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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.

QuasItaliano

Traditional Italian cookies baked fresh to order by a registered Louisville home baker. Biscotti, baci, occhi, anginetti, amaretti and more. See all varieties, prices and promotions listed at Facebook page @quasitaliano. Kitchen contains nuts, gluten, dairy. Cash, Paypal, Venmo, Zelle. Prepay required. Delivery available in Metro Louisville.

Go Big AND Go Home with Debbie George

We often hear the same entrepreneurial advice: Start simple. Start small. Start a side hustle. Don’t throw all your eggs in one basket.

But when Debbie George started her custom decorated cookie business, she threw caution to the wind and took the opposite approach: go big or go home!

Except that Debbie pulled off the rare feat of going big AND going home! At the beginning of 2020, she started her cottage food business, Cookie Mill, from her home kitchen in Gilbert, AZ.

For starters, she bought seemingly every kitchen gadget or appliance available. A cookie oven, industrial mixer, 3D printer, edible printer, silhouette machine, dehydrator, dough sheeter, projector, stainless steel counters/racks, etc… all told, she invested in about $20k of equipment in the first year.

And most notably, she bought this equipment before she even needed it.

And you know what? It worked! In that first year, she sold over 10,000 cookies!

This episode starts off with a crazy story about how she attended Cookie Con, and by the end, you’ll see a consistent trend of how Debbie’s positive mindset allows things to work in her favor.

It’s not just positive thinking though. Debbie is an expert networker, and she shares some great tips on how to network with other businesses.

Unlike most custom cookie makers, Debbie sells mostly to businesses by focusing on a B2B model (business to business), instead of catering to weddings, birthdays, graduations, etc with a more typical B2C model (business to consumer).

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 […]

Arkansas

Arkansas created a cottage food law in 2011 (Act 72), and it was amended in 2017 (Act 399), 2019 (Act 775), and 2021 (Act 306). 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 […]

Crushing It With Caramel Corn with Kathy Sing

Kathy Sing started her caramel corn business 7 years ago, thinking it would just be a fun hobby for about a year or so.

Well, here we are 7 years later, and Kathy’s Kernels in Visalia, CA is definitely not a hobby. Kathy is busier than ever, and she did almost $50k of sales last year!

Kathy’s treats would sell very well at farmers markets and local events, but unlike most cottage food entrepreneurs, she skipped over those and went straight into selling through retail stores.

After just one year, she was already selling in 15 stores!

How did she do it? What does it feel like to make $50k worth of treats from home? Kathy breaks it all down for us in this episode.

Backcountry Herbs

Homegrown and Wildcrafted herbs. Specializing in dried herbs from Eastern Idaho.   The bulk of our herbs are, homegrown and ethically wild-crafted from places in the back-country where most people don’t venture.  We hunt, gather, grow and process all our herbs ourselves with consideration for the best quality, freshness and care for the environment.   Our stock […]

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 […]

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!

Bella’s Bakery LLC

Bella’s Bakery is a home based bakery out of East Montpelier, Vermont! A banker by day, and a baker by night, I strive to provide the sweetest treats and tasties to you and your family for any occasion! College care package? Loss of a loved one? Birthday or holiday celebration? I have something for everyone! […]

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 […]

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 […]

Bold Branding & Even Bolder Spice Blends with Jennifer Knox

As a creative writer and published poet, Jennifer Knox was never in it for the money. But when she made $6,000 in one weekend from selling her salt blends, she knew she was on to something!

Jennifer sells unique, preservative-free spice blends with her business, Saltlickers, which she runs from a commercial kitchen in her home in Nevada, IA.

Jennifer’s branding is fearless and unforgettable. Each of her salt or sugar blends have a creative product name like Das Bigfoot, Queen of Tarts, or Herky Perky.

Although her marketing skills spark people’s interest, it’s the products themselves that keep customers coming back again and again.

After using her home kitchen for many years, Jennifer and her husband converted their basement into a commercial kitchen so that they could sell in retail stores and ship their products nationwide.

And in 2020, although Jennifer’s farmers market closed down due to the pandemic, she used email marketing to stay in touch with her fanbase and keep on selling.

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, […]

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 […]

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. […]

Bringing Artisan European Bread To America with Yuliya Childers

When Yuliya Childers moved from Ukraine to the United States, she lost one of the most fundamental staples from her homeland: good bread.

Yuliya is a classically-trained pianist, but when she started making the sourdough bread from her childhood, she found that others wanted a slice as well.

She now lives in Prattville, AL and has fully shifted from a musical career to running her home artisan bread business, Wild Yeast Kitchen.

