How to sell homegrown produce to restaurants

Asked June 17, 2020, 11:45 AM EDT

I am trying to start a business producing leafy greens for sale that I grow from home. I was wondering the requirements to sell my homegrown produce to restaurants

Kent County Michigan

3 Responses

Hello!

From a food safety standpoint there are no regulations that you are required for you to sell directly to restaurants or to sell at local farmers markets. You may want to consider some best practices related to produce safety: https://www.canr.msu.edu/agrifood_safety/ available on our MSUE Website and may want to look into a few voluntary food safety programs like Michigan Safe Food Risk Assessment (https://www.canr.msu.edu/agrifood_safety/uploads/files/E-3153%20Final.pdf) or USDA Good Agricultural Practices (https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/auditing/gap-ghp ). You should also make sure that you have liability insurance and also have incorporated into a business (whether that is LLC or what have you). Leafy greens can be a riskier food safety product so it is important to have a separate business entity for personal financial protection. I would also consider developing a label. If you have any food safety specific questions please don't hesitate to reach out over email at zieglerg@msu.edu.

So I am legally allowed to grow baby greens from my home and sell them directly for use in restaurants in Kent County Michigan? I do not need to obtain a food establishment license? Am I operating under the Michigan cottage laws? This is for just harvested and packaged, not additionally cut, baby greens

Yes, this is MDARD's response for selling at a farmers market, but the same holds true for selling directly to restaurants.

A farmer sells a salad mixture of assorted lettuce leaves and other greens from an open box (in bulk). Since the lettuce leaves are intact and not cut, is a license required and are there any food safety concerns?
So long as the lettuce leaves remain intact and undamaged when de-stemmed, a license would not be required at the farmer's own packing facility or the farmers market. However, the lettuce or other greens must be handled safely and protected from contamination. Although the consumer is responsible for washing the salad mixture prior to use, MDARD recommends that a sign be placed at the point-of-sale to remind customers that this produce should be washed before eating since it is in a ready-to-eat form. Assorted salad greens can also be packaged in the same bag. Again, no license is required as long as the lettuce leaves remain intact and undamaged when de-stemming.

You may want to reach out to the MDARD Food Inspector, just to talk over things.