Unlike most states, Iowa allows home cooks to sell most types of foods, including perishable products. After an update in 2022 (HF 2431), Iowa is the only state to allow products that contain some types of meat and poultry that are purchased. Home food processing establishments can sell their items at any venue, but they… [read more]
Iowa has two different laws for home cooks, which combine to form possibly the best cottage food laws in the nation. Iowa has been allowing sales of homemade food for longer than any other state (since at least the 1980s). The cottage food law (described on this page) allows producers to sell almost all types… [read more]
In 2022, Indiana passed a greatly improved cottage food law (HB 1149). Prior to 2022, producers could only sell at farmers markets and roadside stands. Under the current law, home-based vendors can sell most types of nonperishable foods directly to consumers within the state, including online sales and in-state shipping. There is no sales limit,… [read more]
In 2022, Tennessee passed a food freedom law (HB 813) which entirely replaced their old law. The food freedom law removes almost all restrictions from the sale of nonperishable homemade foods. These food items can be sold anywhere in the state, including in-state shipping and indirect sales through retail stores. There is no sales limit,… [read more]
South Dakota first passed a cottage food law in 2010, and amended it in 2011, 2020, & 2022. Producers can sell all types of nonperishable foods, plus some types of foods that most states don’t allow: perishable baked goods, home canned goods, pesto, frozen fruit, etc. However, those selling the latter must follow certain requirements…. [read more]
South Carolina first created a cottage food law in 2012, which was amended in 2018 and 2022. Producers can sell both directly to consumers, and indirectly to retail stores. Producers can sell their products online, and can ship them as well. There is no sales limit, and the producer doesn’t need to take a food… [read more]
It all started with a vision of living off the land.
Back in 2016, Beatrice Lattimore moved her family into the countryside to rediscover their roots and start a farm.
What began as five mostly-empty acres in Deland, FL is now a fully-functioning farm with animals, produce, and a cottage food business called Beatz Sweets.
Beatrice uses Florida’s cottage food law to sell value-added products at farmers markets, events, and — most importantly — from the farm itself.
In this episode, she shares what it has taken to make their vision a reality.
Kansas has a good cottage food law, even though the rules for selling food are mostly determined by the ag department. Almost all types of nonperishable foods can be sold anywhere directly, including sales in other states. Indirect sales (via restaurants, stores, etc) are not allowed. There are even special rules that allow limited sales… [read more]
For many years, Illinois had one of the most restrictive cottage food laws in the nation. Their first cottage food law in 2012 (SB 0840) only allowed cottage food operations to sell certain items at farmers markets. Even though an amendment in 2018 (HB 3063) removed the sales limit and greatly expanded the list of… [read more]
Jennie Gibson lives in Jacksonville, FL and sells custom-decorated cake pops with her cottage food business, The Cake Pop Shop.
Jennie already shared some advice on Episode 50, but in this episode, she shares her own incredible cottage food journey.
Simply put, Jennie has one of the most successful home-based cake pop businesses in the entire country!
But her journey started with humble (and unlikely) beginnings, including a bad car accident that left her permanently disabled, and a special needs son that gave her the dose of inspiration that she needed.
However, through hard work and persistence, Jennie has overcome many challenges and built up her cake pop empire over time.
In just over a decade, she has:
- Landed many large orders of over 1,000 cake pops each
- Created cake pops for many major organizations, including the NFL & Jacksonville Jaguars
- Sold elaborate cake pops for $180 per dozen
- Accrued over 40,000 followers on Instagram
It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s definitely been rewarding. In this episode, you’ll hear about what keeps Jennie going, and what’s she’s learned along the way!
California passed their first cottage food law (AB 1616 – The California Homemade Food Act) in 2012, and it went into effect on January 1st, 2013. The law was amended in 2013 (AB 1252) and 2021 (AB 1144 & AB 831). California has two classes of cottage food operations (CFOs): Class A & Class B…. [read more]
In this special 50th episode of The Forrager Podcast, we hear from the experts!
All of the guests on this episode run Facebook groups that support cottage food entrepreneurs. In total, the owners of these Facebook groups represent over 125,000 members!
On this episode, each guest shares a quick tip that they have for someone starting or growing a cottage food business.
Facebook groups are the glue that holds the cottage food industry together. They are fantastic resources for entrepreneurs to find support and connect with each other.
Those who run these Facebook groups spend a lot of time supporting and maintaining their groups, oftentimes behind the scenes and without compensation.
This episode not only contains tons of valuable advice for cottage food business owners, but also recognizes many of the individuals that help support the growing cottage food industry.
Tracy Mancuso lives in Central Point, OR and sells customized wedding & birthday cakes with her cottage food business, Sugar Rush.
Initially, Tracy’s passion for cake making started as a hobby in 2010, but quickly grew into a business as more and more people requested her creations.
In 2013, Tracy joined forces with another home baker, and that’s when their business really took off.
Initially they used Oregon’s law for domestic kitchens to sell their home baked goods legally. With two young children, one of whom is autistic, working from her home was especially important.
When her business partner left the business in 2019, Tracy switched to using Oregon’s newer (and simpler) cottage food law to run her business from her home.
