Cottage Food: Launch a Bakery from Your Farm Kitchen

In 2017, 130,056 farms sold food directly to consumers, accounting for more than $2.8 billion in sales (U.S. Census of Agriculture, 2017). New cottage food laws are creating new opportunities for farmers to launch and run bakery businesses out of their home kitchens.

“These state-specific cottage food laws allow you to use your home kitchen to produce specific non-hazardous food products such as baked goods, eliminating the costly and complicated route of needing a commercial kitchen and various licensing,” said Lisa Kivirist, farmer, author, and home baker in Browntown, Wisconsin. 

Kivirist and two other women worked to change regulations in Wisconsin to allow home bakers to sell goods. With support from SARE, Kivirist’s farmer-led team was able to keep the ball rolling by developing cottage food bakery resources for farmers. They created a Cottage Food website with recipes and other useful information.

The team refined and tested recipes to make sure they met the “non-hazardous” criteria which helps ensure product safety. They incorporated farm products in their recipes, and made sure to add frostings and fillings. They also put together guidance on how to create eye-catching packaging and displays for farmers’ market booths.

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This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.