We've had an incredible year this year with a record harvest (for us at least) and have intentions (and now means) to double the operation next year. I've realized this year that in our small community, that 500+ lbs of honey is challenging to retail through a small farmers market and that we may really have trouble moving twice that volume...should we get there. Nebraska's Pure Food Act mimics most cottage laws and, simply put, says that we don't have to 'process' in a commercial kitchen as long as WE directly retail to the consumer. The advantage, as you can imagine, is no inspection/no license/no fees. The disadvantage is: no advertising and no commercial sales (such as those in a grocery store, etc.). The question that I have yet to ask the USDA Health Inspector (Food Cop as the kids call her) is this: what part of the extraction/straining/settling/bottling process is the 'commercial process'? If it's the bottling: GREAT, our home kitchen should meet the requirements; if it's the extraction and bottling process: $*&!, I refuse to extract in our dining room. I've considered renting a commercial kitchen and having it inspected, but the same dilemma applies: how to mitigate the sticky mess and how to handle the 100 or so rogue bees that refuse to leave the super. I haven't asked the War Department, but I know what she'd say. Any insight from those that have overcome this hurdle? I'd be particularly interested in hearing from folks in Nebraska, as it would be a common food law, but am interested in all experiences.
Thanks in advance!