Papa Tom's Cajun Boiled Peanuts in Michigan!

by Tom Laporte
(Ann Arbor, Michigan USA)

I brought the time honored southern tradition to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Business was slow at first, but now they are catching on! GO BLUE!
boiled peanuts

Comments for Papa Tom's Cajun Boiled Peanuts in Michigan!

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Feb 29, 2012
Go North
by: John Blake

It is great to see someone spreading the tradition.

Mar 03, 2012
Keep'em cookin Tom
by: Bootleg Dave

That's great Tom! Love to see people that are not scared to stand out. Are you posting them on Craigs list?


Mar 03, 2012
by: Papa Tom

Thanks to all who commented. I am running into some obstacles with local regulations. I am wondering whether to invest in a boiled peanut trailer that meets "food vendor" stipulations. Does anyone have any leads on where to buy one?
Thanks, Papa Tom

Mar 04, 2012
by: Bootleg Dave

Health Department bustin' your Peanuts? Trailers can cost a pretty penny - the last one I had cost $4500.00. Bret is the peanut legal guru, post what they want & maybe he can guide you more.


Mar 04, 2012
Boiled Peanut Trailors
by: Papa Tom

Thanks for your help all (especially Bootleg Dave) If I was interested in buying a Boiled Peanut Trailer, any suggestions on where to purchase, and what to look for to be "up to code" with Health Department Regulations? Thank ya'all in advance for your help.
Papa Tom in Michigan

Mar 04, 2012
by: Bret

I appreciate the endorsement by Dave, but I'm no guru, legal or otherwise. I can only give my opinion based on my interpretation of the details specified in regulations and requirements. These vary by state, city, county. Your best bet is to consult a local lawyer who understands the local food regulations.

It is likely that your local regulatory authorities have not dealt with boiled peanut vendors before. It is possible they are applying inappropriate, overly restrictive regulations because they don't understand boiled peanuts.

For example, says "Vendors who sell only uncut fruit and vegetables are exempt from retail food establishment licensure, even if offering samples. Vendors who sell wrapped, non-potentially hazardous foods are also exempt. Food must be protected from contamination at all times, and vendors who prepare samples on site must follow the minimum sanitation guidelines “Preparing and Offering Food Samples to Consumers”. These guidelines state that the person preparing the samples must have an available handwashing facility and must prepare the samples in a sanitary manner."

Boiled peanuts are an uncut vegetable. Unless someone is allergic, peanuts are "non-potentially hazardous foods" whether they are raw or boiled, in my opinion.

What specific regulation or requirement is indicating that you must have a food trailer in order to sell boiled peanuts?


Mar 23, 2012
Boiled Peanut Trailer
by: Papa Tom

I am still looking to buy or build a trailer that would be able to be certified by the health department. Has anyone out there gone through this process? I am looking for any and all advice and requirements that you may know of.
Thanks in advance, Papa Tom

Mar 24, 2012
Michigan Food Law
by: Bret

You asked specifically about a trailer. Who told you that you need a trailer in order to sell boiled peanuts, and what regulation did they say required this?

The standards for all food establishments in Michigan are set by the
Michigan Food Law, Act 92 of 2000, as amended (MCL 289.1101 289.8111).

The trailer or other temporary food establishment would have to be designed to support proper food handling and dispensing, per Michigan Food Law, and Washtenaw County Health Department requirements.

Per Michigan Food Law, Act 92 of 2000, as amended (MCL 289.1101 289.8111).
289.1111 Definitions; R to W.

“Special transitory food unit” means a temporary food establishment that is licensed to operate throughout the state without the 14-day limits or a mobile food establishment that is not required to return to a commissary.

Mar 31, 2012
Michigan Food Law (part 2)
by: Bret

289.6137 Special transitory food unit license; procedures; qualifications; noncompliance.
Sec. 6137.
(1) To qualify for a special transitory food unit license, an applicant shall allow a review and receive approval of plans and specifications as specified in
chapter VI. This review and approval must include the menu and standard operating procedures for the unit.
(2) A special transitory food unit license holder shall do all of the following:
(a) Keep a copy of the approved standard operating procedures in the unit and available for review upon evaluation by the director.
(b) Operate in compliance with standard operation procedures approved by the director.
(c) Before serving food within the jurisdiction of a local health department, notify the local health department in writing of each location in the jurisdiction at which food will be served and the dates and hours of service. The license holder shall mail the notice by first-class mail or deliver the notice not less than 4 business days before any food is served or prepared for serving within the jurisdiction of the local health department.
(d) While in operation, request and receive 2 evaluations per licensing year spaced generally over the span of the operating season. A local health department and the department shall charge a fee of $90.00 for such an evaluation.
(e) Send a copy of all evaluation reports to the regulatory authority that approved the license within 30 days after receipt.
(3) If a license holder fails to comply with any of the requirements of this section or the food code, the food establishment is ineligible for licensure as a special transitory temporary food establishment for the following licensing year and must apply for temporary or other type of food establishment licenses.

