Skip to main content

North Dakota Loses Food Freedom

North Dakota’s food freedom law regresses into a good cottage food law, after the state health department created new rules and limits.

Businesses Are Like Babies

You know how they say that having a business is like having a baby? I can confirm… it’s totally true.

Two months ago, Tara and I welcomed a baby boy into the world! His name is Ray.

Researching Your State’s Cottage Food Law

If you want to learn more about your state’s cottage food law, or better understand how this site was made, this post will give you ideas for how to research and update a law on Forrager.

Launch your home bakery business in Wisconsin, legally!

Is the aroma of sweet victory coming from the ovens of Wisconsin wafting your way? Here in our state we can finally – legally – sell homemade, non-hazardous baked goods. Or more specifically, it took over five years, three cottage food bills that never passed and a successful lawsuit so that here in Wisconsin we […]

Starting A Cottage Food Business – Limitations

If you want to start a home food business, there are a number of potential limitations that you should be aware of. Learn about the different limitations that states may include in their cottage food laws.

Starting A Cottage Food Operation – Allowed Foods

In most states, you can only sell certain types of homemade food. Most cottage food laws only allow nonperishable food items, but some states allow almost all types of food, while other states are very restrictive. Learn about what types of homemade food products you can sell under your cottage food law.

Should You Build A Website For Your Small Business?

Cottage food operators often put too much stock into having their own website. They might think that their home food business will be hampered if they don’t have one, or they’ll be behind the times without one. Sometimes they even spend hundreds of dollars to get one designed and built, only to later find that it’s not generating much business for them.

Is a website worth your time and/or money? What are the benefits and what are the costs? Why are some websites successful while others are not?

Selling at Market: Tips to Return Home “Sold Out”

Many states’ cottage food laws may limit sales to public events like farmers’ markets, fairs or other community gatherings. Rather than seeing your sales venue potential as half empty, view it as half full. This blog will offer ideas on how you can boost your sales at farmers’ markets.

Starting A Cottage Food Operation – First Steps

For most of us, starting a business isn’t easy. Let’s say you want to start your home food business — what do you do? Depending on where you live, there could be any number of barriers between you and your first sale. Learn about a couple of the first steps to take when starting a cottage food operation.

Starting Your Food Business The Easy Way

If there is no fast and easy way to start your homemade food business, what should you do? Ironically, the best way to start your food business may be to not start a business at all.

Everyone Starts Somewhere

Have you thought of starting your own food business? Learn about what it takes to get started… you might need less than you think!

The Truth About Running A Business

Maybe you’ve read articles about entrepreneurs going from rags to riches overnight, but every business owner knows the real, unwritten story.

Do You Have An Email List?

If you are selling at a local market and are merely collecting money, then you are missing out! If you want to give your business a huge boost, try this.

The Price Is Wrong

Let’s say you’re thinking of selling your homemade goodies at a local market this summer. How will you set the price?

Why Cottage Food Laws Matter

I had a simple goal: sell my homemade chocolate fudge at the farmers market this summer. How complicated could it be? Turns out that if the government has anything to say about it, the answer is “very complicated”. My experience is just one simple example of why cottage food laws can make a huge difference in a community.

The New Cottage Food Rules

Wyoming has tested the waters of food freedom for a year. Are people using their food freedom law, and if so, is it negatively impacting the public health? Is this the future of the cottage food movement?

The Most Important Ingredient In Your Business

Are you using the most important ingredient in your business? If you are using it, then you know how powerful it can be; and if you are not using it, then simply put, you are not leveraging your business’ most important asset!

How Many Products Should You Sell?

One mistake startups often make is offering customers too many choices. Initially this may seem backwards and unintuitive… wouldn’t you sell more if you had more to offer customers? Not necessarily.

Why Online Marketplaces Fail

It’s that time of year again: cottage food laws being introduced, home bakers starting CFOs, and some entrepreneurs launching their cottage food marketplaces. As I’ve written before, Forrager was initially intended to be a cottage food marketplace, but now we have abandoned that idea. However, on the face of it, the idea seems to be […]

Build For Sale, Not For Scale

I’m a dreamer. I can see my fudge business taking off… I can see it on store shelves, I can see huge batches being made, and I can see that I often get a little ahead of myself! With a new year comes renewed energy for our homemade food businesses. Maybe you’re looking forward to […]

Get Out Of Your Kitchen!

Do you wonder if your homemade food item would sell well? Are your sales lower than you would like? Learn about one of the common food startup mistakes that can prevent your business from taking off.

Is A Cookie Business A Good Idea?

Store-bought cookies are pathetic and everyone raves about yours. Your friends keeps saying that you need to sell them, but are they right? Why do some food businesses succeed, and others fail?

Stop Worrying About Your Sales Limit

People often wonder if the cottage food laws are too limiting. Should they use it to start their homemade food business? Is it worth their time?

Cottage Food Operator Self-assessment

Do you have what it takes to be a CFO, a cottage food operator? More than an idea, recipe or home kitchen filled with appliances, becoming a small food business owner will require a level of knowledge, skill and talent, each addressed below.

