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I had an idea the other day after our local bee club meeting. Would it be possible to build a small honey kitchen and get it certified. Then charge local people to come and bottle there own honey at the kitchen. Would an idea like this be possible? I'm talking about a small kitchen to atleast start with. All the new beeks are worried about extracting there honey. What sort of problems should I consider before doing something like this? I'm sure liability insurance, but what else.
 

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Would this be owned out right by you, a local bee club, a cooperative?

Our bee club has two extractors that members can use, one is a small two frame extractor and the other is a very large set up on casters that will roll up into the back of a pick-up. You take it home, use it, clean it and return it back.

If owned outright by yourself I would incorporate to seperate it from yourself if you were to be sued. Even if you set it up on your property lease the honey house back to the CCK.

What percentage of the honey would I get to keep if I weighed in all of my supers and they weighed 1,000 pounds? You will get some that think they need 1,000 pounds of honey to take home.

Who cleans up the mess at the end of the day after several producers have come and gone?

Do the producers actually run your equipment?

Who pays for something when it breaks in half?

How are you charging, by the pound extracted or equipment rental by the hour?

Any idea can work, it just takes the right blend of people. Sounds like a really good idea.

G3
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was thinking about it being owned out right by me on my property. Inc. would be a good idea. I'm sure I would have to be there when the honey was being extracted and if something broke I would have to fix it. I'm not sure how I would charge, maybe by the pound or by the bottle depending on how much you had. I'm thinking it would be scaled more towards hobbist. I have not even thought about 1000lbs. It would also depend on if I was going to do it all for you or if I was just going to supervise and help you do it yourself. See I knew you'll would bring up some stuff I had not considered. I'm just kind of brainstorming right now. Here in Fl. you have to process honey in an inspected kitchen to be able to sell it. I already have a 24x30 building that could be converted.
 

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to be a licensed commercial kitchen, there are regulations established by local govt that it must meet.

If you plan to own such a kitchen and let others use it, it could be rented out like many other facilities. Now, what you charge as rent is up to you. It doesn't even necessarily have to be money.

liability coverage might be a good idea.

The coop idea is a good one also. folks wishing to use said utilities could pay to a pool to keep expenses.

Big Bear
 

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You have to remember when you do things like this is a lot of people will not respect equipment that they are renting. I know that most people do, but you need a plan for what happens when people don't clean up properly, or something breaks because it wasn't being treated properly. If you plan on being on the premisies at all times this probably isn't an issue.

ANother thing to look into is the laws for selling in your state. I think I remember reading here that some states require all people in the kitchen to have some kind of certification if you are selling the honey. I have no clue about these things, just relaying what I read.

Would you be willing to extract for people? You might get some buisness that way too.
 

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That is something else to think about, you said the new beeks are wanting this, do they know how to use your equipment? If not who is going to train them, some people have no common sense you know!

G3
 

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I'm confused. Get the honey kitchen certified for what? Why would people pay to bottle the honey? That's the easy part - a 5 gallon bucket with a honey gate is all you need.

I know one guy who does custom extraction for people. He charges $5 a super and he gets to keep the cappings wax.

I know another guy who weighs the supers coming in the door, and weighs them again going out. You pay so many cents a pound for him to extract your honey. He also gets to keep the cappings wax.

I think my local bee club has a small extractor they will rent hobbyists for like $5 a day.
 

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I'm confused. Get the honey kitchen certified for what? Why would people pay to bottle the honey?
Many, perhaps most, states have health regulations. If you want to sell honey in any kind of retail outlet, the "processing" must occur in a certified commercial kitchen.

johng said:
Would it be possible to build a small honey kitchen and get it certified.
Consider another possibility: an already-certified church kitchen. I know a church in Indy that allows a beekeeping group to use their kitchen for "extraction parties". Everyone helps each other, cleans up afterwards, and leaves a donation for the church. Very nice arrangement.
 

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it is true here in FL you have to bottle in an "approved facility". You can do a commisary agreement with an approved kitchen to bottle your honey... so if YOU have the approved kitchen others could bottle in YOUR kitchen. Two problems I can think of..

1. Under the commissary agreement EACH bottler/seller still has to have their food safety card (class plus a fee $195 I think) they cannot bottle under your card then sell their honey as their own product/brand.
2. Extraction of honey and bottling of honey are two different animals. There is NO inspection for EXTRACTION facilities in FL, nor do you have to be inspected if you are selling BULK honey wholesale to a packer/bottler . FURTHER extraction and bottling facilities must be SEPERATED. They can be in the same building but must be properly separated with the BOTTLING facility being inspected and approved by the state (Department of Agriculture Food Safety Division).

I have two friends who have just gone through this process with the wonderful State of Florida Dept of AG. Trust me when I tell you its sounds easy but the headaches you are going to encounter will drive you crazy. The Food Safety inspectors for the most part dont know the honey business, nor do they understand the process of honey from hive to bottle. Good luck.
 

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INDY replied while I was typing he is correct, a church, school, or similar entity approved kitchen would work under the commisary agreement I mentioned, that is how one of my friends is bottling his now (church/private school kitchen) but he still had to get his food safety class and card in order to bottle in THEIR kitchen to sell HIS product. My other friend is renting a closed restaurant kitchen and got it back up to spec and inspected, again he had to get his FS card. Expect to spend a lot of money on the "equipment required" to meet their approval, then of course are the quarterly water tests (if not on city water), yearly honey samples needed for analysis, etc, etc, etc.
 

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John - I have done some extensive looking into this one. Here is the "*******" synopsis.

The dept of Ag said you have to have xxx criteria to have a commercial kitchen license. The requirements were "more" than a normal "home" would have, but, not un-do-able.

Duval County went one step farther - not on residential property.

The gist - - - Let's say you own 5,000 acres. You have your house at the front. 3,000 acres away, you build a "perfect" commercial kitchen to Dept of Ag specs.

Guess what? You can't use it. IT'S ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY. Yep - that's how they get us. If it's a residential property, it can't be certified in Duval County.

So - no honey houses on a homestead for us. We HAVE to use a commercial kitchen. Since I"m trying to get my jelly/jam/preserve business of the ground, I've run into this snafu. Basically, if you know a restaurant owner, you should talk to them. They have the same rules. Perhaps you could work somethign out with them? I'm going to talk to one tomorrow - I'll let you know what I find out.

Diane
 

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If you had a farm it would not be zoned residential but would be zoned agricultural. I could not imagine paying property tax on 5,000 acres that is zoned residential.

Here in TN you must have 15 plus acres to be zoned as agricultural, and show a profit of $1,500 per year.

You could always cut out a small lot and rezone it to commercial or non profit some how.
 

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G3, I like the TN law and designations however BZ is correct here in the wonderful state of FL. Here in FL we have properly designated residential and agricultural zoning..however if you reside on the property for the purposes we are discussing the state can and usually does consider it residential property. In fact a portion of the property can be designated as "residential" (where the house is) while the remainder is agricultural... as screwed up as it sounds....its true. There are people I know on multiple acres that are "grandfathered" in on their property and businesses that dont get messed with at all bottling in a shed with minimal equipment...while new beeks coming in are at the mercy of the Dept of Ag requirements and meeting very strict requirements. I hope the new legislation sitting in the house now changes that over the next year or so...will certainly make things more fair and even across the board.
 
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