The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to Operate a Home-Based Bakery

cookingwithdenay's picture
cookingwithdenay

How to Operate a Home-Based Bakery

Three years ago I moved to the Cary, North Carolina and quickly became aquatinted with my new rural surroundings. My neighbor suggested I visit the Raleigh Farmer's Market conveniently located on I-40 and Lake Wheeler Road, exit 297; and it turned out to be am unforgettable experience. I was soon taken back by this 75 acre facility providing up to 225,000 square feet of covered, climate controlled, year round retail and wholesale space. Sold were seasonal vegetables and fruits by the pound or by the bushel. There were homemade baked goods, jellies, jams, honey, and the North Carolina Seafood Restaurant serving up deep-fried Calabash-style seafood, with mounds of home fries and hush puppies.


On that beautiful Saturday morning the baked goods caught my eye. I had not seen snicker doodle cookies or buttermilk pies in years; the array of baked goods was awesome. Let there be no misunderstanding, these are serious bakers and they take as much pride in their products as the North Carolina farmers.


First time visitors will be amazed at the amount of food and the number of customers that rolled through the market and after talking to a number of the vendors there is not doubt that North Carolina is a special state; not because it grows more sweet potatoes than any other state in the nation, but because it actually encourages home food processing. Food entrepreneurs can try their luck at creating unique specialties like pickled okra and homemade snicker doodles; taking their culinary creations from kitchen to market.


Years ago when the United States was predominately rural there were many home-based bakers, farmer's wives who sold their jams, and jellies for pin money, along with homemade breads, pastries, cakes, pies and cookies. It is this opportunity that is fueling the local economy by providing local bakers the chance to share their baked goods and earn extra income. Who knows when that culinary hobby will turn into a full time venture?


North Carolina is one of twelve states that allow home-based food processors the opportunity to sell their goods directly to the public. In fact the idea of selling homemade baked good has become so popular there is now a gated area for home-based bakers at the Raleigh Farmer's Market; and featured are homemade carrot cakes, pound cakes, pies, a wide assortment of cookies, and breads; there is literally something for every sweet tooth at the market.


So, the next time someone says, "You really should think about selling that pie," you might want to mosey on down the Raleigh Farmer's Market and see if your sweet treat can stand the heat.


 

Comments

belle's picture
belle

Hi there..


Loved this overview of the Raleigh Farmer's Market..makes me think of the quaint community in the movie Doc Hollywood...I live in Connecticut..would you know if CT is one of the 12 states that allows home based food processors?  How might I find that out..


Thanks!

Breadchick's picture
Breadchick

Belle,


 


Unfortunately, CT is one of the many states that mandates that if you want to set up shop as a home bakery business, you must have a completely separate kitchen that meets commerical kitchen codes.   Basically, when I contacted the department of health last year to find out the requirements so I could do my home bread business, etc. I was told that State hadn't certified a home kitchen in over 20 years as acceptable. 


I was lucky and got to know a local bakery here in the Norwalk area that didn't mind me using their kitchen for my small business in exchange for occassionally making speciality loaves for special orders when needed.  Another option in CT is to see if a local church or VFW hall with a kitchen already certified will allow you to use it for a small fee or in exchange for services.


 


Good luck,


Breadchick

belle's picture
belle

Breadchick,


Hi and thanks for the great suggestion...I never would have thought of a local VFW hall....I cannot entertain this idea now as I am working full time (thankfully)..however, you never know down the road...nice to keep as many options open as I can..


All the best to you too!


Belle

lask's picture
lask

I'm soooo glad that I saw this post! I have a home based bakery business in NC, and there is a pretty good chance that we will move to CT in 12-18 months. Based on your post, I called the Dept. of Health in CT, was eventually transfered to Consumer Protection and found that I'll need a separate kitchen or facility on our property...and that is just the start of things. The woman I spoke with was very informative and direct...ohhh, I love people who are direct! She did tell me to check with the health dept. of the city/town/burrow where we may settle to find out if they allow home based bakery businesses. That could alter where we look for a home and the type of home we look for...could be a big problem. I'd rather know what I'm dealing with ahead of time than be blindsided AFTER the (potential) move.


Thanks!

Christina3910's picture
Christina3910

I have been searching for the requirements and have yet to find them... specifically for NC. Since you already have one, would you mind telling me you had to do to run your bakery? Thanks so much in advance! :)

belle's picture
belle

That is terrific...I hope you will look me up after you are settled...I think you will love CT...my email is lindat2@charter.net..


Good luck!


 


Belle

elap's picture
elap

Hi, I recently have been looking into selling some bread/baked goods at the local farmers market as well. :)


My real question is, Can you give me some pointers on getting started as a home based bakery? I would love to sell breads, pies.....etc.....I would really love to open my own bakery shop sooner rather than later.


Eileen

cookingwithdenay's picture
cookingwithdenay

Hi, I recently have been looking into selling some bread/baked goods at the local farmers market as well. :)


My real question is, Can you give me some pointers on getting started as a home based bakery? I would love to sell breads, pies.....etc.....I would really love to open my own bakery shop sooner rather than later.


Eileen


 


Hello Eileen,


Michigan is working on a cottage law that will allow home-based baking. At this time you must either build a separate kitchen in your garage or basement or rent a shared use/commercial kitchen incubator. Here is a link that will provide more information about home-based baking in Michigan and how to contact the legistlator to show support for the new state bill. Visit: http://cookingwithdenay.com/home-based-bakers/state-cottage-laws/


There is a home-based baker in Okemos, Michigan that was successful at building a separate kitchen in her basement and has a booming business. The baker is Lilian Chavira, owner of GelloCake and here is her website: http://www.gellocake.com/


I interviewed her last year and I can tell you her journey was a tough one, but she has no regrets, she's doing what she loves! Just email if you have any questions contact@cookingwithdenay.com


Good luck to you!   ~Denay

Christina3910's picture
Christina3910

Oh my!!! Am i glad I found your website! I would like to start a home based cake decorating business and am having SUCH a hard time finding the requirements to doing this!


I've heard that you have to have a seperate kitchen, a three part sink, a seperate fridge and a doorway that leads to the outside... ARe you kidding?!?!?


 


I've also heard that if you aren't a business you can do it at home, they inspect your kitchem once a year, the only catch is that you can't advertise, at all. No business cards, no signs on the car... nothing....


 


Any advice or links or anything would be greatly appreciated!


 


Christina

the3marias's picture
the3marias

I live in Raleigh and have recently started a home-based bakery business. I'm planning to install a Blodgett gas oven in my garage but PSNC says the City of Raleigh does not allow installation of a commercial oven in a residence ? What are your experiences ? What kind of oven do you use ?