to be evaluated for up to 10 Southern Maryland Cottage Foods farm vendors/producers. Testing evaluation is to assure submitted moist bread and icing recipes are non-potentially hazardous when stored and sold under normal conditions (without refrigeration) and will not support the growth of microorganisms that can cause foodborne illness.

To apply for SMADC Cottage Food recipe test reimbursement funding, please complete the application form on the ‘News’ page at  Funding is limited to 10 Southern Maryland producers on a first come first served basis, upon submission of supporting Certified Laboratory test results and associated invoice/s. For more information on Maryland Cottage Food Business Guidelines including testing requirements, and other Cottage Food resources visit the MDH Office of Food Protection website.   

View the SMADC Testing Reimbursement Application Form HERE

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