Growing industry gets boost from Warnick legislation

Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5603 during a formal ceremony Thursday. The new law, sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, was introduced to meet the increasing popularity and demand for cottage foods such as baked goods, jams and fruit preserves. It increases the maximum amount of annual gross sales kitchen-to-consumer vendors may have, without losing their “cottage” status, from $15,000 now to $25,000 when the law changes in late July.

“This change in law is a boost for entrepreneurs across the state,” said Warnick. “We are giving the state Department of Agriculture needed flexibility in regulating these small businesses, and encouraging growth in this burgeoning industry. This legislation is good for rural economic development and can mean increased financial independence for families and more options for consumers. That is a winning situation for everyone.”

State law allows for the sale of foods directly to consumers from home kitchens licensed as cottage food operations by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

“I’m so happy that this bill is now law,” said Hannah Castro, local owner of a cottage food business, Hannah Bananas Cupcakes. “This allows me to expand my business while planning for future opportunities.”