Despite many challenges and changes along the way, Tracy’s business has continued to grow, and she says that she can barely keep up!
She has thousands of social media followers and shares the strategies she’s used to market her cake business, build a good reputation in her local community, and bring a little bit of joy into her customers’ lives.
For many years, only Kentucky farmers could sell homemade food, leaving it as one of the last states without a basic cottage food law. But that changed in 2018 when the law was amended (HB 263) to make it available to everyone. With this law, home-based processors can make many types of non-perishable foods and… [read more]
North Dakota’s path to a cottage food law resembles a roller coaster ride, but not necessarily a fun one. In 2017, North Dakota passed the country’s second food freedom bill (HB 1433), modeled after Wyoming’s. Since then, the health department tried multiple times to restrict the new law, and were ultimately successful in implementing restrictive… [read more]
For many years, New Mexico had the most complex cottage food law of any state. However, in 2021 they passed the Homemade Food Act (HB 177), which greatly improved their law. Now producers can sell most non-perishable foods directly anywhere in the state, and there is no sales limit. Indirect sales (retail stores, restaurants, etc)… [read more]
Montana first created a cottage food law in 2015, but it was almost entirely replaced in 2021 with the passage of the Montana Local Food Choice Act (SB 199). This “food freedom” law removed almost all restrictions from selling homemade food, and it prevents government agencies from regulating a producer. To sell homemade food, a… [read more]
In 2015, Montana passed their first cottage food bill (HB 478), which is explained on this page. However, they now have a newer law, the Montana Local Food Choice Act (SB 199), also known as their food freedom law. That law almost entirely replaces this one. The only reason someone would use this cottage food… [read more]
Before 2018, New York had a fairly restrictive law. Unlike other states that pass bills to improve their cottage food law, New York’s ag department improved the law themselves by creating rules, first in 2018 and again in 2020. Homemade food can now be sold anywhere within the state, including selling indirectly to stores and… [read more]
For many years, Oklahoma had one of the most restrictive cottage food laws in the United States. However, in 2021, Oklahoma replaced their cottage food law with the Homemade Food Freedom Act (HB 1032), and it is now one of the best laws in the country! Under the food freedom law, producers can sell their… [read more]
Alabama created a cottage food law (SB 159) in 2014. Previously, producers could only sell non-perishable homemade food at farmers markets. In 2021, an amendment (SB 160) greatly expanded the list of allowed foods, removed the sales limit, allowed online sales, and allowed in-state shipping. Alabama allows direct sales of almost any type of non-perishable food,… [read more]
Daniela Zographos lives in Anderson, SC and sells custom-decorated and custom-sculpted cake pops with her cottage food business, Yumsies Cake Pops.
But Daniela hasn’t always made cake pops. In fact, when she started her business in 2013, she had never made a cake pop in her life!
Daniela used to run a typical home bakery, selling custom cakes, custom cookies, etc etc. But now, Daniela ONLY sells cake pops. That’s it.
She simplified her business model to make it easier to be a stay-at-home mom, but niching down to just cake pops had a surprise side-benefit: it made her business more successful!
She now has a thriving business with 3k Instagram followers. And because she has full-time mom duties during the day, she does most of her baking at night after her kids go to bed.
Daniela shares a ton of info in this episode. She shares the surprising way she found customers when she moved to a new area, the surprising way she makes her cake pops, the surprising way she offers pickup outside of her home, and the surprising way she gets almost all of her ingredients for free!
And if all that weren’t surprising enough, she also managed to start development of her city’s first shared commercial kitchen space. How she finds the time to do it all, we will never know!
Arkansas created a cottage food law in 2011 (Act 72), and it was amended three times (2017 Act 399, 2019 Act 775, & 2021 Act 306). However, in 2021, Arkansas replaced their cottage food law with the Food Freedom Act (SB 248), and it is now one of the best laws in the country! Under… [read more]
Minnesota used to have one of the most restrictive cottage food laws in the nation. In 2015, they passed a new law (SF 5) which greatly improved their law, and then they further improved it in 2021 by passing an amendment (SF 958). Cottage food producers can sell almost any type of nonperishable food, but they… [read more]
New Jersey has tried to pass countless cottage food bills, but one senator continues to prevent any of them from passing.
Florida’s cottage food law has improved significantly over time. After passing their first law (HB 7209) in 2011, they have passed three amendments: in 2017 they passed HB 1233, and in 2021 they passed HB 663 & HB 403. Florida now has a good cottage food law, especially since it is very easy for a… [read more]
Arizona created their initial cottage food law in 2011 (HB 2103) and amended it in 2018 (SB 1022) to allow more types of food products. Arizona has one of the most successful cottage food programs of any state, with over 10,000 businesses registered as of 2021. This success is in large part because Arizona has… [read more]
Michigan enacted a cottage food law in 2010 (HB 5280), and then amended it once in 2012 (HB 5130) to increase the sales limit. Many types of non-perishable foods are allowed, and producers can sell directly to consumers at most sales venues. It is very easy to start a cottage food business, since no license… [read more]
In 2013, after many months of breast cancer treatments, Lisa Petrizzi-Geller began experimenting in her home kitchen. She started with cake pops, but quickly expanded to chocolate-covered Oreos and other types of treats. “It was kinda like therapy for me”, Lisa says.
