This is some great news! Oh gosh it sure does feel good to hear about things working out and promoting local and the small guys...
story from www.orlandosentinel.com
For J.R. Denman, making honey over the past three years hasn't been that sweet a deal. Denman, who works in technology, spends about $1,500 a year on the protective suits, new hives, lids and bottles that make up his sideline.
The moonlighting gig takes place largely in his Kissimmee back yard and kitchen.
"Beekeeping is a money-losing proposition," Denman said. "I can bottle all the honey I want, but I can't sell it."
That's about to change. Florida's Department of Agriculture announced Monday that it's adding honey to its list of "cottage foods." Small-scale beekeepers — those who have no more than $15,000 a year in sales — can now bottle and sell honey without getting permits and preparing it in a Department of Agriculture-inspected kitchen.
Making, selling and storing "cottage foods" in unlicensed home kitchens was approved earlier this year by state legislators. The list of products includes rolls, biscuits, fruit pies and trail mix.
The action will help backyard beekeepers whose costly hobbies haven't been sustainable. Denman, for instance, said the new rule would let him make about $3,000 annually. It also could help consumers who want to buy local foods and are "a little bit more aware of organic food production," said Jerry Hayes, chief of the apiary section for the Department of Agriculture. A pound of honey sold out of somebody's house goes for about $5.
The interest in honeybees has risen at the same time that they are mysteriously disappearing in large numbers because of what's being called "colony collapse disorder." Hayes said that in the past five years, the number of beekeepers in the state has tripled.
He explained that honey was added to the list of cottage foods because it doesn't support the growth of bacteria and fungus: "They've found honey in the tombs of Egypt."... READ MORE