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If you don’t know what a cottage kitchen is or if you’re not familiar with cottage kitchen laws, it is the ability for you to create a food product within your home in a designated kitchen within your home, produce that, and sell it, and make money from that. Not every state allows this to happen, not every state has laws that will let home-based businesses such as cottage kitchens exist, but for the bulk of the country, it actually does. So really quick if you don’t know my story, I started a small candy company.
Started a small, little business from my home and then I created it and built it into a full-time business online.
We have shops all over the internet through Amazon, Etsy, and Ebay, and thebrittlebox.com. We are commercially-licensed in a facility that allows us to ship everywhere and anywhere, but I did want to put together a YouTube channel to kind of educate people who are not sure of where to start. I’ve kind of jumped through all the hoops, I’ve gone through all the regulations and we do get inspected by the Department of Agriculture where I’m located. We also have a lot of fantastic items that we make, over 500 items, most of which we actually make ourselves. So I have a handful of wonderful resources available at my fingertips. I’ve been doing this for between six to seven years now and own my own business for roughly 10 years.
Before I had the business online, I ran and operated a bakery, a local retail bakery where I lived. We had gelato, handmade breads, panini sandwiches, cookies, pastries, canolis, you name it. And we did that all ourselves. So I do have quite a bit of experience in this type of a business and I started my YouTube channel to help those who wanted to get started. So there is about 30 to 40, let’s see, about 30 to 40 or so states that have food cottage kitchen laws on the books that will allow you to make items at home. This video in particular I’m going to talk specifically about Arizona. I wanted to, I had a lot of people email me from different states and they asked me different questions what they can and cannot produce inside of a cottage kitchen.
So I thought hey, you know what, I’ll put together some really brief videos. Again, these videos are a great reference and starting points. Do yourself a favor and do me a favor, please check with your local county, your zoning and planning department, and either your health department or the Department of Agriculture. There are laws that are set up by every state and they are not the same in every state. So that’s why I say a lot of this information I will give you I’ve researched and looked into state-specific laws. And each county, though, I didn’t go county by county in the state, but this is a great framework, a good place, again, for you to get started and at least understand the types of products you can make and the types of licensing and such that you will need.
I’m actually looking downwards, sorry I’m not looking at the camera because I’ve got some notes on the state. So, back to Arizona. If you live in Arizona, good news for you. Arizona actually has some of the best cottage kitchen laws that are out there right now. They have nearly 6,000 businesses that are considered a cottage kitchen, which is fantastic. They are very open to it. Their health department is a big, big proponent, big supporter of cottage kitchens. And so Arizona has some really, really great kind of flexible laws in regards to what you can and cannot make, and just in general in regards to cottage kitchens.
So… (hums) All right, so the types. All right, I’ll start of with what can you sell. And if you live in Arizona and you have a recipe for a food product, I will give you some of the foods that they allow people to produce in cottage kitchens. And if your item is on this list, this may intrigue you and push and motivate you to go to your local health department to find out more about what you can make. When it comes to breads, they’re very, very open. They’ve got everything from cookies, which is pretty much any, chocolate chip, sugar cookies, cookies of all kinds. Breads, the only thing you can’t have with breads anything that has vegetables or some type of cheese, or any type of ingredient that could go bad or spoil if it’s not refrigerated.
Before I read off this list, actually, let me cover one quick thing. There are a lot of food products, ingredients if you will, that are considered to be hazardous, hazardous to add to products that you produce in your home without refrigeration. So if it is a spoilage type of a product, let’s say for instance if you were to make a cracker and you baked a cracker and it’s totally done to bake and there’s nothing raw in it or something that could go spoil by growing mold and such without refrigeration, that would be considered a hazardous ingredient and it would be something you should stay away from.
