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Extension > Food > Farm to School > Minnesota Toolkit for School Foodservice > Sourcing Food > Sourcing Herbs

Sourcing Herbs

Fresh herbs may be available in summer, fall, and early spring in Minnesota — depending on the type of herb. Basil and dill are frost-sensitive and will probably only be available fresh in the early fall. Cilantro and parsley are more cold-hardy and may be available in spring as well.

Regulations on Buying Herbs Directly from Farmers

Minnesota state laws permit retail establishments and food services to purchase raw, unprocessed fruits and vegetables (including leafy greens and herbs) from any farmer who is selling the produce of his or her own farm. See Finding Local Food for databases and directories of local producers.

Fact Sheet for Buying Produce (282 K PDF)

Best Time to Buy

Buy fresh, local herbs in the late summer for use when school begins. Purchases of local herbs can continue up until the first frost for basil and dill, and until a hard frost for cilantro or parsley. Fresh herbs can also be purchased during the summer, and chopped and either frozen or dried for use during the school year. Drying of herbs is not difficult. Read this article on drying herbs from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Food Buying Guide Specifications

Reference: Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service

Food As Purchased (How the Product Can Be Purchased)

Purchase Unit (How You Should Order the Product)

Servings per Purchase Unit (How Many Servings You Will Get Per Purchase Unit)

Serving Size per Meal Contribution (For Each Meal Component Category)

Amount Needed to Buy of the Purchase Units for 100 Servings

Additional Information




2 ounces fresh = 1 ½ cup chopped


For flavor, use about 2.9 ounces or 4 cups fresh, chopped parsley in place of 1 ounce dry flakes




½ ounce fresh = 1 cup chopped leaves


For flavor, use 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dry, crushed basil




½ ounce fresh = ½ cup chopped


For flavor, use 3 tablespoons fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dry

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