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Planning for the Pine Island Chamber Seafood and Famer’s Market moving along

October 17, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

The plans for the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce Seafood and Farmer's Market are still moving forward with an anticipated soft opening in the middle of December.

"I'm pretty confident it will happen," Chamber President-elect Steve Timcak said, due to the couple of meetings still to be held. "I don't think the permitting is going to be a problem."

The location of the market is anticipated to be at the crossroads of the island center between the ballfield and the Garden Club's park. The market would run every Saturday from the middle of December until April or early May.

Due to the amount of space the site can accommodate, the market will include approximately 30 booths.

Timcak said they are currently looking for someone who would like to be the site manager during the market. He said the position does not include the traditional site duties, but rather the person will be responsible for minor disputes, as well as observing and making sure booth compliance is taking place.

In exchange for the position, Timcak said, the individual will receive a free booth for his or her service.

"A pretty good opportunity for someone," he said.

Timcak said they already have several seafood and produce vendors lined up for the market. He said they are still looking for more vendors - possibly individuals that want to earn money for their families.

In 2011, the Florida Legislature passed the Cottage Food Bill, Bill 7209, which allows individuals to manufacture, sell and store some types of "cottage food" products from their home kitchen. The cottage foods include breads, cakes, cookies, candies, jams and jellies and fruit pies.

According to the bill, the annual income that is made through selling these products cannot exceed $15,000. The sale of the product can only be made from the cottage food operator directly to the consumer and not through the Internet, mail order, consignment or through wholesale.

"I think that is a remarkable thing," Timcak said about the state Legislature trying to help individuals.

The best part, he said, is that individuals can make the cottage foods in their home kitchen and sell in the public without any licensing having to take place.

The operation of cottage food, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, does not require a license or permit from them.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the item that is being sold has to be labeled with, "Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida's food safety regulations."

Timcak said individuals can bake their favorite pie and sell it at the market.

Those interested in obtaining a booth at the market are encouraged to call the Chamber of Commerce at 239-283-0888.



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