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]
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… [read more]
Jana LaViolette of Clovis, NM shares her incredible journey from cottage food to food truck to storefront, and how she overcame many obstacles by constantly trying new things and never giving up
Wisconsin has two avenues for selling homemade food: this ruling, which allows the sale of nonperishable baked goods, and the pickle bill, which allows the sale of some types of canned goods. Under this ruling, home cooks can only sell nonperishable baked goods directly to anyone in the state, and there is no limit on… [read more]
Susan Ting of Needham, MA shares how quitting her corporate job and facing burnout led her to start a cottage food bakery where she sells very unique and high-end gluten-free mochi desserts
Alisa Woods of Des Moines, IA shares how she promotes her home bakery by networking with others, getting TV spots, building Instagram followers, competing in state fairs, and living in the moment
Leah Livingston of Kenosha, WI shares how two personal tragedies led her to build a successful custom decorated cookie business that allowed her to quit her job and eventually expand into a storefront
Barbara Williford of DeBerry, TX shares how she built a cottage food bakery with her daughter and grew it into a full-time business by networking with others and giving back to her community
Mike Skyring of South Lyon, MI shares how he started a gourmet cookie bakery totally by accident, and how he quickly grew it into a very successful business by leveraging many marketing techniques
Emily Vanlandingham of New Orleans, LA runs a home bakery that focuses on school celebrations, and shares the triumphs, lessons, and challenges that have come from creating her very unique business
Jen Morris shares so many lessons from her crazy journey building a popular cupcake business in Collingdale, PA, including promoting yourself, scaling up, getting published, and validating products
Christina Marquez of Antioch, IL shares how she built a cottage food bakery amidst many life challenges by following her passion, caring deeply about her customers, and focusing on serving others
Amanda Schonberg of Baton Rouge, LA shares tons of business tips for generating more sales, building a following, managing mindset, improving time, growing an email list, and scaling up a bakery
Fawzeya Owda of Norwood, OH shares her unique journey from home bakery to commercial kitchen when her Palestinian-inspired cheesecake allowed her to build her own American Dream to support her family
Carla Jones-Harris of Pennsauken, NJ shares her 30-year journey of starting a successful gluten-free and vegan bakery after facing many painful setbacks that tried to get in her way
Heather & Corrie Miracle of Fairfax, VA share their top advice for cottage food entrepreneurs based on what they’ve learned from creating their very successful paid membership filled with raving fans
Twins Heather & Corrie Miracle of Fairfax, VA share the backstory that led them to create their extremely popular Facebook group about marketing for sugar cookiers and other cottage food entrepreneurs
In 2022, Rhode Island passed H 7123, becoming the last state to allow all residents to sell homemade food. Prior to 2022, Rhode Island only had their Farm Home Food Manufacture law, which 99.8% of residents couldn’t use. This law allows anyone (not just farmers) to register as a “cottage food manufacturer”, which costs $65… [read more]
This law is for farmers that sell over $2,500 of agricultural products per year. Non-farmers must use the Cottage Food Manufacture law, and farmers can use both laws. For 20 years (until 2022), this was Rhode Island’s only cottage food law. Under this law, farmers can sell many types of nonperishable products, and there is… [read more]
Tiliwannia Ealey of Lithia Springs, GA sells popcorn and other homemade treats, and shares her struggles with finding the time to run her business, as well as achieving consistent sales.
Annette Conrad of Mequon, WI shares how she massively scaled her home-based custom decorated cookie business by building a team, optimizing systems, and selling to event planners and corporate clients.
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.
Missouri has two different laws that allow homemade food sales, which combine to create an overall good cottage food law. Producers can use both laws, if they’d like. Missouri’s other cottage food law allows producers to sell most nonperishable foods at events and roadside stands, with very few restrictions. Missouri created this law in 2014… [read more]
Amanda Luecke of Maple Grove, MN shares how she built a thriving custom decorated cookie business with over 26k Instagram followers by focusing on her customers, community, & family.
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 changed non-potentially hazardous to non- time/temperature control for safety (TCS) food. Non-TCS products do not contain meat, poultry, fish, or whole eggs and do not require refrigeration for safety. These food items can be sold… [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]
Amy Wong & Lawrance Combs of Cupertino, CA sell massive cookies and share how they went from launching their business on Instagram to raising over $150k to expand their wildly popular cookie bakery.
