The second issue with the growth of my hobby business came when talking with a farmer about selling seed. He asked me, are you registered as a seed seller in California? The thought that I would need to register to sell seed in California was completely foreign to me. You mean that I have to complete some kind of permit and be licensed to sell seed? Apparently this is a thing. Though I have never heard of it, this was definitely something that is required here in California, so I emailed the Department of Food and Agriculture, explained to them my situation and sent a check. Because I had been selling seed for some time, I included all of the previous years of fees along with a late fee for each year for which I had not paid the fees on time. At least I can have some solace in knowing that I did the right thing, as soon as I knew what I was supposed to do.
The third issue I encountered in my business journey was the need to promote my brand. In the past when people asked me for a business card, I just told them how easy it was to find me website (cucumbershop, cucumberseed or cucumberseeds.com). But after someone told me that I should really have a business card, I decided it was time to take the matter seriously. I found a site that made stickers and ordered a set of sticker business cards. Just thinking about having a business card had always seemed pretty boring, so instead I choose to design a business card sticker that someone could stick to the outside of their water bottle or some other item seems a lot more interesting and fun. If nothing else, the logo is pretty cool.
The final issue I had to figure out with my business was how to work with the state of California, to enable me to legally purchase a bacterial fungicide. While bacillus subtilis strain QST 713 would most likely not hurt a fly or a bee, I was required to obtain a permit from the Solano Department of Agriculture in order to spray this organic fungicide on my plants – at least if I purchased it as CEASE from BioWorks. So I had a department of Agriculture agent for Solano County come to my residential backyard to verify that I was indeed growing the cucumber and tomato plants that I said I was growing, in order to grant me a permit to spray them with a primarily benign bacteria. Welcome to the bureaucracy! Though this was just one hoop in many to get my seed business to where I wanted it, one positive thing I learned from the experience was that I could have the a small portion of my seeds from my plot to receive a phytosanitary certificate (documentation that is sometimes required in exporting seeds abroad).