Springtime is here, and with it the fresh aromas and flavors of the new season. Flowers are blooming, and fresh herbs become more readily available. That got us to thinking about CFPMs and In-House Grown Herbs, what’s to prevent them from adding some of that freshness to their menu by growing their own herb gardens in-house?
CFPMs and In-House Grown Herbs Use
It should first be noted, that growing herbs at your facility should only really be done on a small scale. Mass production may be outside of the realm of certified food protection managers’ abilities, but growing live plants can help cut down on costs and help you ensure that your ingredients are fresh. Here’s a few things to think about if you’re considering growing your own herbs:
- Keep herb boxes and gardens away from the production floor
- Avoid soil additives such as fertilizer, manure and pesticides
- Always wash picked herbs before using
We’re in no way suggesting you plant a garden in the middle of your kitchen, so an herb garden may not be for every facility. When considering an in-house herb garden, look for locations outside and away from the kitchen. Some restaurants make this a feature for their guests to see, either in front of the restaurant or guest pathways leading to the facility. This implants the idea of fresh ingredients before they’ve even viewed your menu. For some, a garden may not be possible, but smaller box style planters around the facility allow you to grow commonly used ingredients.
Certified food protection managers need to be very aware of contaminates and unnatural pathogens when using freshly grown herbs. For this reason, we’d recommend using pure soil rather than adding any fertilizer or compost. Many gardening supply stores have special mixes that would help grow savory herbs without additives.
Some jurisdictions may have different rules about growing herbs or other produce onsite, so if you need help with local rules, don’t hesitate to contact your local health inspector.
Would you consider growing any type of ingredients at your restaurant or other food production facility, or do you prefer bringing it in from your suppliers?