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Cottage Food Community

More and more creative and self-motivated people are enthusiastically joining the cottage food community, an enterprise that combines retail sales, working from home, and the manageability and charm of a small boutique business. Selling cottage food, meaning cooking and selling food out of your home without having to pass large-scale inspections like restaurants do, is a fun and feasible self-starter business idea. You’ll just need to research the guidelines, including the list of cottage foods that can be sold from home, how to obtain your cottage foods permit, logistics on where to sell cottage foods, and the necessary information for your cottage foods label.

Join our free community for cottage food operators.

When looking into the how-to’s of starting and marketing a cottage food business, tailor your research to your location, since most laws prohibit out-of-state sales. Generally you’ll need to take a course in safe food preparation and obtain a certificate, but look for state-specific nuances. Researching how to start a home-based catering business in New York reveals that you’ll need to inquire whether you need a separate business license. Laws regulating cottage food business Maryland allow vendors to sell to retail food stores as long as income stays under $25,000 annually. To sell food from home Louisiana, you’ll need to prepare baked goods by yourself according to your Louisiana retail food permit.

Be sure to start digging for information before you get too far ahead with cottage food business ideas, because you may hit roadblocks such as a negative answer to ‘can I sell food from home in NJ?’.

Cottage Food Online Community

Being a cottage food entrepreneur can be lonely. Many cottage food operators don't know anyone else near them who's making and selling food from their home.

That's why we created The Kitchen, the cottage food online community for food artisans, makers, and passionate food business owners. We've welcomed juicers, kombucha makers, sourdough bakers, pastry artists, cookie makers, canners, bagel makers, BBQ experts, and countless others into The Kitchen community for cottage food operators. The Kitchen is a place for food artisans to come together, ask questions, connect with others, and learn from one another. Kitchen members have discussed advertising and marketing, sampling, packaging, laws, financials, and much more.

Join the Kitchen community today.

Cottage Food Law

You’ll want to start your cottage food business off right and be well-versed in the cottage food laws of your particular state. First, many states require that you apply to the health department for a food manufacturer license and/or go through a certification program for food handling.

Next you’ll need to delve into the question of what is cottage food. Because your business won’t go through inspections like a commercial restaurant, state regulations put in place to keep consumers safe generally restrict cottage foods to mostly nonperishable items. In recent years some states have included refrigerated items that must be kept at certain temperatures. Check into your state’s list of accepted cottage food items.

Cottage food laws California exclude all temperature-controlled foods from sale, but provide an extensive list of accepted foods. PA cottage food laws are technically still a work in progress, but their limited food establishment program allows home bakers to sell to restaurants. Wisconsin cottage food law 2020 restricts sales to baked items only. Massachusetts cottage food laws have two options for getting your permit, one a quicker process but the other allowing wider range of consumers. According to Texas cottage food law 2020, pushcarts and food trucks also need to apply for permits to sell. Tennessee cottage food law 2020 sets no restrictions on the amount of revenue you make. Missouri cottage food law 2020 does not require a food handling course and certificate. Cottage law Louisiana 2021 states that Louisiana cottage food law label requirements only necessitate that there be language saying the food was produced in a non-regulated kitchen.

These specifications illustrate why you’ll need to start your business off on the right foot by examining cottage food laws by state.

Cottage Food License

So, do I need a cottage food license or cottage food permit to start my boutique business and make my catering dreams come true? Just as with the particular regulations that apply to you and the list of foods you can sell, you should research requirements in your state.

To get a cottage food license Nevada, you’ll fill out the cottage food license application and register with the health authority, who may request further information. A cottage food license Oregon is not necessary, but you’ll need to complete food handler’s training. Applying for a cottage food license Washington state involves water testing, a business license, and disclosing recipes, as well as a floor plan and child and pet management plan for your home. You will need to re-register for a new cottage food license MN each year, and the fee is dictated by your yearly earnings. To obtain a New York state food license, you’ll apply for exemption to commercial food regulations and have your home’s water tested. When you apply for cottage food license California, you’ll take a 70-minute online course and print out your food handler’s card. Getting a cottage food license Wisconsin seems somewhat of a loose process, requiring a food handler’s card but not many other regulations.

Your cottage food license will help you gain a reputation as a fastidious and sanitary entrepreneur as well as introduce you to a wealth of information in the field of your new venture. Have fun getting started, and good luck to all of you bakers and makers!

Additional Resources

Commercial Kitchen In Home | Cottage Baking | Cottage Cook Software | Cottage Cooking | Food Business From Home | Food Business From Home Ideas | Home Baking Business | Home Food Business Insurance | Home Kitchen Bakery

Find and join other cottage food community members in The Kitchen, the premiere online group for cottage food operators, bakers, canners, and more.

Heather Brookshire

The Cake Whisperer


My business would not be the same without my Castiron website! It is an easy setup with lots of customization and tons of support! I am so glad I set up my shop last year before the holidays — it really helped increase my sales!

Amanda McMonigle

The Whimsical Cookie


Castiron provides me a professional site to my customers increasing my credibility and value while giving me the tools to effectively market and manage my business in an easy, user-friendly manner.

Kim Sims

Wesley's Treats Hallie's Sweets


Castiron has made my cottage bakery shine, and my business easy to manage. As a platform they care about my business as much as I do.

Katie Maschoff

Mill City Cooking Company


Before Castiron, I was taking orders really manually, through emails or texts or Facebook. Now I can send customers straight to my website, and I don’t have to worry about missing any details.

Daniella Smith

Oso Good Clean Eats


I couldn't run my business without the Castiron platform. It made it so easy to get my shop up and running — it truly removed a massive barrier to me getting started!

Ali Serpe

Kultured Kombucha


I realized that the barrier of having to DM or text me to order was holding a lot of potential customers back.

Now that I have a professional website and a simple ecommerce checkout, I'm seeing a huge increase in new customers and they appreciate how easy Castiron makes ordering.

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Food entrepreneurs, this is your moment. Your community is more and more conscious about what they buy and where it is from. They want food made with love. With ingredients they can pronounce. And they want to support their community while doing it.

Castiron is the best fit for your food business because we're not a one-size-fits-all tool. Selling local food is different from pre-packaged warehouse products. Whether you sell cooking classes, need local pick up, utilize pre-sales to plan inventory, or need a fully custom order form — we got you.

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