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]
Janna Paterno of Charleston, WV shares why she wasn’t making money in her custom-decorated cookie business, despite having phenomenal decorating skills and more customers than she could ask for.
Beatrice Lattimore from Deland, FL shares how her family moved from the city into the country to start a farm and live off the land, and how she used the cottage food law to sell value-added products.
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]
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]
In this special 50th episode of The Forrager Podcast, hear from 16 Facebook group owners who share some of their best tips about starting and growing a cottage food business.
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]
Whitney Singletary of Berkeley, CA shares many of the obstacles she faced to build a successful nut-flavored cookie business from her driveway and eventually grow into a brick-and-mortar storefront.
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]
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]
Cake decorator and sugar artist April Spencer from Harrod, OH shares how she sells custom cakes and lollipops from home and on Etsy while being a nearly full-time stay-at-home mom of 3 young children.
Eric Sorensen from Pullman, WA shares how he runs a profitable small side business in retirement by selling sourdough bread, bagels, pretzels, cookies, and more from his driveway and farmers markets.
Justina Rucinski from Burlington, IA shares how she resurrected her custom cookie business after being sexually assaulted by a supposed client, and how her experience impacted the cottage food industry.
Sari Stevenson of Costa Mesa, CA shares how she started a keto bakery and sold over $50,000 of homemade baked goods within the first year, leading her to move into a commercial kitchen to keep growing.
Beverly Clutter of Fairmont, WV shares how she organically built her successful side business by showcasing her custom decorated cookies on social media and focusing on serving others in her community.
Jennifer Jacobs of Pinellas Park, FL shares how to organically grow your cottage food business from part-time hobby to full-time brick-and-mortar without spending a dime on advertising.
Safeera Inayath of Prior Lake, MN sells elegant custom cakes & macarons from her home kitchen, and shares how she grew to 10k Instagram followers by improving her photos and cultivating partnerships.
Debbie George of Gilbert, AZ shares how she sold over 10,000 homemade custom cookies in her first year of business by going all-in, networking with other businesses, and focusing on B2B sales.
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]
Lisa Petrizzi-Geller from Berkley, MA shares what she’s learned from selling thousands of homemade & custom-decorated cake pops, chocolate-covered Oreos, and other treats at tons of events.
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 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]
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]
Barry Sherman and his life partner Scott, from Tampa Bay, FL, run an eco-friendly, socially-conscious, high-end cookie business by using compostable packaging and giving a portion of sales to charity.
Lauren Inazu of St. Louis, MO 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.
Nicole Pomije of Minneapolis, MN shares how she infused her marketing skills into a unique cookie concept to grow a home food business into two brick-and-mortar storefronts in just a few years.
Noel Martinez of Pittsburgh, PA sells Cuban-inspired, diet-specific, homemade baked goods. He shares some of the successes and struggles of growing his new business while working two part-time jobs.
Mallory Dies, from Stafford, VA, shares many creative marketing ideas that she learned from selling homemade gourmet cookie sandwiches, and how she developed a significant following on social media.
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]
Tina Karnath from Saginaw, MI owns a plethora of cookie cutters and decorates hundreds of custom-designed cookies each week. She talks about pricing, resources, and what she’s learned over the years.
Kevin Martino, owner of Chef Kev’s Specialty Foods in Concord, CA, talks about wholesaling homemade flavored peanuts to breweries, how he’s grown his business, and his plans for the future.
Lisa Kivirist talks about living off the land, moving away from the corporate life-style, creatively packaging products, diversifying income streams, advocating for laws, and everything in between.
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]
Lauren Cortesi talks about the realities of running a home bakery for 17 years, how to price products correctly, and the benefits of hiring a business coach. She owns Bella’s Desserts in Pennsylvania.
David Crabill talks about how to start a cottage food business from your home kitchen by using your state’s cottage food law, and how to validate your product idea with paying customers.
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 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 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’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 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 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.
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]
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]
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]
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’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]
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]
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’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 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’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’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]
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 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]
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]
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 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 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’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. In 2022, the sales limit increased to $30,000 per year (HB 828) . Unlike every other law, Louisiana imposes specific restrictions… [read more]
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’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]
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]