River House Bake Shop starts up cottage food industry
by Lynnette Hoffman
When you think of Farmers Markets, you don't realize what one has to go through to sell there. Carol and Steve Berch of River House Bake Shop in Toledo showed what it takes to go through the cottage food industry, which many markets now require.
Carol and Steve are part of the cottage food industry. Carol was licensed three weeks ago and she has been on the go ever since. The cottage food industry is a licensing process through Washington State Department of Agriculture. They have certain standards one must meet and apply in their daily food preparation and storage. For example, cleanliness, labeling, storage of all food items. Family and bake shop food must be stored separately. The cottage food industry is one step down from a commercial kitchen. This is quite the process to go through but she is now up and running and willing to help those who need her baking skills.
Carol is currently busy attending the local farmers markets in Winlock, Toledo and Chehalis. At the markets, Carol's baked goods are all certified by the cottage food industry. Carol stated, "I have seen a lot of success at the farmers markets, selling out at each event and adding new items as I go." The Berch's are retired, but Carol has been working long hours to get her business off the ground.
Carol stated, "I have been actively baking for years and we decided to try the cottage food industry. I get to meet a lot of nice people, it's get me out in the community. I love it when someone buys 3 cookies and they end up buying a whole box."
Her experiences at the market are just as fun. "The cutest thing was when a 3-year-old took a fresh blueberry muffin, opened it up and smashed it in her face. Her smile and laugh is why I bake," continued Berch.
Besides the farmers market, Carol will continue to do her baking. She can bake cookies by the dozen, bake a wonderful Chocolate Stout cake or any other baked goods you would like. Carol has a great personality, you will find working with her to be a fun experience. She will work with special diets, such as gluten free.
Next time you are in need of some goodies, give the River House Bake Shop in Toledo a call. You will be impressed with her baking talent.