Status of the Cottage Food Industry

I recently received a few questions from Sid, a student at the University of Tampa who’s doing some research on the cottage food industry. The questions are high-level enough that I realized they’d make a good blog post, so I’m sharing my answers here.

Why Health Departments Hate Cottage Food Laws

Cottage food operations often get frustrated by health departments, who can be slow, uncommunicative, and sometimes downright unfriendly. Do health departments really dislike the cottage food industry as much as people think they do?

Hot Trends for a Cottage Food Operation

From Buy Local to Small Business Saturdays, from slow food to fancy food, from farm-to-fork to handmade artisan breads, more people than ever are demanding real food made by real people — not by machines in factories, the same way they make cars and computers.

Food Freedom Is No Longer A Myth

Yes, food freedom is real. The term has become increasingly popular: you may have heard it around the dinner table, at farmers markets, or even at a food freedom fest. This catchphrase of locavore culture has become so common that, until recently, you may have thought it to be a real thing. Proponents of food […]

Feasibility Study: Testing the Market

While you may have a great-tasting product, you still have to test it in the marketplace. It’s one thing if everyone you know loves your muffins — especially, if they’re free. It’s something completely different to see if customers will buy them at two dollars a pop. This process of testing the market for your products is often called a feasibility study; it may take the following route:

Book Review: Homemade For Sale

This page includes affiliate links, so we may get a small commission when you make a purchase John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist know the difference between Corporate America and a homemade business. Although they started their careers in marketing, today, they run an eco-farm in rural Wisconsin, where you can buy a jar of their Pucker […]

Virginia Food Freedom Campaign Makes National News

UPDATE: This initiative did not pass again, but hopefully they will try next year. Soon after it failed, Wyoming successfully passed the Wyoming Food Freedom Act, making them the first state to deregulate almost all direct sales of homemade food. Fox News just aired a segment with Bernadette Barber, who has been heading up the Virginia […]

Texas Law Has Created Over A Thousand Local Businesses

Half a year after publishing a detailed report of California’s cottage food law, the Institute for Justice has now published a new report about the amended cottage food law in Texas. It gives a thorough overview of their current law and gives some good examples of people that are using it successfully. One of the more […]

How Liability Insurance Helps Cottage Food Operations

This article was written by the Food Liability Insurance Program, one of the leading insurance providers for small food businesses, including many cottage food operations. Although some parts of this article may contrast with our opinion, we think it’s best to have a variety of perspectives when making an important decision. The cottage food law makes it […]

The Attack on Food Freedom

The Institute for Justice has published a report titled “The Attack on Food Freedom“, which feeds off the rising trend of saying no to excessive government regulation in the food industry. The report aims to relate current food laws to the food regulations put in place by Britain in the 18th century, suggesting that the […]

A Fresh Start for Forrager

Shouldn’t I be saying “a fresh start for cottagefoods.org?” After all, cottagefoods.org is what received a design and code refresh today, but it’s now called Forrager (and it’s now forrager.com). Why the change, how did we get here, and what’s the future of this community? I’ll address some of those questions in this post. An […]

SHARE Conference

Peers is hosting a conference specifically about the sharing economy, called SHARE: Catalyzing the Sharing Economy. The cottage food industry is still small (but growing), but it is really part of a much bigger trend. The local food movement has been busting at the seams recently, and nowadays it seems like people are sharing anything possible, […]

California Cottage Food Law Podcast

Real Food Real Talk interviewed a number of the key players surrounding the cottage food law in California. Their podcast, Home Cooking Your Way To Your Own Food Business, does a good job of summarizing the progress of the cottage food industry in that state.

11-year-old girl’s cupcake business gets shut down

Another food entrepreneur’s dream (in this case, an 11-year-old girl) gets shut down by the government. Maybe it’s time to get Illinois’ cottage food law amended! Is this girl really hazardous to the public health? As Kathleen mentioned below, coincidentally, a campaign for an improved cottage food law in Illinois just begun. Show your support by […]

Is Virginia’s new cottage food bill too ambitious?

UPDATE: This bill was initially tabled, and has now been abandoned Virginia has a new bill filed for the next legislative session (HB 135), call the “Virginia Food Freedom Act”, which is trying to go where no cottage food law has gone before! Its basic premise is to allow home cooks to make any kind of […]

Cottage food lawsuit filed in Minnesota, but will it work?

A couple bakers in Minnesota, along with the Institute of Justice, have just taken the state’s Department of Agriculture by surprise. As part of IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative, they are filing a lawsuit that is designed to question the very premise of the cottage food law in Minnesota. But in the bigger picture, they are […]

Harvard Students Produce Study About the Cottage Food Industry

A new research paper, titled Cottage Food Laws in the United States, by Alli Condra, has been published by the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard University. The goal of the paper was to create a comprehensive overview of the cottage food industry, including what is allowed in different states, how to create a […]

Can you sell cottage foods?

Can you sell homemade food? The short answer is… probably, if your state allows it. Most states have cottage food laws in place, but there are still some things you should check before getting started.