Yuliya’s story is one of passion, dedication, and plain hard work. Every single Friday, she works for 24+ hours straight to prepare a couple hundred loaves and pastries for her Saturday market.

She also runs a bread subscription service, with many customers getting her delicious items every single week. And she does all of this bread making from one regular home oven!

Yuliya shares some amazing stories in this episode, including her immigration story, the time she brought a customer to tears, and how she sold bread for many years to pay for bread school.

13 Years Old and Already In Business

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.

Turning A Kitchen Mistake Into A Thriving Business with Nicole Pomije

It all started with the wrong baking pan. Back in 2014, Nicole Pomije couldn’t find a cookie sheet in her home kitchen, so she made her chocolate chip cookies in a mini muffin tin instead.

And with that, the idea for The Cookie Cups was born: cookies that look like mini cupcakes. Nicole started her business out of her home kitchen in 2015, and she has now expanded into two brick-and-mortar storefronts near Minneapolis, MN.

Although it might seem like Nicole’s unique idea set her up for success, it’s more likely that her many years of marketing, PR, and management experience played a much larger role.

While the cookie-in-cupcake-form is still at the core of her business, Nicole has now expanded well beyond selling cookies. She’s managed to put all kinds of food items into mini cupcake form, such as tacos, mac & cheese, pizza, etc. She now caters events, hosts birthday parties, teaches cooking classes, and has most recently created at-home baking kits in response to the pandemic.

Nicole talks about the importance of sharing your story, managing time, starting simple, building a local following, and constantly being willing to try new things.

Hurd Stirs by Hurd Creations

We are not an official business, just a family working together to teach our son about entrepreneurship and selling our product at local Farmers Markets. My son leads a small lemonade stand and I handcraft products to sell in conjunction with his endeavors. I only make a few food-based products, but also have other non-edible […]

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 […]

From Art Teacher to Cake Pop Artist with Becca Aronowitz

Becca Aronowitz from Richmond Hill, GA makes some of the best cake pops you have ever seen.

After Becca quit her job as an art teacher in 2012, she started Sweet Whimsy Shop to sell her cake pops and help support her family.

8 years and 40,000+ cake pops later, Becca has become a true master at the cake pop art form.

But unlike many entrepreneurs that start with big dreams for the future, Becca never envisioned becoming well-known for her cake pops.

As she puts it: “I had not thought about that at all. I just thought this is a way that I can sell cake pops. That was really where it ended.”

But that’s most definitely not where it ended for this “pretty extreme introvert”. So far, her largest order totaled around $4,000, and her cake pops have even appeared on national television!

Becca talks everything cake pops: making, pricing, sculpting, decorating, inverting, etc. She also shares her journey from art teacher to business owner, how she handles social media as an introvert, how she runs her business on two hours per day, and some crazy experiences she’s had along the way.

Creative Ways to Market Cookies with Mallory Dies

For Mallory, it all started with a chocolate chip cookie. But that was just the beginning!

Mallory Dies, owner of The Crassy Cookie in Stafford, VA, tried selling many variations and flavors of her drop cookies, and ultimately found the most success with her innovative gourmet cookie sandwiches.

These cookie sandwiches are certainly unique. They range from “safe” flavors like rainbow chip, strawberry shortcake, or choco fudge brownie, all the way to more “oddball” flavors like blueberry lemon-lavandula, fruity pebbles, and matcha munchie.

Mallory shares how she slowly built a customer base (twice) and had self-doubts along the way. As an introvert, she resisted putting herself into her brand, but eventually “bit the bullet” and started developing significant engagement on social media.

She also shares many marketing ideas that have worked well for her business, like creating monthly boxes, adding bonuses to orders, and promoting her products in local Facebook groups.

Despite the many challenges with selling basic drop cookies (short shelf life, low perceived value, etc), Mallory has found many ways to make a cookie business work well for her.

Crystal Bakes

Welcome to Crystal Bakes! I am a girl who simply loves to bake and making people happy. I’m a proud mom of two beautiful kids who started out just wanting to make my kids birthday cake dreams come true, and well here i am loving what i do.

Selling Custom Macarons From Home with Nicole Barry

Nicole Barry is a classically-trained French pastry chef and an expert macaron maker. But after working long hours in 5-star hotels and restaurants, Nicole and her husband started a family, and she wanted to stay at home with the kids.

In 2016, Nicole started Bake Toujours, a cottage food business in Pasadena, CA which allowed her to take her skills to the farmers market. She built a customer base and generated a decent side income, even though she could only work 3 hours per day while her kids were in school.

