Come & Get It!

What You Need to Know to Serve Food on Your Farm

Come and Get It on-farm food service manual cover image

Talk about paradise for the local food enthusiast: dining directly on a farm, savoring specialties made with that farm’s fresh-raised fare, and chatting with the farmer who grew it.

It’s appealing from the host farmers’ perspectives as well -- you can foster the intimate opportunity to share both your farm home and bucolic setting while loyal customers taste your harvest in the freshest possible manner.

Add these two motivations together and you see a vibrant movement of on-farm food events, from informal “pizza farms” selling wood-fired pizzas made with farm-raised ingredients to pricier white-tablecloth, multi-course dinners.

But while the concept of sharing a meal around a table reaches back through centuries of history, in today’s business and regulatory reality it isn’t as simple as setting out an extra table and chairs and collecting cash to get something started. Adding any form of on-farm food service to your farm business mix requires a well-thought-out and strategic planning process to bring you to long-term success.

***NOTE:  As of summer 2018, Come & Get It! is under revision. The 2015 version is available below. Just be aware that some information -- especially the Regulatory & Liability information for Wisconsin -- is now out of date. The revised 2018 version will be available here in December 2018. ***

Come & Get It! Chapters 1 - 5 (PDF, 1.0 Mb)

 

- Introduction

- Assessment: Is On-farm Food Service Right for You?

- Marketing

- Financing

- Profile: Dinner on the Farm

- Profile: Stoney Acres Farm

 

Regulatory & Liability Information

Minnesota (PDF, 411 kb)

Wisconsin (PDF, 371 kb)

 

Fair Use of Materials:

You are welcome to adapt and use these materials as needed; and to download, print, and distribute any portion of this toolkit. Please do not charge recipients more than the cost of printing and handling. Please give the following credit:

"This publication was a collaborative effort of the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Renewing the Countryside, Farm Commons, and JDI Enterprises, Inc.with support from the MISA Information Exchange and USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program. Regulatory staff from the Dairy and Food Inspection Division, Minnesota Department of Agriculture; the Environmental Health Division, Minnesota Department of Health; Wisconsin Department of Health Services; and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; provided information and assisted with development and review of this document. This document is not an official publication of any of the above named agencies."


The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture makes all publications available online free of charge. We do have costs to research and develop our publications. If you would like to support that effort, we welcome donations:

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You might be interested in these additional MISA resources:

 

Farmstay Manual

Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses

A Guide to Regulations for Local Food Entrepreneurs

Commercial Kitchen Guide

 

More Resources:

Farm Commons