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Living Off The Land with Beatrice Lattimore

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

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]

Illinois

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]

Tennessee

In 2017, Tennessee passed a bill (SB 1187) which greatly simplified their laws for selling homemade food. Tennessee’s law only allows direct sales, but that includes selling online and shipping within the state. All types of nonperishable foods are allowed, except for acidified foods (e.g. pickles, salsas, sauces). There is no sales limit, and a… [read more]

Creating A Smash Hit with Jill Baethge – Part 2

Jill’s cottage food business journey is nothing short of remarkable!

Jill Baethge lives in Plano, TX and sells unique chocolate piñata cakes with her cottage food business, Kaboom Chocolaka.

Ever since starting it in 2018, her business has exploded, and she has now created an entire product line for Michaels stores across the nation!

Yes, you read that right. Now anyone can buy her molds from the store and make her chocolate piñatas themselves!

Jill’s success is what so many entrepreneurs dream of. In fact, she can hardly believe it herself. “I just feel like I’m still dreaming,” says Jill.

How did she go from small cottage food business to nationally-recognized brand in just a few short years? That’s what you’ll learn in this two-part interview.

If you haven’t heard it yet, go back to the last episode (Part 1), where Jill shares how she built her chocolate piñata business from the ground up, including the many challenges along the way.

In this episode (Part 2), Jill shares how she created a product line of chocolate piñata molds for Michaels stores across the nation.

Creating A Smash Hit with Jill Baethge – Part 1

Jill’s cottage food business journey is nothing short of remarkable!

Jill Baethge lives in Plano, TX and sells unique chocolate piñata cakes with her cottage food business, Kaboom Chocolaka.

Ever since starting it in 2018, her business has exploded, and she has now created an entire product line for Michaels stores across the nation!

Yes, you read that right. Now anyone can buy her molds from the store and make her chocolate piñatas themselves!

Jill’s success is what so many entrepreneurs dream of. In fact, she can hardly believe it herself. “I just feel like I’m still dreaming,” says Jill.

How did she go from small cottage food business to nationally-recognized brand in just a few short years? That’s what you’ll learn in this two-part interview.

In this episode (Part 1), Jill shares how she built her chocolate piñata business from the ground up, including the many challenges along the way.

And in the next episode (Part 2), Jill shares how she created a product line of chocolate piñata molds for Michaels stores across the nation.

California

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]

California Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation

In 2018, California passed a new type of bill (AB 626), which allows for “microenterprise home kitchen operations” (MEHKOs). The law went into effect on January 1st, 2019. Under this first-of-its-kind law, home cooks can start micro-restaurants from home and sell virtually any kind of food. This varies greatly with most cottage food laws that… [read more]

Top Business Tips For Cottage Food Entrepreneurs

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.

A Little Bit of Joy with Tracy Mancuso

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.

Kentucky

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

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]

New Mexico

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

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]

Montana Cottage Food

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]

New York

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]

Oklahoma

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

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]

Arkansas

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

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

New Jersey has tried to pass countless cottage food bills, but one senator continues to prevent any of them from passing.

Florida

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

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]

Indiana

LAW UPDATE In 2021, Indiana passed a new bill (SB 185) that may improve their cottage food law in 2022. This bill creates a working group which is tasked with determining recommendations for cottage food businesses. Most likely, the group’s findings will be used to try to pass a bill in 2022 to improve the… [read more]

The Self-Taught Supermom with April Spencer

Running a successful custom cake business is a lot of work. Running a popular Etsy shop is also a lot of work. And taking care of young kids full-time is definitely a lot of work.

Meet April Spencer, who has managed to do all three AT THE SAME TIME!

April is a cake decorator and sugar artist who lives in Harrod, OH and sells impressive custom cakes and lollipops with her cottage food business, Spencer’s Sugar Shop.

In addition to running a very successful custom cake business from home, April also rented a commercial kitchen to sell her custom lollipops on Etsy and ship them across the nation. She’s currently put the Etsy business on pause due to the mass influx of weddings recently, but at one point she was shipping out over 30 custom lollipop orders per week!

As if running two businesses and a young family weren’t enough, April also manages to put a strong focus on her social media presence, and she now has thousands of social media followers.

How does she do it all? Nobody knows for sure, but listen in and learn how she went from knowing NOTHING about cake decorating to becoming one of the most popular bakers in her area in just a few short years.

