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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.

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 […]

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

Wyoming has the best cottage food and food freedom law in the United States. They passed the Wyoming Food Freedom Act in 2015 (HB 56), making them the first state to eliminate most regulations on local homemade food sales. Unlike most states, Wyoming residents can sell ANY kind of food, as long as it does […]

Oklahoma

The Home Bakery Act of 2013 (HB 1094), which was amended in 2017 (SB 508), is one of the most restrictive cottage food laws in the United States. Producers can only sell certain types of baked goods, and sales are limited to $20,000 per year. However, unlike most cottage food laws, this law does allow some […]

Illinois Home Kitchen Operation

In 2014, Illinois passed an amendment to their previous “cottage food operations” law, which allows “home kitchen operations” (PA 098-0643 aka HB 5354). This specialized law is only for bakers, and unfortunately, it is not available in many counties across the state. Before anyone can use this law, their county must create an ordinance to allow it, […]

New York

New York’s law for home food processors comes with some restrictions, but for those who fall within the law’s requirements, it is fairly easy and inexpensive to start a home food business. Homemade food can be sold directly from home and at events (like farmers markets), but it cannot be sold indirectly through stores and […]

Florida

Florida passed an amendment (HB 1233) to their cottage food law in 2017, which allowed internet sales and raised the sales limit to $50,000. Florida now has a very good cottage food law, especially considering that it is very easy for a producer to start selling: no license, inspection, or training from the ag department […]

Utah

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 Home Consumption and Homemade Food Act (HB 181), which became law in 2018. Utah also has a cottage food law, which allows sales at more venues. Utah’s law closely follows the […]

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 […]

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.

North Dakota

North Dakota’s path to a cottage food law resembles a roller coaster ride, but not necessarily a fun one. Prior to 2017, the state did not have a cottage food law, but local health departments still allowed certain types of non-perishable foods to be sold at farmers markets, roadside stands, and some public events. Each […]

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 […]

Maryland

Maryland passed a very restrictive cottage food law (SB 550) in 2012, which limited sales to farmers markets and public events. In 2018, an amendment (HB 1106) passed to allow other in-person, direct sales in the state, including mail order sales. In 2019, an amendment (SB 290) passed to allow sales at retail stores and […]

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 […]

Arkansas

Arkansas created a cottage food law in 2011 (Act 72), and it was amended in 2017 (Act 399) and 2019 (Act 775). This law is somewhat limited, since it restricts allowed food to non-PHF foods in five categories (baked goods, candy, jams/jellies, fruit butters, and chocolate-covered fruit), and only allows direct sales from home and […]

California Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation

California’s bill (AB 626) which allows for “microenterprise home kitchen operations” was passed on September 18th, 2018 and went into effect on January 1st, 2019. Although the law is a first-of-its-kind and has been described as a “game-changer”, the reality is that the bill is so severely limited, it is unlikely to make much of […]

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 […]

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 […]

Alabama

Alabama created a cottage food law (SB 159) in 2014. Previously, this state only allowed homemade food sales at farmers markets. This cottage food law is relatively restrictive. It allows direct, in-person sales of many non-perishable food items. Cottage food operators must take a food safety training course and are limited to $20,000 of sales per year. […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

Illinois

Illinois has two different laws in place that allow the sale of homemade food. This page covers the older law, which is for “cottage food operations”. The newer law is for “home kitchen operations,” which you should use if you want to sell baked goods outside of farmers markets. Aside from being able to sell outside of farmers […]

Arizona

Arizona has one of the most successful cottage food programs of any state, with over 6,100 businesses registered as of May 2017. This success is in large part because Arizona has a very good cottage food law, and it continually gets supported and promoted by the health department. They have an excellent website that explains their cottage food law, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Delaware

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 a “cottage food establishment” (CFE) from their home kitchen. Although the cottage food law is much more expansive than it used to be, it […]

California

The California Homemade Food Act (also known as “AB 1616”) passed in California on September 21st, 2012 and went into effect on January 1st, 2013. The law is setup as a two-tier system, meaning that there are different levels of homemade food producers, depending on who they sell to. “Class A” cottage food operations can only […]

