Odessa Dow Laboratory, 1923, Courtesy of Shorpy

For those following the Cottage Homemade Food Act, the bill just passed the Assembly now onto the Senate.    Sweet!  Pretty soon, we’ll be able to “have our cake and eat it to.”  (borrowing a slogan from the CA Cottage  Food campaign)

Before introduction of the bill, selling homemade goods  was sticky with bureaucracy and downright difficult. However, there is hope on the horizon as certain homemade foods will be allowed to be sold. The LA Weekly states in their “Progress Report” article that homemade foods  “must be ‘non-potentially hazardous food,’ … such as baked goods, jam, granola, popcorn, herb and tea blends, nut mixes and dried fruit.”

Latest media coverage

KABC News: Bill would turn homemade food into legal industry

KCET: California’s Cottage Food

According to Sustainable Economic Law Center

“There are 32 US states that allow the sale of homemade, non-potentially hazardous food and several states with grassroots efforts underway to implement similar laws. Click here to download an overview of cottage food laws in other states.”

What is a “Cottage Food Law” and why should homesteaders be interested?

Cottage food laws, sometimes referred to as “baker’s bills,” are laws that allow people to make certain foods in their own home kitchen and then sell them on a small scale, typically directly to consumers and at farmer’s markets. Cottage food laws allow individuals who are interested in starting their own food business get started developing a customer base and raising some of the money required to further develop their business. Removing the significant financial and logistical barrier of having a commercial kitchen makes starting one’s own food business more accessible and more feasible for a greater number of people. It also gives consumers more access to a greater variety of home-cooked, artisan and other unique foods at their farmers’ market or right in their neighborhood.

Cottage Food Laws typically allow only foods that are often classified as “non-potentially hazardous foods” in state and federal laws. While the specific foods that are allowed or not allowed in each state vary somewhat, this list below includes most foods that are allowed under cottage food laws in at least some states:

o baked goods (but with no cream, custard or meat fillings)

o jams and jellies and other preserves with a pH of 4.6 or less

o granola and other dry cereal

o popcorn

o waffle cones and pizzelles

o nut mixes

o chocolate covered non-perishables (such as nuts and dried fruit) and other candy

o roasted coffee

o dry baking mixes

o herb blends

o dried tea

o dried fruit

o honey

Courtesy: Cottage Food Law – supporters of AB 1616, the California Homemade Food Act


Home Chef Revival: CA Prepares to Legalize Homemade Food

Free Jam: Time to End CA’s Law Against Selling Homemade Food

Cottage Food Law Update in other States

Homebased Baking Cottage Food Laws



  1. Nebraska Dave says:

    Anais, I’m not sure what the laws or ordinances are in my area. I know of a friend that sells cakes, pies, and cookies at farmer’s markets so it must be some what lax. Will the passing of the law in California expand the saleable items on the front porch?

    Have a great California front porch day.

  2. Ginger says:

    Now it your little stand can be a regular little tea garden. I believe your marmalade is the best I have ever eaten. It will be a neighborhood landmark.

  3. c says:

    Washington State has had the Cottage Food Bill in effect since 7/22/11. I would not have known that except for this site. Thanks

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