Apparently the therapy worked! Fast forward 8 years later, and now Lisa runs POP Culture, a successful food business in Berkley, MA that is based out of her residential kitchen.
Over the years, Lisa has sold her treats at all kinds of events, from small popups to large corporate events to huge festivals. How huge? One time, she did $8k of sales in a single weekend!
And despite events being cancelled due to the pandemic, 2020 was her busiest year yet. As she put it, “It just kept going. I never got a break.” The year culminated with the craziest of holiday seasons, where she made over 3,000 hot cocoa bombs alone!
In this episode, Lisa shares creative and trendy ideas for treats, tips to prepare for a home kitchen inspection, the dark side of running a cottage food business, and what she’s learned from selling at tons of events and fulfilling countless custom orders.
Washington is one of the most difficult states for starting a cottage food operation. It is very complicated to get a cottage food permit… almost as complex as setting up a commercial food business. And yet, Washington’s cottage food law is fairly limited, only allowing $25,000 of sales per year, prohibiting indirect sales (to restaurants,… [read more]
Washington D.C. started allowing homemade food sales in 2013, with the passage of the “Cottage Food Amendment Act of 2013” (B20-0168). In 2017, the health department added many rules (DCMR Title 25-K), which made it much more complicated and expensive to start a cottage food business. In 2020, the law significantly improved via two amendments…. [read more]
Becca Aronowitz from Richmond Hill, GA makes some of the best cake pops you have ever seen.
After Becca quit her job as an art teacher in 2012, she started Sweet Whimsy Shop to sell her cake pops and help support her family.
8 years and 40,000+ cake pops later, Becca has become a true master at the cake pop art form.
But unlike many entrepreneurs that start with big dreams for the future, Becca never envisioned becoming well-known for her cake pops.
As she puts it: “I had not thought about that at all. I just thought this is a way that I can sell cake pops. That was really where it ended.”
But that’s most definitely not where it ended for this “pretty extreme introvert”. So far, her largest order totaled around $4,000, and her cake pops have even appeared on national television!
Becca talks everything cake pops: making, pricing, sculpting, decorating, inverting, etc. She also shares her journey from art teacher to business owner, how she handles social media as an introvert, how she runs her business on two hours per day, and some crazy experiences she’s had along the way.
Patricia Bedford lives in Pflugerville, TX and mainly sells cupcakes and cakes with her cottage food business, Suga’s Cakery.
Patricia actually has an engineering degree and worked as an engineer for 10 years before she completely changed course and started her home bakery.
She has gained quite the following over the past 5 years, and she is now in the process of building a food truck to expand her business to meet customer demand.
Patricia shares her online marketing strategies for becoming a top ranked bakery in her area, how she created a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $17,000, and how she is transitioning her business to a food truck.
LAW UPDATE Since this page was last updated, Wyoming improved their food freedom law with a new bill (HB 118). As of July 1st, 2021, producers can now sell eggs under the law, and clarifies that there should be as few restrictions as possible for businesses using this law. Wyoming has the best cottage food… [read more]
NEW LAW As of May 5th, 2021, Utah passed a new bill (HB 94) which allows producers to run mini restaurants from their home. It is similar to California’s MEHKO law. Utah has two laws that allow for the sale of homemade food. This page is for Utah’s food freedom law, also known as the… [read more]
Utah has two laws that allow for the sale of homemade food. This page is for Utah’s cottage food law, which has existed since 2007. Utah also has a newer food freedom law, which is much easier to setup and allows many more types of food items, but is more restricted in other ways. If… [read more]
Dawn runs a home bakery near Atlanta, Georgia called Delights By Dawn, where she specializes in alcohol-infused desserts.
In 2014, Dawn left her lucrative career as a trial attorney to pursue baking full-time, and quickly became known for her cupcakes with an extra kick.
Dawn talks about the importance of research, what it takes to scale, how to make yourself memorable, and whether you should quit your day job.
What is it like to run a home bakery for 17 years? That is what Lauren Cortesi shares with us on this episode.
Lauren lives in Pennsylvania and started Bella’s Desserts in 2003. In addition to running her cottage food business, she occasionally teaches classes on starting a home baking business.
Lauren talks about the ups and downs of being a home baker, how a famous baker transformed her business, and why she has never wanted to open a brick and mortar bakery.
Pennsylvania is a bit different than other states in that it doesn’t have laws specific to cottage food operations, but the Department of Agriculture simply allows “limited food establishments” that meet specific guidelines. The application process is lengthy, but limited food establishments have a lot of flexibility once they’re setup. Unlike other states, in Pennsylvania, there are many similarities between the… [read more]
North Carolina is unlike any other state, in that it has a food program for home processors, yet it does not have laws in place to allow them. Other states have specific laws in place that override the federal laws that prohibit home-based food sales, but since North Carolina has no such laws, technically their… [read more]