TOWN OF WATERFORD — LuAnn Himebauch says her cranberry butter is delicious on a turkey sandwich. And her favorite way to enjoy her cinnamon honey butter is on a baked sweet potato.
This year the Town of Waterford resident, owner-operator of LuAnn’s Homemade Butters, plans to take her business out of a rented commercial kitchen in Burlington. Instead, this spring she will start building a commercial kitchen on her 20-acre farm and set up shop there.
In doing so, Himebauch will be the first Racine County resident to take advantage of a new county ordinance provision, adopted last year, pertaining to what farmers can do on their farms.
“It essentially allows people that grow on their property to process (food) there,” said Julie Anderson, Racine County director of public works and development services.
To have what is called a home-based agricultural-related business, conditions include:
• The operator must live on the farm, and it must be at least 5 acres in size.
• The operator must grow or produce a significant portion of the food to be sold.
• No more than two non-family members can be employed in the business.
Anyone who runs such a business also will be subject to state licensing requirements.
Himebauch has been marketing LuAnn’s Homemade Honey Butter since 2008 with a honey butter recipe an aunt shared during a trip to North Dakota in 2006.
“I said, ‘You should sell this,’ ” Himebauch said.
Instead, she was the one who started a side business with the recipe which includes honey, butter, sugar and cream.
After she started making her aunt’s honey butter, Himebauch would give it away as a gift and donate it for bake sales. That led to requests from people for more of it and suggestions that she could sell it, Himebauch said. She got a food processing license and started marketing LuAnn’s Homemade Honey Butter.
She’s been driving to Burlington to make her spreads. But this spring Himebauch will start construction of a 20- by 24-foot building that will house her new kitchen, small store and handicap-accessible bathroom. She’ll avoid incurring the cost of interest on a bank loan by using money her late father left her for what she estimates will be about a $40,000 to $50,000 facility.
“This has always kind of been my dream since 2008,” Himebauch said.
Himebauch qualified to build her commercial kitchen under the county’s new provision because the honey for her butters comes from hives kept on their farm, and they grow their own rhubarb for rhubarb spread, a seasonal product.
She also buys other ingredients as locally as possible — at local farmers markets, for example — and picks local strawberries for her strawberry honey butter.
There’s some leeway in the ordinance about producing one’s own food for processing, Anderson said.
“We know you can’t grow every single thing on your property.”
Besides selling from the kitchen/store Himebauch will build this year, she continues to sell her flavored butters through various Wisconsin stores, and her website. Because their farm is at 34422 Highway 20, her store will have good visibility and access.
Himebauch said her aunt is happy what she’s done with her recipes.
“She actually gave me her blessing,” Himebauch said. “She gives me so much credit for taking this on.”
For more information about LuAnn’s Homemade Butters, visit www.luannshomemadebutters.com or call 262-534-2527.