Deborah Aylward’s View from Concord — January

By Deborah Aylward

What’s in a Name? Whereas the term “cottage foods” is used to describe regulated homemade food products in most states’ regulatory schemes, in New Hampshire, the term “homestead food products” is instead used, which, most likely unintentionally, skews the law in favor of farmers. 

With all due respect to farmers who may be homesteading, (i.e., living a self-sufficient lifestyle), the homemade food arena is not exclusive to farmers. The term is not relatable to an apartment dweller, for example. Therefore, HB 1685, sponsored by Rep. Deborah Aylward, seeks to refine the descriptive term, by using “artisan” instead.

The word “artisan,” commonly defined, means: a person or company that produces something (such as cheese or wine) in limited quantities often using traditional methods. “Artisan” and “Artisanal” are most often used in advertising and media mentions to describe unique, cultural, specialty, traditional, and carefully crafted homemade foods.

A search for the word “homestead,” using the Secretary of State “Business Name Lookup Tool,” returned 135 entries. None of the entries indicate the word “homestead” is used in a registered business or trade name associated with a homemade food business in good standing. There was one entry for Homestead Candies; the business status expired in 2003.

Therefore, it’s safe to say “homestead” is not popular with members of the homemade food industry, especially when marketing high-end, niche food products.

The use of “Artisan Food Products” will uplift the industry’s image, improve the public’s perception, and direct consumers’ attention and appetite toward an appreciation for fine-crafted artisan food products.