For those of you who want to get started under Cottage Food Act, a state by state law that allows you to make certain foods in your home kitchen and sell them directly to the public, I just got this email from David Crabill at Forager and had to share them below.
David hosts a Cottage Foods website and you can join as a member and get into questions inside the forum at no charge. Forager is a pretty great resource that I highly recommend.
Here are this year's laws, based on when they took/take effect:
California -- AB 626 -- January 1st
California kicked off the new year with their new law for “microenterprise home kitchen operations”. Basically, the law allows mini home restaurants, but only if counties approve. And as I predicted last year, counties are saying no to this law; so far, only one (Riverside) has allowed these businesses. But even with massive limitations, it's still impressive that this type of law passed at all.
West Virginia -- SB 285 -- June 5th
The Institute for Justice completely revamped West Virginia’s cottage food law, which is now one of the best laws in the country. What's most notable is that it protects cottage food businesses from unneeded government regulation (no licenses, fees, restrictions, etc), yet still allows virtually all non-perishable food items to be sold through any venue, with no sales limits.
Texas -- SB 572 -- September 1st
After a couple failed attempts, the Texans finally have a new amendment for their cottage food law. And it’s a big one! The new law greatly expands the allowed foods, including pickled and fermented foods, all non-perishable foods, and even frozen produce (a first for a traditional cottage food law). Also, producers can sell anywhere in the state, including online sales (fulfilled locally).
Nebraska -- LB 304 -- October 1st
Nebraska’s very limited, current law dates back to 2003, before cottage food laws were common. The Institute for Justice stepped in and helped create their first true cottage food law. It isn’t nearly as comprehensive as West Virginia’s law, but it’s a good starting point. It will allow residents to sell some types of food from home, at farmers markets, at events, and online.
Maryland -- SB 0290 -- October 1st
Well, that was fast! Just last year, the Institute for Justice helped improve Maryland’s cottage food law by allowing direct sales from anywhere in the state. This year, they improved it again by allowing indirect sales at retail stores and food co-ops.