The Resilient Baker with Justina Rucinski

In 2019, Justina Rucinski was sexually assaulted in her home in Burlington, IA when a supposed client came to pay for a cookie order. That traumatic event not only forever changed her life, but has also changed cottage food laws around the country.

Justina now lives in San Antonio, TX and continues to sell custom decorated cookies and cakes with her cottage food business, SweetEms.

After her horrific experience, she came very close to shutting down her business. But with massive support from bakers around the world, she has both resurrected it and become one of the most popular cottage food bakers in the United States!

In addition to her business success, Justina has become an advocate for the safety of all home bakers. Because of her story, many states no longer require cottage food producers to put their home address on their product labels.

In this emotional episode, Justina shares how the cottage food community helped lift her out of utter darkness, so that she could once again continue running the business that she loves so much!

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has two avenues for selling homemade food: this ruling, which allows baked goods, and the pickle bill, which allows some types of canned goods. Under this ruling, home cooks can sell their nonperishable baked goods directly to anyone in the state, and there is no limit on how much they can sell. Wisconsin tried… [read more]

Launching A Keto Bakery From Home with Sari Stevenson

Most food businesses go to a lot of effort marketing their products to customers, but not Sari!

Ever since Sari Stevenson opened The Keto Bakery Box in 2018, the demand for her products has been relentless. In that first year, she often had lines of customers waiting at her home to pick up their orders!

She started her business under California’s cottage food law, but she hit the $50,000 sales limit in less than a year, at which point she transitioned from her home kitchen to a commercial kitchen.

She now bakes her products in Costa Mesa, CA and sells most of them through a number of stores in Southern California.

Her secret? She spent many months (and countless test batches) creating keto-friendly baked foods that actually taste great! At the same time, the keto diet was becoming increasingly popular in her area, and nobody else was focused on selling baked goods like hers.

Sari is not only an expert in everything keto, but she is a certified ketogenic living health coach. In this episode, she not only shares her business journey, but also describes some of the common misconceptions of the increasingly popular keto diet trend.

Putting Yourself Out There with Beverly Clutter

It all started with a Facebook page. Back in 2018, Beverly Clutter decided to start showcasing her decorated cookies on social media, but she had no idea that it would soon turn into a business!

Beverly lives in Fairmont, WV and sells custom decorated sugar cookies, cakes, and other baked goods with her cottage food business, WV Cookie Jar.

At the recent national cottage food conference, Beverly earned the top spot on the leaderboard as the most active attendee (out of 900+ attendees), and her submissions into the photo contest were equally impressive.

Whether it is posting on social media, being hyper engaged at a conference, or teaching decorating classes to her local community, Beverly consistently puts herself (and her business) out there and focuses on serving others.

The result? A successful side business that has grown organically, brings her plenty of joy and freedom, and provides her family with some extra income.

From Part-time Hobby to Full-time Bakery with Jennifer Jacobs

As a successful TV producer, Jennifer Jacobs never thought she’d run her own business someday. But as coworkers discovered her delicious desserts, her baking hobby started turning into a little business back in 2013.

And now that little home business is booming, with customers sometimes lining up down the street to get her baked goods. Jennifer sells custom cakes, cookie sandwiches, and other baked desserts through her brick-and-mortar bakery, the Wandering Whisk Bakeshop, in Pinellas Park, FL.

Jennifer didn’t start out with a business or culinary school degree, but she did understand how to market her products. As a producer for the Home Shopping Network, she spent countless hours watching the TV hosts sell anything and everything.

But she has marketed her baking business completely organically, without ever paying for ads. She has a large Instagram following and has been showcased locally and nationally in newspapers, magazines, TV shows, and more.

In this episode, Jennifer shares how to grow your cottage food business from part-time hobby to full-time brick-and-mortar without spending a dime on advertising.

How To Build An Instagram-worthy Food Business with Safeera Inayath

When Safeera Inayath immigrated to the United States from India back in 2010, she had never baked a cake in her life. Now cakes ARE her life, and she has over 10,000 Instagram followers!

Safeera lives in Prior Lake MN, and sells custom cakes, macarons, and other baked goods with her cottage food business, Sugardust & Sprinkles.

Aside from creating amazingly elegant and high-end baked goods, Safeera’s food photos really stand out. Her photography looks truly professional, even though she takes all of her photos with a smartphone.

By investing in photography skills and focusing on Instagram, her business has taken off. Brands and organizations have contacted her with a variety of money-making opportunities, including teaching, promoting a brand’s products, and even designing new products.