Meats, cheeses, raw vegetables and fruits, because again, if you do not bake it into the item itself and you just put it on the top, it could spoil, it could develop mold, and it could get somebody sick. And of course you don’t want that to happen. So you could do brownies, you could do bagels, cakes, muffins and biscuits, scones. The one thing about the cakes, you can do anything, but if you’ve got frostings or fillings that require, again, require some type of refrigeration, you have to stay away from that. Check with your local health department again and also the Department of Agriculture because those are the two governmental bodies that will be regulating cottage kitchens. And traditionally they’ll be the ones to do the inspections too once you get yourself to that level. So, if you wanna do rolls, you wanna do tortillas, sweetbreads, muffins, that’s fantastic. If you do a sweetbread, again, back to like no any type of bread where again it has toppings that can be exposed to vegetables or dairy, cheeses and such.
Now if you’re doing candy, you can do chocolates, you can do fudge, you can do brittles. Specifically brittles, crunchy brittles like a peanut brittle or a nut brittle, those types of candies are great. Candies in general you can do truffles. Any dry goods. Now, seasonings and spices is a huge market. So if you’re into herbs, you’re into seasonings, dry goods, it would actually be considered one of those, you can do those. If you have any type of dry good mix like a soup mix or a baking mix or some type of a dip, a dry mix that you can add to a dip, you can do that as well. Pastries, you can do pies, you can do cones. For instance, like a waffle cone or sugar cone, that type of a thing is allowed. Now, this is something that’s really, really huge as far as the market’s concerned. And even if you sold it just locally and you were to go to a farmer’s market, if you were to go to like markets in general, not necessarily a farmer’s market, but another local market that allows food sales, things like snacks.
So like a granola, you could do kettle corn, popcorn and such, caramel corns, chocolate-covered fruits. But of course, they would have to be dried fruits that are not necessarily raw, you don’t wanna be dipping raw fruit and vegetables or anything like that in chocolate. Actually, you probably wouldn’t be doing vegetables, forget that. Fruits, if you do fruits, it’d have to be something that’s of a dry fruit. Again, you wanna remember that if it’s not refrigerated, it’s something that could go bad and then you could get somebody sick. So that’s something you wanna stay away from. So prohibited foods, let’s see what we’ve got. Now these are foods such as pickles, ketchups, vinegars, vegetable chips, tamales, oils, honeys, sauces, fermented foods, salsas, preserves, fruit butters.
Again, these are, and of course meat jerkys like a beef jerky, pet food and such. These are all products that really incorporate raw foods, things that could spoil if they’re not refrigerated.
Dairy, certain types of acidity and acid foods if you’re doing like canning or you’re preserving fermented foods. These are ones that you have to have specific licenses and have certain courses that you have to take. And it would not be considered a cottage kitchen product because of that spoilage possibility and then getting people sick. So it’s kind of, I don’t wanna, I kinda wanna say it’s a common sense thing, but again, this is more specific as to what the product is that you can and cannot make.
But kinda just use your common sense. If it’s something that is having to be refrigerated, just forget about it, don’t even attempt it. Unless you wanna open a commercial facility and you wanted to get a different type of license for that. Now, when it comes to cottage kitchen laws, every state, like I said before, not to sound like a broken record, but every state sets its own rules and they also set the financial, the monetary limitations. Meaning the amount of money that you can sell under a cottage kitchen law licensed-facility. Now the one thing that’s so great about Arizona is that they do not have a limit. Some states actually limit you just for a couple thousand dollars, literally four, $5,000. Some of them go to 50, some of them go to 60,000 and that’s it. Now, Arizona is such a wonderful place if you, again, live there and you’re looking to open a cottage kitchen, it’s great because you can sell as much as you want during a fiscal year from January to December. So another great reason why you can start in Arizona if you are watching this and you live in Arizona.
As far as limitations within the kitchen itself, they do also regulate who and what can be in there.
Of course you don’t allow pets in there, that’s just a no-brainer. Children are not allowed in those types of kitchens. If you have a designated kitchen that’s under the cottage kitchen law, children are not allowed in that. Commercial kitchen is prohibited. So what you’d wanna stay away from is getting commercial-styled equipment. From mixers, if you were doing a bakery of some kind, the large stand mixers that commercial facilities have are not allowed in a home setting. And that’s kind of a common sense thing too, because they actually take a certain type of wattage, a certain type of electrical outlet, they are not just a standard plug in the wall type of a thing. So they are much larger in what they can do and it’s considered a commercial equipment. So large stainless steel tables, mainly equipment that are mixers, stand mixers, blenders, and food processors and stuff like that, those are not allowed.
