When I am not picking snow peas (it's the middle of July!), pickling them (good results!), watering, weeding, helping bean vines find their twine supports (have you ever found the patience to coax a vine toward a support? it's my meditation practice), or feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, I am cleaning my kitchen, garage, closets, and cabinets.
I have been trying to wrap my mind around this for a couple of years, but the requirements are daunting.
The worst requirement for us is that no animal is ever allowed in the same building where the kitchen is. We are dog people, and that has been a deal-breaker for me as I've tried to approach this goal in the past. Sadly, though, we had to find another home for our dog earlier this year for unrelated reasons. For months, I refused to consider the possibility of moving forward with the domestic kitchen licensing because this requirement kills the joy for me completely. But now that my professional plans have gotten much bigger, it's absolutely clear that this domestic kitchen situation is a temporary one. I can deal with a pet-free home for a couple of years. The chickens have their own nice digs outside, and they are lovely companions, too.
There are other requirements about storing ingredients and supplies separately from family supplies. For my purposes, this requires a second refrigerator. We already have that second fridge for the farm, and I'm waiting to hear from the inspector if that new one will suffice for the farm and the preserving. We'll see.
Also, no medicines can be stored in the certified kitchen. This makes absolute sense, but it requires considerable juggling around of our closet space here. You know how when you re-organize one closet, you have to re-organize a few more for things to make sense again? Well, that's where I am right now...
The house is a mess -- with things willy-nilly -- as I try to achieve new organizational sanity here. I refuse to do the deep cleaning of the bathrooms and elsewhere that has needed to get done for weeks until this stuff is dealt with. Do we need it? Should we save it? Should we donate it? I won't vacuum until the pile of stuff is gone from the middle of the room.
Also, I'm going through my kitchen tools, wondering which ones I can give over to the business and which ones I need to keep for family use. Do I need two of every favorite tool?
I also feel afraid to open my home to the scrutiny I imagine is to come. There will be scheduled and unscheduled inspections. Truthfully, I'm less afraid of the unscheduled inspections because once I learn the rules I must follow, I will be dogged about that. I worry more about the first inspections when I'll be trying so hard to do it all right and then feel slammed when I'm told that I'll need to make a costly adjustment.
But I do feel determined. My preserves -- jams, relishes, chutneys, and fermented pickles -- are made with care and are good enough to be able to be sold legally. This is my passion: I like to grow the vegetables and fruits, and I like to preserve their wonderful energy.
I debated a long time about whether or not to post about this journey toward a certified domestic kitchen. It's embarrassing to figure out how to turn your private space into a state-certified production kitchen. But, you know, I would really appreciate reading about someone else's professional journey in this direction. It would be great to connect with others who are doing something like this, and I never will unless I share about it. (Thanks, Sarah Gilbert, for that clear insight.)
So, hi! My name is cathy, and I'm trying to get my kitchen licensed!