Nicole’s macarons really stand out. Her Instagram feed showcases so many different flavors, color swirls, decorations, and custom shapes: unicorns, rainbows, strawberries, foxes, flowers, and even Eeyore!

In 2019, she took her skills to YouTube, where she posts amazingly high-quality videos and tutorials. Within a year, she accrued over 10k subscribers, with over 150k views on her most popular video!

Nicole now lives in Portland, OR, and she has put her cottage food business on hold while she focuses on her growing YouTube audience.

In this episode, Nicole shares many tips on making and selling macarons, as well as her transition from prestigious restaurants to farmers markets to YouTube.

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”!

Maple Cottage Market – delicious home made produce from Virginia

Maple Cottage Market in Culpeper, VA provides delicious home grown and home made produce. Fresh eggs laid daily by The Girls; our flock of 12 hens (Molly, Brenda, Wanda, Poppy, Priscilla, Dottie, Daisy, Gladys, Elsie, Mavis, Blanche and Lula Mae): brown, white, large, medium and bantam eggs available. We also make our own home made […]

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 […]

Selling Honey & Supporting A Cause with Dr. Christine Bertz

When Dr. Christine Bertz started beekeeping, she didn’t care if she made any money from it. In fact, her main motivation was to support pollinator conservation efforts. But now, only three years in, her honey business is blossoming and she is having trouble keeping up with customer demand!

Christine lives in Memphis, TN and sells honey and jams with her cottage food business, B & Bees Provisions. In addition to selling, she gives her products away to benefit charities through her participation in triathlons and marathons.

Christine talks about the importance of beekeeping, how to start a beehive in your backyard, and how her fear of bees has transformed into an utter fascination and love of them.

Sweet Sugars Cookies & Stencils

We are an artisan cottage bakery specializing in decorated butter cookies, cookie cakes, and drop cookies. We also make both traditional plastic and silkscreen culinary stencils.

The Cookie Cutter Queen with Tina Karnath

When it comes to creating custom decorated cookies, Tina is very prepared. She owns a plethora of cookie cutters (including over 500 just for Christmas), and amazingly, she is always looking to buy more!

Tina lives in Saginaw, MI and has run her popular cookie business, the Chunky Chicken Cookie Company, for the past three years. Whether she is designing cookies or naming chickens, her creativity shines through.

Tina talks about how she manages to decorate hundreds of cookies each week, as well as pricing, resources, and what she’s learned over the years. She also shares her philosophy about putting life onto cookies to make the world a happier place.

From Bread Factory to Artisan Home Bakery with David Kaminer

For David Kaminer, sourdough bread is a way of life. After graduating from culinary school and spending 15 years working in commercial bakeries and restaurants, he built a pizza oven into his kitchen and opened Raleigh Street Bakery in Denver, CO in 2015.

He now has dozens of customers who show up each week to pick up their near-perfect sourdough baguettes, boules, and batards from his in-home bakery.

After working in a factory that produced 40,000 loaves of bread per day, David appreciates the slower pace of his cottage food business, plus the opportunities it brings to connect with his local community.

David talks about the ins and outs of running a lucrative home bakery, intentionally limiting business to prioritize his family, and why he only sells one type of product: sourdough bread.

How To Live On What You Make with Lisa Kivirist

Farmer, baker, author, law advocate, speaker, mother, podcaster, entrepreneur… Lisa Kivirist wears many hats!

She and her husband, John Ivanko, run a B&B ecofarm in Wisconsin, and co-authored the most popular book for the cottage food industry: Homemade for Sale.

Lisa is a national speaker, runs a podcast, and was one of three plaintiffs in the lawsuit that gave Wisconsin bakers their freedom to sell. Most recently, she spearheaded a new project to help farmers make the most of their produce by selling it as cottage foods.

Lisa talks about living off the land, moving away from the corporate life-style, creatively packaging products, diversifying income streams, advocating for your laws, and everything in between.

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 […]

Boca Pastries

It is an online bakery where you feel like eating your grandma’s desserts…

B & Bees Provisions

B & Bees Provisions sells local honey and homemade jams and jellies in Memphis, Tennessee. A portion of proceeds are donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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.

How To Start A Cottage Food Business From Your Home Kitchen

If you are thinking of selling your homemade food, then this episode is for you!

For this inaugural episode of The Forrager Podcast, I decided to give you a crash course on the first things you need to know to start a cottage food business.

You’ll learn about the cottage food industry and better understand how you can legally start a food business from your home kitchen.