From Sugar Geek to Online Influencer with Liz Marek – Part 2

With over 300,000 followers, Liz Marek has become very well-known in the cake decorating community! She lives in Beaverton, OR and teaches beginner and advanced bakers how to craft amazing custom-decorated cakes through her online business, The Sugar Geek Show.

Liz began her cake decorating business as a side job just 13 years ago. After running that business from her licensed home kitchen for many years, she started winning cake competitions and making more of a name for herself.

Liz has written books, appeared on television and the Food Network many times, and traveled around the world as a professional speaker. She is a mom to two young children, and she now focuses solely on teaching online through The Sugar Geek Show.

In this interview, Liz shares plenty of helpful tidbits about running a cake business, but what I found most compelling were her many missteps and consistent persistence along the way. Things often didn’t go the way she hoped or planned, but she still made something great out of it by constantly reinventing herself!

This is Part 2 of Liz’s interview. In this episode, Liz shares beginner tips for starting a cake business, what it was like to compete on (and win) Halloween Wars on the Food Network, and more about how the Sugar Geek Show has grown (and where it’s going).

From Sugar Geek to Online Influencer with Liz Marek – Part 1

With over 300,000 followers, Liz Marek has become very well-known in the cake decorating community! She lives in Beaverton, OR and teaches beginner and advanced bakers how to craft amazing custom-decorated cakes through her online business, The Sugar Geek Show.

Liz began her cake decorating business as a side job just 13 years ago. After running that business from her licensed home kitchen for many years, she started winning cake competitions and making more of a name for herself.

Liz has written books, appeared on television and the Food Network many times, and traveled around the world as a professional speaker. She is a mom to two young children, and she now focuses solely on teaching online through The Sugar Geek Show.

In this interview, Liz shares plenty of helpful tidbits about running a cake business, but what I found most compelling were her many missteps and consistent persistence along the way. Things often didn’t go the way she hoped or planned, but she still made something great out of it by constantly reinventing herself!

In fact, by the end of this episode, you will learn that if things had gone the way that she planned, she almost certainly wouldn’t be where she is today.

South Carolina

South Carolina created a cottage food law in 2012, which was amended in 2018 to remove some limitations. This law for “home-based food production operations” allows an operator to sell nonperishable “candy and baked goods” directly to consumers at most sales venues, like farmers markets, events, and from home. There is no sales limit, but… [read more]

Michigan

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]

Dads Can Cake Too with Jeremy Davis

Jeremy Davis is no ordinary dad! On top of working a full-time job and helping his kids with their homework, activities, etc, he runs his lucrative custom cake business, Designed By Daddy, from his home in Charlotte, MI.

But that’s not all. Last year, Jeremy went from being a longtime fan of Food Network competitions to actually participating in one, and then winning it! Then he appeared on Good Morning America, and now he will be back on the Food Network in a couple weeks (March 1st, 2021) for another baking contest.

Unlike most people, marketing his business was the easy part. The hard part was learning how to bake and decorate cakes, since his wife did “all the cooking” in their family, and he considered his former self a “horrible artist”.

If you want to learn how to build a strong social media presence, you won’t want to miss this one. Jeremy breaks down Instagram’s algorithm, and also describes how he used local Facebook groups to build a following quickly.

In addition to sharing an effective social media strategy and giving us a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be on the Food Network, Jeremy talked about cake pricing, dealing with customers, and why he thinks men usually don’t decorate cakes!

Iowa

Iowa has two different laws for home cooks, both of which predate most modern cottage food laws. Iowa has been allowing sales of homemade food since at least the 1980s. First, Iowa has an exemption that allows producers can sell most types of non-perishable food products from home and at farmers markets, without needing any… [read more]

Iowa Home Bakery

Unlike most states, Iowa allows home bakers to sell many types of baked goods, including perishable baked goods, like cheesecakes, cream pies, and cakes with cream fillings. Home bakeries can sell their baked goods at any venue, but they are limited to $35,000 of sales per year. An annual license and inspection are required. In… [read more]

From Breast Cancer Battle to Busy Baking Biz with Lisa Petrizzi-Geller

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

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]

Maryland

Maryland passed a very restrictive cottage food law (SB 550) in 2012, which limited sales to farmers markets and public events. Then from 2018 – 2020, three amendments significantly improved the law. In 2018, HB 1106 allowed other in-person, direct sales in the state, including mail order sales. In 2019, SB 290 allowed sales at… [read more]

District of Columbia

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]

13 Years Old and Already In Business with Lauren Inazu

Lauren Inazu isn’t your average 13-year-old girl. When she was 8, she recruited friends to sell and market her lemonade stand, Lauren’s Sweet Treats. In 5th grade, she started a school newspaper. And now, she recently launched a cottage food business.

