Grass fed beef jerky from Happy Hobo
When you want to sell a product like grass-fed beef jerky, you have to submit your beef jerky recipe to the powers that be, so they can test the beef jerky to verify its shelf readiness. I believe this has a lot to do with the water content of the finished jerky and the acidity of the marinade, but that’s probably not all they do. They probably test it for all kinds of other things, just to make sure you’re not some nut trying to hurt people with your product.
When you submit your sample beef jerky and recipe, you have to list the ingredients by weight, so last night when we were making two new batches, we weighed out all the ingredients. We’re officially on our way to becoming official!
This whole procedure is called a scheduled process, and it is the first step in getting permission from the state of New York to sell our grass-fed beef jerky retail. We still have to pass a kitchen inspection, and a few other little steps, in order to get the official seal of approval–or whatever it is they give you on whatever it is they write it on up here.
We’re starting off with two recipes, the original that Robin worked on for years to get just right, and the original’s spicy cousin, which she got right right off the bat. The original is made with a red wine (Chianti) marinade, and the Spicy Ale is made with Ommegang Hennepin Ale and Jalapenos. They will be the first two jerkies that officially go on sale once we get our official clearance of officialness.
I shouldn’t make fun of a process that is designed to keep people safe. I guess I’m still a little peeved that we couldn’t afford to start sooner. As someone who just went through a long period of poverty, I’m shocked at the lack of programs to help people help themselves. These processes are relatively inexpensive ($90 for the first recipe, $45 for each subsequent, and about $400 for the inspection). Why there aren’t microloan programs to help the poor get into work like this is beyond me. With demand for local food and grass-fed beef soaring, a business that turns local pastured meat into a low-fat, extremely healthy, shelf-ready product that doesn’t need refrigeration is a no-brainer.
And it’s not just jerky. Baked goods are even easier to pass inspection for, and there are Moms and Dads all over the place who could bolster their paltry incomes with a side-line of shelf-ready foods, who just can’t wade through the flood of confusing paperwork and unaffordable fees. These are people who can add value and potability to local food, helping to create resilient communities in the process, while pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.
Another step that’s not absolutely necessary, but certainly highly recommended, is to create an actual business so you can set up a business account and keep your personal finances separate. This is very important, really, but a bit confusing and also kind of expensive for poor people. We just formed Supak.com, LLC, and we did it through legal zoom because I just don’t have the time to do the whole paperworkorama thing. Again, we should be helping poor people do this: not as a way to help them get rich or die trying, but as a way to supplement their incomes by making their second jobs working for themselves. Selling baked goods or beef jerky at farmers markets or through the internet isn’t going to make anyone rich overnight, but there’s a chance, and at the very least, if done right, it can provide another stream of much needed income.
Why aren’t we funding this? And why aren’t we paying people to help people with things like this? These are the kinds of programs that pay for themselves in the long run. The short-sightedness of drown the government in a bathtub types has gotten us into a place where we no longer help people with programs that will help us all eventually, lifting all the boats, reducing poverty, improving the economy, expanding tax revenues without increasing taxes, and improving the general welfare. How sad is that? Hell, how conservative is that?
If you’re in New York, you’ll be happy to hear that a web site dedicated to just this subject has finally gotten up and running, after almost two years that I was checking it regularly only to find that it was still “under construction.”
New York Loves Small Business is a repository of small business information, but it looks like they’re still having problems as I’ve drilled down to my local area and I just get a blank page. Typical. Here’s the kind of thing that a government can spend very little money on and get a big result, and they can’t even make it work. I suggest people keep trying, testing, and asking questions of their local officials until they get an answer that can actually help them become the small entrepreneurs that can help pull us all out of this awful hole into which some Supreme-Court-appointed idiots got us. But that’s a subject for another blog.
Stay tuned as our long road to beef jerkydom gets shorter by the day!