You will also hear about my own journey in starting a cottage food business, what I learned along the way, and why I started this podcast.

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 […]

I’ve always had a love and passion for being in the kitchen since I was a little girl.  I’ve taken old lessons learned along with new creative designs and ideas to bake up some really fun, delicious goods!  Over the years of baking for family and friends…..I had many requests for cakes, cupcakes & other […]

Morning Rose Bakery

Welcome to Morning Rose Bakery! Miami natives now living in Florida’s Space Coast. We’ve always had a passion for baking and finally decided to share our treats with everyone else! All of our products are made in small batches, from scratch, and we only use quality whole ingredients Let us know if there’s anything we […]

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 […]

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 […]

I Wouldn’t Worry About It

As a mother of young children, one with special needs, I’ve got a lot going on in my life. For years, I only cared about convenience, but that all changed when my children were born. I decided that I needed to get rid of all the chemicals, preservatives, and other unknowns in the products I […]

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 […]

Crabill Candy

This family recipe has passed down from my grandfather, and it is made with high-quality ingredients like Guittard chocolate, Tillamook butter, and pure vanilla extract. I sell my fudge seasonally around the holidays. Due to California’s cottage food law restrictions, I can only  sell my fudge locally to those in the Sacramento area. I live […]

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 […]

Kentucky Microprocessor

You can only use Kentucky’s law for home-based microprocessors if both of these apply to you: You want to sell low-sugar, low-acid, or acidified canned foods You grow the primary or predominant ingredient in your canned foods If both of those apply to you, see below for more information about becoming a home-based microprocessor. If those […]

Chef OCD (Original Cindy Dishes)

Hello I’m Cindy a Las Vegas Local Cook of 45yrs who started in my grandmas kitchen at age 5 making Crepes, then cooking in Italian Restaurants since the age of 11. A German/Italian foodie & Cook who specializes in All types of Cuisines, Catering, Custom Meal preparation for small to large groups including some Vegetarian […]

The Cake Mom & Co.

  The Cake Mom & Co. has the one-of-kind cake to make your special day one you’ll always remember. For The Cake Mom & Co., a party is all about the cake. A custom cake creates a centerpiece for your event, and leaves people talking! We work with each customer to create the perfect dessert […]

Native Harvest Bakery

Homemade Breads and Pies, Cakes Sourdoughs Yeast Breads Sweet Breads Pies Cakes we can do it  and do it well.

Everything Brittle LLC

Using an over 30 year old recipe, we produced brittle each year for family and friends as gifts. Many would ask “Why don’t you sell this brittle? It is awesome! We could then get it more than once a year!” After many years of people asking, we finally decided to bring our recipe and products […]

MICoffee Co.

We have been home roasting coffee for nearly four years. After many requests from friends and family to buy our beans, we have decided to take the leap with MICoffee Co. We enjoy a good cup of coffee and want to make that possible for others too. Our suppliers are Direct Trade and Utz certified. […]

Sugar Land Spice Company

We create hand crafted small batch seasonings and snacks, because Sugar Land Spice makes everything nice…. Visit us on the web at Sugar Land Spice Company

Custom Confections JC

Custom Confections JC is an online based business offering “all occasion” custom cakes and more including cupcakes, cake pops, petit fours, sculpted cakes, mini cakes and wedding cakes. In addition to cake we offer various chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate turtles, chocolate barks, truffles, brownies, fruit towers, various party favors and complete sweet tables.  Check out […]

Angel’s Truffles and Confectioneries

After leaving culinary school, I set out to start a chocolate truffle business beginning in the cottage food market. I’ve continued being a CFO since moving to Texas in 2016, and am excited about the future! Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto me. Delivery info: […]

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 […]

Connecticut Residential Farm

Connecticut’s Residential Farm law is an old law that is restricted to farmers who make certain types of canned goods on their farm. If you are not a farmer, you cannot use this law, but you can use Connecticut’s cottage food law. It appears that a farmer can use both this law and the cottage […]

Sally’s Handcrafted Confections

My life long dream of making cookies, cupcakes and cake pops for my friends and family and wanting to expand out to own my own business. I would like to share my creations with you for your gift or event. I have obtained a Home cottage permit to keep the cost down so I can […]

Clumsy Crow Baking

Clumsy Crow Baking is a home-based microbakery turning local grains into artisan breads, hand-shaped bagels and soft German pretzels. I use mostly home equipment and sell directly to customers from my Pullman home under the Washington State Cottage Food Act. I sell bread subscriptions. It’s like a bread club or Community Supported Bakery: You subscribe […]

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.