Lauren lives in St. Louis, MO and sells all sorts of baked goods with her new business, Count It All Joy.

Between school, homework, piano lessons, sports, youth group, clubs, and Bible study, Lauren is somehow finding time to fulfill baking orders. Sometimes she likes to surprise her classmates with that fact: “I think it’s always kind of fun to be like, ‘Oh yeah, I just have to go make four dozen cookies tonight for an order.’ And they’re like, ‘An order?'”

Lauren may be one of the most ambitious and mature 13-year-olds I have ever met, but she is not unique in wanting to make a little dough from her baked goods. Many kids reach out to me to ask if it is legal for them to sell their creations.

In this episode, Lauren shares what she’s learned about legally starting her cottage food business as a 13-year-old, in hopes of inspiring other young entrepreneurs to try it out as well.

How To Start A Vegan & Gluten-Free Bakery From Scratch with Noel Martinez

Cuban-inspired, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, organic, low-carb, allergy-friendly, diet-specific, healthy… Noel’s baked goods are certainly unique!

Noel Martinez runs his highly specialized bakery, Mami’s Bakes, from his home kitchen in Pittsburg, PA.

Noel started baking gluten-free for himself when he was diagnosed with celiac disease 20 years ago. Then he started baking sugar-free and low-carb for his “Mami” (mom), who had diabetes.

After Mami passed away in 2019, Noel finally decided to start selling the baked goods that his family and friends had raved about for years.

He started selling to coworkers, and soon enough, they were keeping him busy with orders every week. They also had no problem paying top dollar ($40 for a coffee cake, anyone?) for his products, even though most of them had no diet-specific needs!

Only 6 months in, Noel is still in the early stages of his business. Despite his consistent sales and enthusiastic customers, there are growing pains as well.

Noel shares a view into the ground floor of a new business, including his process for improving recipes, pricing products, building an email list, attracting raving fans, sourcing ingredients, and finding time to run a side business while working two part-time jobs.

Marketing Cake Art with Jennifer Lopez & Emily Blattel – Part 2

Over the past decade, Jennifer Lopez and Emily Blattel have sold dozens of custom cakes that run the gamut from elegant buttercream cakes to realistic cake sculptures. The results are always exceptional, and sometimes they are nearly unbelievable!

This dynamic duo runs The Cake Mom & Co. from their homes in Paducah, KY and Scott City, MO.

Because they are both amazing cake decorators, I thought this interview would be focused solely on cake artistry.

But they ended up touching on so many facets of running a cake business that I had to split this episode into two parts. This is Part 2, and you can listen to Part 1 here.

In this second half of the interview, they covered startup advice, the ordering and design process, business partnerships, social media platforms, cake supplies, promotional giveaways, and cake competitions.

Jennifer also explained how she helped changed Kentucky’s cottage law, even though she initially had no intention of spearheading that effort!

Marketing Cake Art with Jennifer Lopez & Emily Blattel – Part 1

Over the past decade, Jennifer Lopez and Emily Blattel have sold dozens of custom cakes that run the gamut from elegant buttercream cakes to realistic cake sculptures. The results are always exceptional, and sometimes they are nearly unbelievable!

This dynamic duo runs The Cake Mom & Co. from their homes in Paducah, KY and Scott City, MO.

Because they are both amazing cake decorators, I thought this interview would be focused solely on cake artistry.

But they ended up touching on so many facets of running a cake business that I had to split this episode into two parts. This is Part 1.

In this first half of the interview, they covered their startup journey, online marketing strategies, photography, pricing, delivery, and many stories of their triumphs and near-failures.

Make sure you listen to the end to hear the “beach cake” story, which led Emily and I to agree that Jennifer is a veritable “crazy cake lady”!

Engineering A Successful Home Cakery & Food Truck with Patricia Bedford

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.

Baking A Difference with Kathy Cherie

Whether it’s putting a smile on an ill child’s face, delivering a stunning floral wedding cake, or contacting state legislators to change the law, Kathy Cherie is always baking a difference in her community.

Kathy lives in Elk Grove Village, IL and has operated her cottage food business, Cake Du Jour, for nearly 40 years. Her business is somewhat under-the-table, except that her health department has known about it for decades.

