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One Cake

Pete Springer/OPB

Felicia Hill came to a sad realization one day. It was approaching her son’s second birthday, and she couldn’t find him a cake. The cakes all looked perfect, but she needed to know if they were safe. Her son has a life threatening peanut allergy. No bakery she contacted in Vancouver or Portland could guarantee that a cake would be 100 percent peanut free. It broke her heart thinking her son would never be able to have a bakery style cake to celebrate his birthday.

Felicia Hill decided to make a cake herself. She started taking cake designing courses. Before long, she wasn’t only making cakes for her son but for family, friends, neighbors and eventually strangers as well. Encouraged by a growing number of orders, Felicia wanted to start advertising and selling specialty cakes that could meet any dietary restriction, from peanuts to dairy. However, in the State of Washington a person could only sell food from a commercial kitchen. Felicia didn’t have a commercial kitchen, and the thought of investing 50,000 dollars into making one was not sensible for her blossoming business.

What did Felicia Hill do? She started researching Oregon and other state’s cottage food laws. Serendipitously, a bill was being introduced in the Senate allowing small-scale bakers to sell products from home. Felicia testified in front of the Washington state senate and ended pushing the bill into law.

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OPB | Broadcast: Aug. 2, 2011