Q & A - Can I forage food in the woods for my menu?
Updated: Feb 5, 2022
Q: Hi, I want to enrich my menu with truly foraged foods like ferns, berries, flowers, mushrooms, and greens. Can I just go into the woods and pick foods for my menu?
A: Yes, there are no Food Sanitation Rule regulations around foraged plants and fruit at this time. The exception is for mushrooms. A restaurateur foraging mushrooms would be required to fill out the Wild Mushroom Verification form and add the statement to their menu. Many restaurants get their produce directly from a farm, which is allowed as well.
Chef Karl Holl out foraging in the beautiful PNW.
But for meats/fish/poultry, the providers must be properly licensed by the correct agency for the product to be allowed in a restaurant facility.
Homegrown produce (vegetables/fruit/herbs) is allowed in restaurants in Oregon. The Department of Agriculture regulates produce at warehouses and stores but not at the site where the vegetables are grown. Any vegetables/produce can be sold directly from the grower/farm to a warehouse, store, or restaurant. Inspectors should ask questions about where and how the produce is grown, how it is protected from contamination, what type of fertilizers or pesticides are used, and how the produce is handled until it arrives at the foodservice facility.
Fact sheet on Harvesting Wild Mushrooms