The kitchen inspector came over yesterday for a consultation. She was very nice, full of good information, and not "threatening" on any level.
Yesterday's visit was a "consultation," and I came away from the interaction feeling okay about the household set-up. We have separated home and business food processing in a way that didn't ring any alarm bells for the inspector. Good.
However, it seems as though my preserving interests head into dangerous territory. Even the not-too-sweet-kinda-savory jams I like to do are considered "acidified foods." They require different approvals and certification.
The pickles I make also are considered "acidified foods." I call them "live culture" foods, and I have no problem telling everyone who wants to buy them that they need to be refrigerated. It's possible for me to get a domestic license to produce these pickles as I had intended. It's just that it sounds like the jams I like to make also would need to be refrigerated -- even though they have been properly heat-processed and have plenty of sugar in them. They just don't have enough sugar in them.
I feel bummed. I feel isolated. I would not need to spend another $600 in equipment if I were part of a community of food developers. I don't know how one becomes a part of such a community when one has a young child. But let me say this outloud yet again: I would like to *share* the costs of an NTEP scale, a good pH meter, a wide-range Brix meter, and the costs of buying jars in bulk (because the shipping charges are outrageous).
I just feel really bummed tonight. Why is it so hard to bring interesting food to market?