The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

CSB or CSA for Bread

eat.bread's picture

CSB or CSA for Bread

Hello wise bakers,

I recently had the idea of starting a mini bread CSA out of my home in the Boston area.  I'm a stay at home mom and am having so much fun baking bread out of my home and my friends  and other moms want in on the bread.

Has anybody explored this at all, know the legalities or anything else?

I'd love any advice, guidance and tips!



LindyD's picture

Hi Emily,

Since participation in a CSA involves payment of money to the farmer in consideration of receiving freshly grown ag products, you really should check with your local health department to see if there are any required licenses, inspections (and other hoops to jump through) in order to sell bread/baked goods made in a home kitchen.

If selling is what you plan to do.

Some states allow such a cottage industry without requiring inspections and other folderol - other states don't.

Best to check first - hope it works out for you.

flourgirl51's picture

Here it is illegal to do this unless you have a certified kitchen. You should check with your local USDA inspector.

mimifix's picture

Greetings Emily,

If you're interested in starting a home-based food business, the Massachusetts Dept of Agricultural Resources is the licensing agency. They will direct you to further resources. The good news is that MA allows home-based food processing - that means you are allowed to bake in a residential kitchen.

I wrote "Start and Run a Home-Based Food Business" and teach home-based food start-up in NY. Many of my students are now in business. One woman takes breads to her CSA every week and always sells out.


LindyD's picture

Nice little manual with some great information.  But Emily will have to have her kitchen licensed and inspected by the local health department.

What kinds of foods can be prepared in residential kitchens for retail sale?

Residential kitchens which are licensed and inspected by local boards of health are strictly limited to the preparation of nonpotentially hazardous foods (nonPHFs). Products may include baked goods, confectioneries, jams, and jellies. The regulations are specific in prohibiting the preparation and sale of potentially hazardous food (PHF). NonPHFs such as cakes and cookies, which have PHF ingredients are acceptable. However, nonPHFs that are manufactured under processes which require state and/or federal control such as acidification, thermal processing in hermetically sealed containers, hot fill, and vacuum packaging are not acceptable in a residential kitchen, with the exception of jams and jellies that are thermally processed in hermetically sealed containers.

No doubt there will be a licensing and inspection fee.  :-(

Ridiculous.  I've never seen a news report of anyone getting E coli poisioning from eating bread, but there sure is a spate of such reports involving lettuce, spinach, etc.

eat.bread's picture

Hello and thank you!  this has been helpful plus the online research.  There are definitely licensing fees and inspections and all that jazz.  Not sure if all of that offsets the cost of baking a small amount of bread for a group of people/week.  Any other tips and suggestions are welcome.  Thanks again!

LindyD's picture

Oh, there's all kinds of possibilities, Emily.  You're a stay-at-home-mom, but surely you'd like to have a few independent hours.  Perhaps some trusted friends would like to provide a few hours of child care in exchange for home baked bread.

I have neighbor friends who have a summer home down the road.  They love being the recipents of my bread experiments and often bring over a 5# bag of KAF AP flour for more "experiments."

The government (over) regulates us in abundance, but I'm not aware of any regulations concerning bartering.  In fact, barter transactions of less than $600 need not be reported to the IRS - according to the American Medical News

Look around your kitchen and house, and think creatively!  ;-)