Kathy would love to help the next generation of bakers in Illinois do what she could not: run a home bakery legally. Her county (Cook) still doesn’t allow home kitchen operations, so she continues to advocate for a statewide law.

Although she loves baking for all occasions, she especially loves donating “dream cakes” through the charity Icing Smiles, where she gets to support families with a critically ill child. She has made over 20 dream cakes so far.

In addition to her charitable and legal efforts, Kathy talks about making photorealistic sugar flowers (her specialty), gives pricing advice for custom cakes, and shares tips on how cake decorators can improve their skills.

Wyoming

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]

Utah

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 Cottage Food

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]

From Lawyer To Boozy Baker with Dawn Belisle

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.

Selling Homemade Desserts for 17 Years with Lauren Cortesi

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.

Nebraska

Nebraska passed a bill (LB 304) in 2019 which greatly expanded their cottage food law. Before that, homemade food could only be sold at farmers markets. Producers can sell any type of non-perishable food at farmers markets, public events, from home, and online. For sales outside of farmers markets, producers must complete a food safety… [read more]

Texas

Texas passed an amendment (HB 970) to their cottage food law in September 2013, which greatly loosened the restrictions of their original cottage food law (SB 81). In 2019, they passed another amendment (SB 572) which greatly expanded it again. After many attempts to improve the law, Texas now has a good cottage food law. Producers can sell anywhere… [read more]

West Virginia

West Virginia has one of the best cottage food laws in the country. For many years, they had very specific and restrictive laws which only allowed a few types of food items to be sold at farmers markets. Then in 2018, they passed a new law which expanded the allowed foods list but still restricted… [read more]

Alaska

Alaska’s cottage food law is fairly flexible, though only direct, in-person sales are allowed, and producers are limited to $25,000 of sales per year. The law allows most non-potentially hazardous foods, including many items that are not allowed in other states, like soda and some types of fruit juices. Some higher-risk products need to be tested to… [read more]

Maryland On-Farm Home Processing

Maryland allows farmers to get a special On-Farm Home Processing License to sell certain types of homemade food. However, most people use Maryland’s cottage food law (which does not require a permit or training from the health department) to sell their homemade food. This older law is useful for farmers who: Want to sell food products… [read more]

Hawaii

Hawaii does not have a cottage food law, but it is possible to sell certain types of homemade food at events with a temporary food establishment permit.

Connecticut

After many years of consistent effort, Connecticut finally created a usable cottage food law (PA 18-141 or SB 193) that went into effect on October 1st, 2018. Before then, only farmers could sell homemade food. Farmers can still use the Residential Farm law to sell certain types of canned goods. This law allows the direct… [read more]

Colorado

The “Colorado Cottage Foods Act” began in 2012 and was amended in 2013, 2015, and 2016 (read about the history of the act). 2016’s amendment (SB 16-058) added all non-PHF foods to the approved list (including pickled items) and enabled internet sales within the state. The current law restricts producers to direct sales only, but no license from… [read more]

Missouri

Missouri requires every county to have cottage food laws, but each county has their own separate laws. However, there is currently a bill in place to develop state-wide laws.

Delaware On-Farm Home Processing

Delaware’s cottage food law allows individuals to sell many homemade products, but the setup process is fairly complicated, and sales are limited to $25,000 per year. This page explains Delaware’s separate law for on-farm home processing, which is more limited in some ways, but for those who meet the requirements, it allows more sales and may be easier… [read more]

Delaware

LAW UPDATE Since this page was last updated, Delaware has changed their cottage food law. Please see the cottage food regulations to learn more. For over a decade, Delaware’s cottage food law was only available to farmers. In September 2016, the health department created and enacted some new rules that allow many more people to start… [read more]

Ohio

Ohio’s cottage food law does not require any licensing from the ag department, and there is no sales limit, but the law limits producers in other ways. Rather than allowing all direct sales, operations can only sell their items at specific types of venues, which does include a couple indirect (wholesale) channels, like selling to a… [read more]

Maine

NEW LAW Since this page was last updated, Maine created a new food sovereignty law, which allows some municipalities to remove most restrictions on homemade food. You should check with local officials to see if there is an ordinance that enables this law in your area. Maine has had their “home food manufacturing” law in… [read more]

Massachusetts

UPDATE Since this page was last updated, Boston created an ordinance to allow residential kitchens, so now Boston residents can use the cottage food law. Massachusetts developed its law for “residential kitchens” in 2000, well before cottage food laws became common. Residential kitchens are considered “food establishments” (like their commercial counterparts), so it is harder… [read more]

