Cottage Food & Farm Stands

Selling your washed fresh fruit, tomatoes and spinach to almost anyone anywhere isn't a problem. By Selling from your home, farm markets or farm stands on your property.... Many people make a good living doing just that.... but.

-- Don't you dare cut open a melon or apple to for a customer to sample. -- The Michigan Dept. of Agriculture (MDA) and your local health department will take a dim view of such practices. Slicing open anything can only be prepared and packaged in an inspected state & local approved commercial kitchen

Eggs are regulated by the MDARD as well. Anyone can purchase your eggs from you directly, without inspection of any kind. However, if you want sell your eggs through the neighborhood store or to a restaurant, they have to be graded and washed in a state approved kitchen.

Certain foods you can make in your home kitchen and sell; Artisan bread, yes - Focaccia, no. Chocolate coated nuts, yes. - Candied apples, no.

Michigan's Cottage Food Law, PA 113 of 2010 exempts a "cottage food operation" from the licensing and inspection provisions of the Michigan Food Law.

So you could make "aunt Matilda's boysenberry jelly" in your kitchen at home and sell it to the public. Maybe become as famous as "Amos" and his cookies.

You can find a list all the acceptable "Cottage Foods" deemed safe listed here -,4610,7-125-50772_45851-240577--,00.html#ProductList

Putting it simply, anything that can sit out, unrefrigerated all-day, is considered safe. The sale of your products has to be sold directly to your customer. The cottage food guidelines are purposely designed to have you make the exchange, with your customer, hand-to hand...


Here is the place to start when it comes to food & licences in Michigan - Fancy Can = MDARD paperwork!

Your -On Farm- Farm Stand

Before you build that farm stand for your farm you need to go see your village or township zoning department. But read the Michigan GAAMP's about farm markets first.

Here is a quick summary of things you'll want to know....

  • At least 50 percent of the gross sales dollars of products sold at the farm market need to be from products produced on your farm.
  • A farm market may be a physical structure such as a building or tent, or simply an area where a transaction between a customer and a farmer is made. Also farmer with a farm located far from normal traffic patterns may acquire control (rent) of land near a more heavily travelled road on which to locate the market. However, the market must be located on property where local land use zoning allows for agriculture and its related activities.
  • The placement of the structure must comply with local zoning ordinances, including set-backs from property lines and road right-of way areas.
  • Parking and Driveways Parking and driveway surfaces may be vegetative, ground, pavement, or other suitable material. However, other parking and driveway requirements must comply with all applicable local, state, and federal regulations.

The vegetative ground means that you don't have to put in a gravel or paved parking area. That's a Big Deal. A 30' x 120' gravel driveway costs about $1,000. A small parking area could run up to $5,000 or $6,000 easily.

This is only a sampling from the Cottage Food and the GAAMP's Farm Market guidelines. Be sure that you read the whole thing.

Under the cottage food guidelines, everything you make in your home kitchen needs a label like this.


Here is the chart of other activities you may be able to offer on in your Farm Market.