New Jersey is the only state in the nation with an outright ban on cottage foods. Every other state allows the sale of at least some cottage foods under some circumstances.
New Jersey’s ban has real, harmful effects on would-be cottage food producers across the state, including home baker Heather Russinko. Heather works full time and is a single mom to a 14-year-old son. She has a plan to turn her talent for baking into a home-based small business. She began baking for her son’s school activities nearly 10 years ago and quickly found that baking was a great way to stay involved as a parent while holding a full-time job.
Cake pops—essentially cake and frosting on a stick—are Heather’s specialty. When friends and neighbors started offering to pay for her cake pops, Heather realized that her baking hobby could be the key to building a better life for her and her son. It might even allow her to save enough money to send her son to college—something she likely could not afford to do otherwise.
Heather’s dreams were dashed when she learned that she could be fined up to $1,000 for selling even one cake pop. Thanks to New Jersey’s ban, Heather is missing out on real business opportunities. She recently baked for her cousin’s wedding and was asked by the wedding venue if she would join their list of vendors. Heather had to refuse this excellent business opportunity because she bakes from her home kitchen.
Now Heather and a group of other New Jersey home bakers have teamed up with the Institute for Justice to sue the state over its unconstitutional ban on selling home-baked goods. 1 The bakers will not rest until New Jersey’s ban on the sale of home-baked goods—the last of its kind in the nation—is a thing of the past.