Nevada

Nevada’s cottage food law (SB 206) allows many different types of food products to be sold, but it is restricted in most other ways. Cottage food operators must make all of their sales in-person, and they are limited to $35,000 of sales per year. There are four health districts that register cottage food operations in the… [read more]

Idaho

Idaho has allowed for the sale of low-risk homemade foods for years, but is just now codifying their practices into state rules. The new proposed rules were passed in January 2016, and they should become effective by April 2016. However, it is currently possible to directly sell cottage foods, and the below information describes current practices…. [read more]

Oregon

Oregon’s new cottage food law (SB 320) went into effect on January 1st, 2016, which makes starting a cottage food operation much easier. Although the new law comes with many more restrictions, those who want more flexibility can still get a Domestic Kitchen license. Also, Oregon’s Farm Direct Bill allows farmers and growers to bypass many requirements. Starting… [read more]

Oregon Domestic Kitchen

Oregon’s laws for domestic kitchens are not the easiest when it comes to getting licensed, but they give producers a lot of freedom once they are setup. However, there are some strict requirements, like never allowing pets in the producer’s home. Those who want an easier setup and fewer requirements (but more restrictions) can use Oregon’s… [read more]

Mississippi

Prior to 2013, Mississippi only allowed sales of homemade food at farmers markets, but they passed a new cottage food bill (SB 2553) that year to allow in-person sales at other venues as well. However, individuals can now sell only $35,000 of homemade food per year. Fortunately, many types of food products are allowed, and it’s very… [read more]

Pennsylvania

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]

Ohio Home Bakery

Although Ohio has a good cottage food law, it has another law which allows home bakers to sell perishable baked goods, like cheesecakes and cream pies. Home bakeries can also use the cottage food law to sell certain non-baked products, though those sales would need to adhere to that law’s stricter rules. Home bakeries must be… [read more]

Virginia Home Food Processing Operation

Unlike almost every other state, Virginia allows people to operate very unrestricted food businesses out of their homes. Their food laws are very different than most states, written in such a way that there is not any distinction between a food business that uses a commercial kitchen versus a home kitchen. Instead, the distinction is provided by… [read more]

Virginia

Virginia allows producers to make certain types of food from home without needing a license or inspection from the ag department. The information on this page only pertains to operations that do not get their home kitchen inspected. If you want to make more types of food or to sell in more venues, you can… [read more]

New Hampshire

New Hampshire essentially has a two-tier system. For those wishing to sell low quantities of product at farmers markets and from home, there is very little process to get setup, and the details are listed below. For operators wanting to sell more product at any venue, they must apply for a Homestead License, which is… [read more]

Louisiana

Louisiana’s cottage food law (Act 542) was started in 2013 and amended in 2014. The amendment (HB 1270) greatly increased the number of foods allowed, and it also increased the amount of regulations CFOs must follow. There is a sales limit of $20,000 per year. Unlike every other law, Louisiana imposes specific restrictions on preparers of breads, cakes, cookies,… [read more]

New Hampshire Homestead

The laws for those with a Homestead License in New Hampshire are much more lenient than a homestead food operation, as they allow operators to sell at any venue with no limitation for how much they can sell.  However, there is a significant application process that will take some time.  Aside from the $225 cost,… [read more]

Georgia

Georgia’s cottage food laws are pretty good, though it takes some effort for cottage food operators to get setup initially.  Operators must have a business license, take a training course, send in an application, and get their home inspected before they can get their cottage food license.  However, once setup, they are not limited to a… [read more]

Vermont

Vermont was the first state to create laws specifically for home bakers, and they still lead the way as one of the only states to allow almost any food item to be produced and sold from the home.  Like most states, Vermont has a specific Home Bakery license for those that only want to sell… [read more]

South Dakota Home Sales

In 2011, South Dakota created some extra legislation to extend the Home-Processed Foods Law.  This allows bakers to sell their food directly from home, and it limits yearly sales to only $5,000.  It also doesn’t allow non-baked goods, like jams and preserves, but baked goods do include candy and confections.  There is no registration required… [read more]

South Dakota

South Dakota has fairly flexible laws, but processors that want to sell directly out of their home must follow different rules. The laws, which were established in 2010, allow the processor to sell their goods in-person at markets and events. They allow most baked goods, as well as candies and many canned goods. Canned goods… [read more]

North Carolina

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]