A Cottage Food Story
My cottage food story started with biscuits. As early as three years old, I can remember sitting in Mrs. Mumford’s kitchen, the woman who watched me while my parents worked, waiting for her to give me a biscuit. She would make breakfast for her hubby, always baking the most amazing biscuits.
Fast forward about six years and I was in my grandmother’s kitchen while she made wholewheat biscuits from scratch. I thought to myself, I am going to learn how to make this one day. Fast forward another 25 years and while browsing a Bon Appetit magazine I saw a recipe for whipped cream biscuits. I tried the recipe and, well, the rest is history.
My two greatest loves are baking and education. I wanted to be a teacher and I wanted to teach cooking. I’m not a formally trained chef. I didn’t attend a culinary art school, but I did attend college earning both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree.
Fortunately, the need to bake always took top billing. When I relocated to Cary, North Carolina in 2005 I learned about the “Cottage Food Rule;” and my life changed forever. I set off to learn all there was about cottage food operations, starting a home-based bakery and taking my baked goods to market. Then, my entrepreneurial spirit said, teach everyone who wants to learn to take their products from kitchen to market. Here we are!
In 2009 I created a website called HomebasedBaking.com, designed a course for the Wake County Lifelong Learning Program, Wake Public Schools on Home-based Baking (Profits from Your Kitchen: How to Start a Home-Based Bakery); wrote a book during the height of the Cottage Food movement and designed another course for the Central Piedmont Community College, Small Business Center teaching food entrepreneurship basics and cottage food rules and regulations.
Today, I’m the Founder of Foodpreneur Institute, an educational blog for food entrepreneurs who operate micro food businesses that sell specialty foods locally. Cottage Food Operators are only bakers, but folks who make dried spice blends, candy, chocolate truffles, dog treats, jams, jellies, bread, relishes, pickles, hot sauce, pasta sauces, you name it they have crossed my path. I can honestly say, the culinary creativity in this country and around the world is amazing! I am so proud to be a part of a niche market that puts a genuine smile on the face of the people served. It is now time for you to create a cottage food story of your own.
“Is there anything more interesting, engaging and delicious than food? You don’t have to speak my language, like my politics, understand my customs or enjoy my music, but food, food is the language that binds us together, now and forever!” — Denay