The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Top 10 Home-Based Baking States

cookingwithdenay's picture

Top 10 Home-Based Baking States

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

The new 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; he is working diligently to make a difference in the community by introducing consumers to how products are made from the ground up.

There are home-based bakers like Lilian Chavira, of Gellocake in Okemos, Michigan, who crafted a special kitchen in her basement, so she could create a bakery business operated solely from home. 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 and spread support via word of mouth.

One of the easiest food businesses to start is a small bakery. They are potentially low risk and depending on where you sell your goods, products can easily be moved from kitchen to customer.

The top 10 states that have cottage food laws, not only permitting but promoting home-based baking and food processing include:

  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington  
  • Wyoming

One of the first cottage food laws documented involved the state of Oregon with a 20 year history in the home food processing business and since 2009 the number of states creating "cottage food laws" as doubled. No doubt the struggling U.S. economy has played a pivotal part in motivating the increased interest in small food processing and home-based baking. It is something foodies can do from their home kitchen, allowing them to work around family obligations.

It should be pointed out that making a profit from a home-based bakery or home food processing business will not be easy. All too often food crafters assume that "if they make it, customers will come." Not so, developing any type of business, home-based or otherwise is challenging and involves that four letter work many wish to ignore; work.

There are few state records on how many home-based bakers and food processors there are across the nation, but one thing is for sure, as long as there is a market for unique specialty food products and fresh homemade baked goods there will be food crafters flexing their creative juices to make that next gourmet treat.


Thaichef's picture

Good Morning:

   I feel compel to comment on your Home-based baking information since I lived in the State of VA. and had attened the "Home-Base "business conference twice. I feel that I had a first hand knowledge.

From the outside looking in, it seemed that the State of VA. is really trying hard to help its "grass root' citizen but from the practical point of view, it is not. I know becauseI experienced it first hand.

  The training covered in details, the laws governing foods law, computer in business, law of weight, advertisements, etc. I would say that the information will be very useful if one is computer literated and have unlimited amount of income to invest! Unfortunately, non of its participants fit that profile! 

I asked the trainers who are their target audiences and they said" the grass roots, the locals, Mom and Pop stores."  All the information which they presented at the conference went over our heads and most of us are "too scared" to even want to start any business. I asked the "head" of the trianers if they have any "stars" pupils to show us of the success story since they have been in this business for so many years and they have "Zero"!

From my point of view, if the trianing had been going on for years and there are no "result", it is time to "overhaul and reevaluate" the progarm. Most of the people whom I met in the training have highschool level education and not computer literated, so......why goes on using the same training methods?

As a very small home base baker who sales Artisan breads at our local farmer market I can testify that the State of VA. do not look out for us ,grass root, locals or Mom and Pop stores. You probably missed my complaint on this TFL site concerning unfair Food Inspection fee which this year increased from $40.00/year to $100.00/year. 

One could say that the amount is small and seem fair but if one realized that we sell our bread at 4 hours a week ( Sat.)and our Farmer market lasts 4-5 months a year versus Walmart, Krogers, Food Lion, Sams Wearhouse(yes Sams' wear house!) who open all year at 7 days /week  have one thing in common with us"They pay the same $100.00/year.

Taken all the above information into consideration, I could hardly say that my State of VA is looking our for us!!!!

I am welcoming other participants in other State who had attend their "Home-base business conference " in their home State to share with us their experiences. Perhaps, we could learn from them.





cookingwithdenay's picture

Mantana thanks for sharing your thoughts about what the state of Virginia is not doing to help small food processors and I hope you have voiced this to your state Department of Agriculture. I can share that if you want more, from them you must demand it, these are government workers paid for by your state tax dollars and our federal taxes. There is more money being pumped into the Department of Ag in 2011 and it should trickle down to those who need it more, although I am aware it rarely does. I appreciate you being so candid in sharing your experience.

Thaichef's picture

Good Morning cookingwithdenay:

  Thank you for your answer.  In as much as the Agriculture Dept. and the workers want to help us little people, they are powerless!  It is the State of VA. legistlatures who passed this bills into law this year.

I had contacted(in person)  both Democrat and Republican Senators( they were in our town in a town hall meeting trying to drum up votes), I stood up addressed the situation and gave them petition. Nothing happen!  I contacted by phone another time to their congressional aid and again addressed the situation, nothing happen.

I contacted the Roanoke Times which were kind enough to do a story about the situation, nothing happend. I contacted the Board of county of Supervisors, nothing happen.  

I had come to the conclusions that unless I have a powerful position, or bunches of money to get the lobbyist to push the issue, nothing will happen.  I gave up. There is so much that I can do.  In America, little people has no voice.  I also contacted the slow food movement which I am a member, nothing happen.

I welcome others comments of what, if any, I should do to sway this practice of doing away with of " little business "

By the way, it was the Food Inspector in Richmond who told me that all other big box stores are paying the same as me. She was "mad as hell" but there is nothing she could do.


cookingwithdenay's picture

Mantana, I understand completely and nothing may be done at present, but what I have learned from many years of working with cottage food laws is everthing in due time and because it may not appear that anything is being done, well, that doesn't mean they did not pay attention to what you said. When I first started a home-based bakery there were no more than about 6 states with cottage food laws, now there are 25 with some sort of cottage food law, and some laws may have limitations, but it's still out there in a modified form. That tells me someone was listening and understood the need to assist small food processors. Small business is the business that binds this nation together and as much as "big government" would like to think it is the big agri-corps, if the small voice banded together, it would be a huge roar that would shake the walls of "big g" it's just no one counts on the little guy to make any noise at all. I will keep chipping away, bringing this issue to the forefront and I am confident things will change. I have done this long enough to know slow and steady "always" wins the race. If you ever need assistance with your bakery business, don't hesitate to email me, if I can assist, I certainly will. I know it's easy to get discouraged, but know you are not alone, many feel as you do.