Mar 31, 2012
Michigan Food Law (part 3)
by: Bret

289.6133 Mobile food establishment operating at fixed location; temporary license.
Sec. 6133.
The director may license as a temporary food service establishment a mobile food establishment which does not return to a commissary or service base after 24 hours but continues to operate at a fixed location.

289.6135 Mobile food establishment; affixing name and address to vehicle; carrying copy of limitations; route schedule; decals.
Sec. 6135.
(1) The name and address of the business operating a mobile food establishment shall be affixed to each side of the exterior of the vehicle in letters not less than 3 inches high and 3/8 of an inch wide and shall be in contrast to the vehicle background color. When more than 1 mobile food service establishment is operated by the same person, the director shall assign a number to each establishment.
(2) A copy of limitations attached to the license of a mobile food service establishment shall be carried on the mobile food service establishment at all times.
(3) If a mobile food establishment is operating on a regularly scheduled route, the local health department having jurisdiction may require the license holder to provide a copy of the route schedule at the time the license is approved and every time the route schedule is changed.
(4) A representative of the local health department or the operator in the presence of the representative of the local health department shall affix 2 decals provided by the department on the mobile food establishment at the time the license is issued. The decals shall be conspicuously displayed on each side of the mobile food establishment so as to be visible when in transit and while serving the public.

Mar 31, 2012
Michigan Food Law (part 4)
by: Bret

Michigan has adopted a modified version of the
2009 FDA Food Code effective October 1,
2012 as the sanitation standard for all Michigan food establishments.

Here is the 2009 FDA food code.

Washtenaw County Food service inspection program FAQ.

Apr 17, 2012
by: Oldnormal

You will need to apply for a special use permit in Scio Township first. This will require a simple site plan, a public hearing, the attachment of reasonable conditions if the the permit is awarded. This type of permit is discretionary and is not an automatic.

Apr 19, 2012
Thanks for the info
by: papa tom

Thanks for the great info I am going to look into this! I really appreciate all the help.

Jul 24, 2012
by: kevin P

So are you up for business and can you ship APO. I'm in Afghanistan and would love to buy some for over here.

Jul 28, 2012
Boiled Peanuts in Afganistan
by: Bret

I can see that Boiled Peanut World's email notifier is having trouble letting Papa Tom know about your message. Perhaps I can assist you.

The problem with shipping boiled peanuts is that they spoil quickly. Within the USA, boiled peanut shippers freeze their boiled peanuts, and then require 2-3 day delivery times. Otherwise, the boiled peanuts will spoil.

Commercially canned boiled peanuts don't spoil over a long time, but their taste leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion. I've tasted canned boiled peanuts over the years, and don't think they represent the taste of fresh, or frozen boiled peanuts.

I recently got a can of Winn Dixie green boiled peanuts, and compared them with my fresh made boiled peanuts. Commercially canned peanuts use Erythorbic Acid as a food preservative. Erythorbic Acid is a stereoisomer of ascorbic acid, which is vitamin C. It imparts a tart, sour taste to the peanuts which detracts from the goodness that I associate with fresh boiled peanuts.

Dried raw peanuts don't spoil easily, and are easy to ship.

If you received some dried raw peanuts, salt, and Cajun spices would you be able to boil them? A crock pot, or a pot and stove, some water, and time would be needed. Perhaps you have a friend that works in food services that could help.

I spoke with a friend of my who was stationed in Afghanistan, and he told me that your available cooking resources depends on your base.

Contact me on this page, and I will reply privately. I'm glad to help you any way that I can.

Best Regards,

Jul 20, 2022
by: bailey

papa tom,

i came across your website in trying to find boiled peanuts in the northern us. i got surprisingly caught up in the trailer saga, did you ever end up purchasing a trailer for your rising boiled peanuts business? or was there more obstacles thrown your way?

best regards

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