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 […]

Maine

Maine has had their “home food manufacturing” law in place since 1980, and it is still being used today. Although this law was created long before modern cottage food laws became popular, it is quite flexible and allows producers to sell many types of homemade food. To sell homemade food, producers need to get a […]

South Carolina

South Carolina’s cottage food laws are very basic and are intended to get someone started before opening a full-scale commercial operation. They only allow operators to make baked goods and candy, which is more restrictive than most other states. However, the main limitation is that they only allow $15,000 of sales per year. Sales must […]

Massachusetts

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 to start a home food business in MA than it is in other states. However, there are fewer restrictions: there is no sales limit, and […]

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 […]

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. […]

Montana

Montana’s new cottage food bill (HB 478) went into effect on October 1, 2015. This law is a major leap forward, allowing all forms of in-person sales within the state. Prior to this cottage food law, Montana only allowed some types of homemade goods to be sold at farmers markets. Cottage food operators need to register with their local […]

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 […]

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 […]

Tennessee

In 2012, Tennessee updated their home-based food laws to make it much easier for cooks to sell their homemade food. Although a license or inspection from the ag department is no longer required, producers can only sell in-person at certain venues. However, sellers may still utilize the older domestic kitchen law if they want to sell indirectly […]

Tennessee Domestic Kitchen

Tennessee has updated their laws to exempt basic home-based food processors from a license and kitchen inspection. However, they still allow home-based food businesses under the domestic kitchen law, which allows indirect sales to restaurants and retail stores. A domestic kitchen is much more difficult to setup, requiring training, permits, plans, and a home inspection. Domestic kitchens are […]

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 […]

Minnesota

Minnesota passed a new law in 2015 (SF 5) which greatly improves their former cottage food law, which used to be one of the most restrictive in the nation. Cottage food operations can now sell most types of non-potentially hazardous foods from home and at some local markets, and they can sell up to $18,000 of […]

Washington

Washington is probably the most difficult state for someone to get started as a cottage food operator. The application for a cottage food permit is very long, and it requires the applicant to complete many of the steps a full food processor would have to complete. Most states that require cottage food operators to jump […]

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 […]

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 […]

Kansas

Kansas does not appear to have any official law governing the sale of homemade foods, but the Department of Agriculture does allow most non-potentially hazardous foods to be sold at farmers markets and events, without needing a license from them. There are very few requirements to adhere to, and there is no sales limit, but products […]

Iowa Home Food Establishment

Unlike most states, Iowa allows home bakers to sell perishable baked goods, like cheesecakes, cream pies, and cakes with cream fillings. “Home Food Establishments” can sell their baked goods at any venue, but they are limited to $20,000 of sales per year. An annual license and inspection are required. In addition to this law, Iowa […]

Iowa

Iowa has two different laws for home cooks, depending on what they want to make. Producers that sell only non-potentially hazardous food products do not need any license or permit from the health department, but they can only sell at home or at farmers markets. There are no sales limitations, and the labeling requirements are […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

New Mexico

New Mexico’s cottage food requirements are the most complicated of any state. Although they place no limit on the amount of product the processor can sell, and they allow processors to sell a fair number of goods, the application process is not much easier than what a regular food processor would need to go through. […]

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, […]

District of Columbia

Washington D.C. passed the “Cottage Food Amendment Act of 2013” (B20-0168) at the end of 2013. The law allows cottage food operations to make a wide variety of food, but unfortunately they are only allowed to sell at farmers markets and other public events. Furthermore, CFOs are limited to $25,000 per year of sales.

Michigan

Michigan’s cottage food laws are somewhat limited, but many people use them and they are still one of the most active cottage food states. Many types of foods are allowed.  Fortunately, there is no need to obtain a license, which makes it very easy to start a cottage food business.  However, the laws are still […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 most canned goods. Each product […]

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 […]

Indiana

Indiana’s laws are restrictive in that sales are only allowed at farmers markets and roadside stands.  Aside from that, however, the laws are quite lenient.  They allow for any food below a certain pH value or water activity level, which basically allows nearly any kind of non-potentially hazardous food.  There is no registration, fees, or […]