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Maryland’s laws are quite restrictive, only allowing cottage food businesses to sell at farmers markets or at public events, and limiting them to $25,000 of sales per year.  However, there are no licensing procedures or fees, so it’s really easy to get started.


The laws state that the food must be sold at “a location in a farmer’s market or at a public festival or event where raw agricultural products are sold”.

Allowed Foods

Honey must be unflavored.

Only "non-potentially hazardous" foods are allowed, but certain non-PHFs may not be allowed. Most foods that don't need to be refrigerated (foods without meat, cheese, etc.) are considered non-potentially hazardous. Learn more


Sales are limited to $25,000 per year


Here is some info about state sales tax in Maryland. There may also be local sales taxes that need to be collected.


Sample Label

Chocolate Chip Cookies

"Made by a cottage food business that is not subject to Maryland's food safety regulations." (10-point type)

Forrager Cookie Company

123 Chewy Way, Cookietown, MD 73531

Ingredients: enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), butter (cream, salt), semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, natural flavors), brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract (vanilla bean extract, alcohol, sugar), baking soda, salt (salt, calcium silicate)

Contains: milk, eggs, wheat, soy

NET WT 2 lb 4 oz (1.02 kg)

If any nutritional claims are made, they must adhere to the federal labeling requirements.


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Hi, I’m a college student, who is a passionate baker and would love to start my business.

I read an article on another website that said the only way “around” Maryland’s cottage food laws was to:
1. take “orders” (requests from customers without them paying)
2. bake them at home
3. have the customers pick them up at the farmer’s market or public event

Is this still legal?

Montgomery County regulation doesn’t allow the selling of home based goods – the Temporary Food Service License Application says this. The permit is required according to marylandfma (dot) org.

If I use a commercial kitchen, can I still use the cottage food law? If not, what should I do to make selling baked goods easy?

We’re a bed and breakfast and are looking to offer a homemade fudge to our guests – can any confirm whether we’re under the umbrella?
A small portion is given to all our guests on arrival and we’d like to give them the opportunity to buy a small bag (they love it and are all asking for it).
appreciate it

What if I want to sell cakes and other baked goods to friends and neighbors but not via a public event or venue. I’ll meet them directly to make the sale but I would be selling out of my home. What would I have to do in that case?

    It likely depends on the event and where the event is held. Some events will require special licenses, and some counties probably require special licenses also. I’d recommend asking the event manager about this.

Our school club wants to hold a bake sale in downtown Silver Spring near the Farmer’s Market and in downtown Takoma Park. This is a fundraiser for a non profit high school sports club. Can we do this without a permit of any sort and are there restrictions in terms of where we can set up? In addition, we are considering bake sales at polling sites on election day. Are there restrictions we should know about before setting up? Thank you.

    I don’t believe there are any permits you need, but restrictions are usually county or city-dependent. You should check with your health or ag dept to learn about their requirements.

I am planning on turning my holiday gifts, of jam, pasta sauce and bbq sauce into a local cottage food business, selling to friends and neighbors. I did not see pasta sauces and bbq sauces on the list of foods. Does this mean that I have to stick to only jam and jelly or can I make these too and sell them?

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