Skip to main content

The Burnt Out Baker with Jenni Reher

Many prospective bakers dream about having a brick-and-mortar bakery someday, but few recognize the not-so-glamourous truth about what it takes to actually get there.

Jenni Reher lives in Mead, CO and started a vegan & gluten-free donut business named Rustic Donut back in 2015.

Initially she used her home kitchen under Colorado’s cottage food law, but eventually moved into a shared commercial kitchen in Loveland, CO so she could wholesale her donuts to coffee shops.

Over the course of 4 years, Jenni grew her bakery into a substantial business, with about 20 wholesale accounts that re-ordered every single week.

But then in 2019, when her business was doing better than ever, she decided to sell it to a vegan restaurant.

Why did she sell? Why did she want to quit? Why didn’t she pursue her initial dream of owning a brick-and-mortar?

In this episode, you’ll not only learn about great strategies about growing a vegan, donut, and/or wholesale bakery, but you’ll also get an honest look at what NOT to do so that you don’t end up burnt out at the height of your business.

Iowa Home Food Processing Establishment

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

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]

Indiana

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]

Tennessee

In 2022, Tennessee passed a food freedom law (HB 813) which entirely replaced their old law. The food freedom law removes almost all restrictions from the sale of nonperishable homemade foods. These food items can be sold anywhere in the state, including in-state shipping and indirect sales through retail stores. There is no sales limit,… [read more]

South Dakota

South Dakota first passed a cottage food law in 2010, and amended it in 2011, 2020, & 2022. Producers can sell all types of nonperishable foods, plus some types of foods that most states don’t allow: perishable baked goods, home canned goods, pesto, frozen fruit, etc. However, those selling the latter must follow certain requirements…. [read more]

South Carolina

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]

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]

The Dynamic Donut Duo with Amie Anderson & Jamie Krake

Amie Anderson & Jamie Krake live in Ypsilanti, MI and sell donuts (and other fun creations) with their cottage food business, It’s A Good Day Donuts.

Amie & Jamie planned to run a campground cafe in the summer of 2020, but the pandemic threw a huge wrench into their plans. “It was a disaster”, says Amie.

But during that effort they started making donuts, and people loved them! They sold them from home using Michigan’s cottage food law, and they haven’t looked back since.

Although they’ve sold thousands of donuts with their business so far, making money isn’t their primary goal.

Rather, their mission is to spread joy, not just to their local community, but within their family as well. Their business has been a source of fun during some very challenging times. “Donuts saved my life”, says Jamie.

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]

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.

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]

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.

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.

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.

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]

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.

From Failed Kickstarter to Successful Storefront with Melvin Roberson

These days, Dough Boy Donuts is a popular gourmet donut shop that is bustling with customers and employees, but it all started from very humble beginnings.

In 2014, Melvin Roberson used Texas’ cottage food law to start his donut business from his home kitchen. A year later, he expanded to a food truck, and eventually, to a brick-and-mortar location in Fort Worth, TX (now relocated to Burleson, TX).

Melvin has faced plenty of obstacles along the way, including negative customers, family feuds, and a failed Kickstarter campaign.

But through perseverance, sacrifice, and plenty of hard work, he has built a loyal customer base that keep coming back for one of his unique signature donuts, like the Sriracha Maple Bacon or The Last Call.

Melvin’s has a tremendous amount of experience in the food industry… before building a successful food business through three different stages (from home, food truck, storefront), he held just about every food service position available, ultimately managing hundreds of employees as the kitchen manager at a popular steakhouse.

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.

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]

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]

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.

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.

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]

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 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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]