Melissa Ziobron for State Senate 33rd | It’s Unanimous!
State Representative Melissa Ziobron was the unanimous choice for over forty Republican delegates at a nominating convention held earlier this week.
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SB 193 and me!

Anyone who knows me at all knows how strongly I feel about supporting local businesses. It is something I have been talking about even before I was involved in Economic Development for my home town of East Haddam.

One of the first bills I introduced when I joined the legislature was a proposal meant to foster opportunities for new entrepreneurs looking to prepare foods for sale  such as baked goods and preserves in their own home without the expense and burden of utilizing a commercial kitchen. That bill passed, but once signed into law, the Department of Consumer Protectionhad issues with implementation. To move the process forward, I updated the draft regulations and filed an amendment as part of SB 193 this year. I learned last week that the Governor signed that bill. Thanks to the assistance of Senator Len Fasano, SB 193 includes amendments to those regulations.

Some background: before passage of this bill, we were one of only nine states that did not allow Cottage Food production unless the producer was a farmer who used their own produce to make jellies or pickles.  State food safety laws required that anyone who sought to sell food items to the public had to have their items prepared and packaged at a commercial facility.  For someone looking to test market a food product, this creates a barrier because of the costs involved in renting out a commercial kitchen facility (assuming there is even ready access to one, which itself is yet another barrier).

It is important to note that this new legislation still requires cottage food producers to obtain certification for safety in handling. The language of the bill, which you can read here, defines cottage food producers as those who sell directly to consumers and have gross annual sales of $25,000 or less. The law takes effect on October 1, and the The Food & Standards Division of the Department of Consumer Protection  is working on the application form. I am told DCP has a goal of posting a FAQ section and information about existing training courses — along with the application form — on their website  by July 15.

I have heard from countless residents from across Connecticut who are excited about the opportunity to create their own businesses and sell their goods. One of the places that they can do that are our regional farmer’s markets. These markets are a wonderful venue for our farmers and craftsmen. I have been attending for years!

Summer has officially begun and that means farmers’ markets are in full swing throughout the state. Supporting our local agricultural community is critically important. To make it easier for you to support them, here’s a list of markets around our district:

Town Location Season Market Day Hours
Chester Chester Village Center 6/10 to 10/15 Sunday 10a – 1p
Colchester Town Green 6/17 to 10/15 Sunday 9a – 1p
East Haddam Ballek’s Garden Center 6/6 to 11/1 Wednesday 4p – 7p
Essex Ivoryton Village Green 6/16 tp 9/29 Saturday 10:30a – 1:30p
Haddam Higganum Town Green 6/1 to 9/30 Thursday 4p – 8p
Lyme Ashlawn Farm 6/16 to 9/15 Saturday 9:30a – 1p
Old Saybrook 210 Main Street 6/30 to 10/31 Wednesday and Saturday 9a – 12:30p