Archive for January, 2015

A Few Farmers’ Market Pointers

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

If you sell at a farmers’ market, or are planning on this form of direct customer sale, it’s a good idea to review how your products are displayed. Always follow guidelines set up by your health inspector and your market.

Please, all products should be wrapped. The vendor above has no respect for the customers' health and safety.

Signs like this rarely work.

Cutting of products is never allowed unless the vendor has on-site handwash facilities.

Products displays need to look abundant or shoppers will not stop at your table.

Don’t keep cash in full view. A good idea is to wear an apron with pockets, or pants with pockets.

Home-Based Baking at its Best! When you set up a display table, be sure to look at your table through customers’ eyes.

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Pie Practice

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

If you have a home-based food business and do not make pies, consider adding this product line to your offerings. With the trends toward home-made, seasonal, and local, your customers would appreciate purchasing fresh pies.

Yes, I know, pie requires the ability to make a decent crust and the ability to roll out dough. I agree, pie can be downright difficult. It can be fussy, irritating, and too darn much work. But the benefits? Happy customers and better sales.

Start practicing now and be ready for summer’s fresh bounty. If large pies seem intimidating, begin with small pies, or roll out pie dough for strudels and turnovers which might be easier to manage.

An alternative to making the traditional (did I already mention fussy?) flaky crust, is stirring together an oil-based crust that is tasty, fast, and easy.

Texture is the biggest drawback for using an oil-based crust. When fresh baked, an oil crust is not too flaky. However, after the first day, the texture is similar to a classic cut-in-the-fat recipe.

So if you’re interested in a fast and easy product that holds up well for several days (better than a flaky crust) give this recipe a try. It’s enough for a 9” two-crust deep dish pie. (Or makes approx. 8 turnovers, 10 individual strudels, or multiple minipies.)

Cherry Pie

Carnival Squash

Peach Pie ready for the oven.

Poptarts and mini hand-held pies.

Individual strudel.

Oil-Based Pie Crust

3 ¾ cups unbleached flour (or 2 cups unbleached and 1 ½ cups ww pastry flour)
¼ tsp each, baking powder and salt
⅞ cup oil
¾ cup milk or water

Stir all ingredients together. Don’t knead or work the dough after it forms a rough clump. Add more flour if too wet. For pie, divide dough in half and set aside one piece. Roll out first half (use waxed paper for easy clean-up) and place in greased pie pan. Trim edges and fill with your favorite fruit filling, then roll out top crust and crimp edge. For smaller products, roll into rectangle then cut, fill, fold, and crimp.

Depending upon pan size, filling, and thickness of crust, bake pies 40-60 minutes at 375-400 F degrees. Strudels, poptarts, etc. bake 10-20 minutes.

Your pie crust will not be flaky the first day. But after that, it’ll be comparable to any classic pie crust. If you’re a home-based baker, this recipe is excellent for having a good shelf-life.

Home-Based Baking at its Best! Remember, homemade pies are excellent selling products.

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Photography, the Visual Aspect of Marketing

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Photograpy is an important part of marketing your business. You need simple photos that highlight your products.

Whether you only use social media or also have a website, the visual aspect of connecting with and enticing customers is very important.

How to take great photos has been addressed many times, especially in the food blog hemisphere. But food bloggers tend to take many photos. For business purposes, fewer is better.

Bake magazine has an excellent article by Tania Colamarino, “Smartphone Photography.”  Tania’s tips can be remembered with the acronym RECIPE:

R- Right light
E- Every angle
C- Creativity rocks
I- Increase your audience
P- Pose, practice and post
E- Eat the subjects when you’re done- that’s the best part!

For creating nice layouts and photo collages I use PicMonkey, which has an article by EJ Armstrong, “7 Food Photography Tips.”



I often use collages to highlight my business.

Home-Based Baking at its Best! Your photo background is very important; customers should see a picture that highlights your baking and products, not a background with a pile of laundry or your kids watching television.

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Starting Your Home-Based Baking Business

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Join us at the SweetAmbs studio on Saturday, February 28, in Beacon New York for our class:

Start Your Home-Based Baking Business

Do you love to bake? More than forty states now have a cottage food law that allows for home-based baking. Whether you’ve always envisioned yourself with a small food business, would like a second source of income, or want to stay at home and be your own boss, this class will guide you step-by-step through the entire process, from your initial business plan through delivery of products to your customers.


For anyone interested in learning how to run a profitable part-time or full-time home-based baking business, this class is for you. Leave class with a business plan and a checklist for moving ahead. If you’re unable to bake from home, alternatives will be discussed.

Start Your Home-Based Baking Business for more information and to register.

For more information about other SweetAmbs classes and tutorials.
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Home-Based Baking at its Best! Learn how to start your own home-based baking business.

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