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Top 10 Home-Based Baking States

(post, Denay Davis)

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A surprising thing is happening across America; foodies are trying their hand at baking from home to not only make extra income but sell unique delicious food products in their community, building a brand and giving major distributors some much needed competition. Today food crafters have more options when it comes to selling their specialty foods, and consumers are seeking out the unusual products that compliment their daily meals. Visit any food cooperative, farmers market, or street food festival and you are bound to run across pickled okra, chocolate truffle cupcakes and hot pepper cheese bread.

The popular trend is to buy local, from local vendors enjoying foods that literally come from the vendor’s kitchen to your dining table. The owner of the Turtle Box Bakery, Abraham Palmer of Carrboro, North Carolina not only mills some of his own wheat, but bakes amazing bread. It is apparent that dedicated home-based bakers like Abraham are working diligently to not only make a difference in their community by offering quality products, but introduce consumers to how products are made from the ground up.

There are home-based bakers that craft kitchens so they can created a bakery business operated solely from their home kitchen. These food crafters have no intention of operating a traditional bakery and prefer to build a loyal group of customers that will purchase their baked goods allow them to use grassroots efforts in spreading the word. It’s back to the basics for these food entrepreneurs. It’s a little known fact, but there is some benefit to starting out small and growing your business one customer at a time, keeping firm control of what you make and how you make it.

One of the easiest food businesses to start if you live in a state that allows home food processing is baked goods. They are potentially low risk and depending on where you sell your goods or how you allow consumers to order products, can be moved from kitchen to customer quickly.

The top 10 states that offer cottage laws that not only permit but promote home-based baking and food processing include: 

1. Indiana
2. Iowa
3. New Hampshire
4. North Carolina
5. Ohio
6. Utah
7. Vermont
8. Virginia
9. Washington 
10. Wyoming   

Additional states that have jumped on the bandwagon include: Alabama, New Mexico and Michigan, with several others allowing only farmers to produce products for sale at the local state sponsored farmers market.

For anyone interested in relocating to a new state and starting a home-based business that involves food processing or making potentially non-hazardous food products the states above may be locations of interest. 

The unstable job market has forced many entrepreneurial spirits to seek out relocation considerations that offer options as far as working from home and making extra income for the family.

Like all home-based businesses food processing does not come without its challenges since your home kitchen may need to be inspected and you will have additional cost which include liability insurance, packaging, labels and the expense of delivery; but for those who love food and want to share their gourmet specialties with their community this is an option. 

There are other states that have modified cottage laws that allow home food production of non hazardous food for farmers only, or for food sold at state sponsored facilities. It is interesting to not that the cottage food industry is changing for the better. It seems the need to find employment is directing those who want to flex their culinary skills down the food entrepreneurship path and there is really no way of telling where you might end up. 

It is important for food crafters to know however that following the rules and regulations of their state and local governments is instrumental in keeping the public safe and producing a quality product.  So the next time someone suggest that you should sell that biscotti or those double fudge chocolate truffle cupcakes or you decide to raise money for paying off that credit card you really need to burn, see if your state has a cottage law and if so, start baking.