First it was a Silver Lake flower garden that got busted for urban gardening. Then, the Los Feliz backyard baker, Mark Stambler, who last May scored a profile in the LA Times and a visit from the health department the very same day. Small-scale growers and do-it-yourself food businesses have been wrapped in a lot of red tape. On today’s Which Way, LA?, we take a look at the newly passed California Homemade Food Act, which Stambler helped write. The law will allow some small-time entrepreneurs like him to finally cook products in their home kitchen and sell to stores, restaurants and directly to customers without the threat of being busted. (And without having to rent expensive commercial kitchens.)
But when it’s finally implemented, the law won’t legalize some other food vendors. We asked listeners on our Facebook page, what DIY food products can’t you get enough of, whether it’s a farmers market almond butter or locally preserved pickles? We got a lot of responses that point up just how tricky selling homemade food can be: most of the comments were focused on products that are actually still verboten to sell. That bacon-wrapped late-night dog? The tamale from the side of the road, smothered in chile sauce from a scuffed-up Tupperware? Your mom’s recipe for creamy toffee?
Amy Owens Brennan writes, “I’ve never sold my ice cream, but I have used it for fundraising w/friends. Looks like it will still be ‘banned’ as it includes cream.” She’s right.
But some looked on the bright side. Farmer Dave’s Hot Nuts is a good example of a business that could get a boost, as someone blogging as Maximiliano mentioned. Nuts, popcorn, candy without dairy, that’s all good. And Susan Truong commented that the law was much needed and would have helped her parents’ small business. “They had to struggle with so much red tape and competition from larger companies. This bill is going to help so many people achieve the American dream,” she wrote. They made Vietnamese meat balls called Nem Nuong.
Actually, sorry, no meat Susan. At least not from a home kitchen. Join the conversation on our Facebook page and stayed tune for more on the new law from Good Food this Saturday.