Laws and policies on using local farms to supply restaurant

Asked January 27, 2014, 1:53 PM EST

I am looking into opening a restaurant/bar in the Ravenna, Michigan area and would like to be able to use local farmers as suppliers, and possibly grow some of my own vegetables/herbs (farm to table concept). I would assume there are strict laws/policies on this though and would like to learn more about this topic. Would I contact MDARD? Do you have any information or able to guide me to who would? I appreciate any information! Thanks! Kasi

Muskegon County Michigan

3 Responses

Hello Kasi,
I would suggest reading Growing Michigan's Future. Particularly, chapters 2 and 3. Selling produce directly to a restaurant is considered selling to an intermediary. There's some more negotiation of quantity, scheduling, and price, but it's no different than selling to an individual. The restaurant decides what they want, and can ask growers to jump through as many hoops as they want pre or post-harvest. Keep good records on hand in case of recall issues. Restaurants may also, and should, ask this practice of their suppliers as well.

Kasi,I see that you received an answer from Ben Phillips. He directed you to some good resources. You need to know that MDARD does not regulate restaurants. That regulation is done by the local environmental health department. The MSU Product Center provides free business development services for entrepreneurs with businesses in food, agriculture or natural resources. This type of business would qualify for our services. For more information or to register go to: Reau, Associate Director, MSU Product Center

Thank you Ben and Brenda!