Minnesota Cottage Foods
Jane Astramecki v. Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Challenging Minnesota’s Restrictions on Selling Home-Baked Goods
IJ Client Jane Astramecki
Everyone loves a batch of fresh-baked cookies or a cake right out of the oven. Yet Minnesota has slammed the oven door on bakers trying to make a home-based business out of satisfying Minnesotans’ sweet tooth.
Although the state permits people to sell certain foods, such as baked goods and jams, made in the home, it prohibits sale of such “cottage foods” anywhere other than a farmers’ market or community event. That means no sales from a gourmet food shop, a jobsite, or on-line. Worse, the state limits a cottage food producer’s revenues to just $5,000 annually—an average of only $96 per week.
These restrictions harm entrepreneurs like Jane Astramecki and Mara Heck. Jane, a home baker and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, sells her goods at farmers’ markets in Eagan and Farmington. She continually receives requests from market customers who would like her to bake for special family occasions or work events. But because of Minnesota’s cottage food restrictions, she has to tell them, “No.”
Mara finds herself in a similarly impossible position. A 31-year-old with a day job, she has a passion for baking that has earned her ribbons at the State Fair for four years running. She has dreamed about parlaying her passion into her own, fulltime business, but Minnesota’s cottage food restrictions have ensured that baking remains little more than a hobby for her.
But now Jane and Mara are fighting back. They have teamed up with the Institute for Justice to challenge Minnesota’s senseless cottage food restrictions. Their case aims to vindicate the right of all of Minnesota’s cottage food producers to build a successful home-based business selling their delicious home-baked treats.