ATLANTA, Ga. -- Gary W. Black, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, answers consumer questions. They are as follows:
Q: I want to go into business baking and selling specialty cupcakes in my home. Can you help me?
A: We can make sure you are properly licensed and informed about state food safety regulations. You also need to check with your city and county about any local ordinances that may apply.
Please visit the Georgia Department of Agriculture's website or call us at 404-656-3627 to get information and to learn about getting a Cottage Food License. It allows licensees to produce non-potentially hazardous foods in their home kitchens for sale to the end consumer. Among the foods covered under this license are: loaf breads, rolls and biscuits; cakes; pastries and cookies; candies and confections; fruit pies; jams, jellies and preserves; dried fruits; dry herbs, seasonings and mixtures; cereals, trail mixes and granola; coated or uncoated nuts; vinegar and flavored vinegars; cotton candy and popcorn and popcorn balls.
On our website you can find a brochure on starting a cottage food business, food safety regulations, frequently asked questions and other information. The direct link to this part of our website is http://agr.georgia.gov/cottage-foods.aspx. If you do not have Internet access, give us a call.
Q: Where can I find seeds for rice peas? The rice pea is a small field pea (cowpea).
A: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (2278 Baker Creek Road, Mansfield, MO 65704, Phone: 417-924-8917) carries a rice pea it describes like this: “Tiny white seeds are just larger than rice and cook in 40 minutes. Very tasty. Bush plants yield well. A pre-1860 Southern cowpea.”
Because common names vary from place to place, and there may be several strains or varieties of peas known as “rice peas,” this may or may not be the one you are looking for.
If you are a subscriber to the Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin, you can place a free ad in the “Ag Seed/Plants Wanted” to see if any of the other readers have rice peas to sell or to share. For more information, call 404-656-3722 or visit agr.georgia.gov/subscription-requests.aspx.
Q: I have a number of pecan trees with mistletoe growing in them. I am considering selling sprigs of mistletoe over the Internet. Are there any special restrictions regarding sales?
A: Georgia has no regulations regarding the sale of our native mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum, formerly listed as Phorandendron serotinum). The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed that this species is not federally regulated for interstate movement. Other states may have regulations or restrictions on it, although probably none within its native range of New Mexico to New York and southward. You may want to check with individual states about any labeling requirements or restrictions they may have.
If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, visit their website at www.agr.georgia.gov, write them at 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Room 128, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.