You cannot sell your products (mumbles). Now the thing with Arizona is that if you sell within the state, you have to keep the product within the state. You can’t travel to other states and bring the product, you can’t deliver it in that sense, you can’t necessarily go to California and then bring a truckload of your product. They wanna keep it within the state, again, because it falls under a different type of regulation, a different type of license when you get outside the realm of cottage kitchens.
So, and of course pets, again, pets and animals are not allowed in a kitchen. Now, the health department within the state of Arizona, the health department does have to have some type of registration. You can do that registering online. You wanna register with them so they have you on the books as far as your facility and such. Now, the one thing that’s about Arizona is they offer what’s called a food handlers card.
And this is kind of like, if I’m not mistaken, this will be like a course that you’ll take that will give you that card. So you have to have some general understanding of handling food and packaging it, properly labeling it, et cetera, et cetera. Now traditionally these courses are about 20 to 25 bucks on the high side, some of them are 10 to $15. And those are gonna be dictated by county. So every county, again, is gonna be unto itself.
Whatever county you live in, check with them specifically to see what type of food handlers card you need to have and whether or not you even need to have one at all. The one thing, just a little side note, the one thing that’s kind of odd about cottage kitchen laws is that there is, it’s kind of left up to the states. But it’s kind of a trickle down effect because the state itself will create a bill. And once that bill gets passed, the cottage kitchen law goes into effect. But within certain municipalities within the state when you get into counties and such, there may be other requirements. And that’s kind of where it gets a little tricky, but don’t let it scare you, don’t let it deter you from doing it. Because starting a cottage kitchen is a great stepping stone to kind of get a taste, no pun intended, but to get a taste of how it is to start a business that you sell and make food in your home, and then go into a commercial facility and grow the business, and then begin to get bigger and bigger and seek different types of licensing to allow you to sell all over.
So definitely something to not deter you from, but just be aware that there’s a lot of different hoops to jump through. But they’re so easy to jump through, and then again, these videos that I’m offering here, are hopefully great informative videos that will give you some leverage and kind of give you some confidence to just do it and give it a shot. Now, label requirements. When you are producing something within a cottage kitchen, you are technically you are in need of putting an address, you need to have a business address. So that cottage kitchen, even if it’s your home address, it needs to be on the label. So it cannot be any type of PO box, it has to be a specific physical address location of where you’re making it. And the reason why that is is that if somebody were to get sick or if something happens in a negative way, they have somewhere to go back to to kind of trace the steps and find out exactly what it is and where it came from.
So the business name. You wanna put your name on there. If it’s Suzie’s Cooking Company, you wanna have your name on there. Ingredients, make sure that you put your ingredients. And of course, normally, traditionally, you’d have the FDA actually request and requires the labeling to be is that from the largest ingredient, whatever the most of the ingredient down to the least in a specific recipe needs to be on that. So you’re making cookies, let’s say flour’s your largest ingredient, you put two cups of that in. Again, you wanna go flour, sugar, egg, milk, et cetera, et cetera, all the way down to the most least used ingredient. The phone number and the product name. So if you’re packaging an item and it happens to be chocolate chip cookies, well make sure you have it chocolate chip cookies on there and of course a phone number where a customer or one of your customers can contact you so they know again where they purchased the product from. And lastly, you wanna put a statement, it’s kind of a disclaimer actually, it’s a disclaimer statement stating that most states sill have this (mumbles).
Check with your state, because in some instances where they are a facility that’s not inspected by the health department, some states allow cottage kitchens without inspections. You want to let your customer know that your product is being produced, whatever they’re eating, is being made in a facility that’s not inspected by a state governmental agency. So what that means is is that if your facility is in a state where they don’t have regular inspections, your customer, the purchaser of the product, needs to be aware of that just to let them know that it is being made in a home type of setting and not in a commercial setting. Last but not least, just to give you, again, a little wrap up of Arizona. Arizona Department of Health Services is where you want to go to. Their phone number is actually 602 542 1025.