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How to Sell at a Farmers Market

selling at a farmers market requires permits

Selling your handmade items at a farmers’ market can be a great side hustle or way to establish your small business. However, if you’re a new vendor, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of selling before setting up your stall. 

Permits and Licenses to Sell at a Farmers Market

Selling at a farmers’ market requires more than just a product; you need to comply with state and local regulations, especially if you plan to sell food. For instance, if you want to learn how to sell cookies at a farmers’ market, you’ll also need to know how to acquire the proper licensing to do so. 

Depending on your location, you may need the following farmer’s market permits and licenses:

  • Business license
  • Scale certification from the Bureau of Standards (if using scales to weigh your food)
  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Seasonal Food Permit
  • Department of Agriculture and Food certification (not always necessary for marketing fresh produce)

You’ll most likely need certification from the Board of Health in the area, too. Getting their certification will ensure that your product is safe for consumption and that the place you prepare the food is free of hazards and unsanitary conditions. 

Fees and Profits

Fees for owning and operating market stalls vary depending on which licenses and certifications you’ll need. However, profits for market stalls average about $1,070 a month, according to a USDA study.

How to Become a Vendor at Local Farmers Markets

You can’t just walk to your local market and expect to set up a booth right then and there. Here’s the vital information you’ll need before becoming a vendor.

Choose a Product

An essential factor to consider before selling at a farmers market is your product. What can you create, and what might sell best at the market? 

Farmer’s market products can include:

  • Local produce (such as eggs, fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, raw honey, etc.)
  • Arts and handmade crafts
  • Retail items (such as soap, candles, home decor, clothing, etc.)
  • Resale items
  • Food to order
  • Baked goods
  • Woodworking

What Kind of Baked Goods Can You Sell at a Farmer’s Market?

Baked food items at a farmers’ market range from desserts and pastries to artisanal bread and loaves. However, prepared food products made in small volumes will typically fall under cottage food law, which is more restrictive than, say, produce grown on your farm.

Cottage Food Law

This type of law restricts which homemade products you can sell on market day and which food you cannot. For example, you might be able to sell croissants, cookies, bread, and muffins, but not anything that requires refrigeration because it poses a health risk. 

Contact the Farmer’s Market Manager

Getting in touch with the business or organization behind the farmers’ market will give you a better sense of which permits and licenses you’ll need, or they might direct you to state resources with more information about the area’s requirements, primarily regarding selling food

Speaking with the market manager will also give you insight into where, when, and what you’ll need to set up your stand or booth. Plus, they can give you the rundown of the market policies and what you’ll need to fill out a vendor application. 

Setting Up a Booth

It’s relatively standard for local businesses to set up tents for their products at a farmers’ market. It’s not necessarily a requirement, but it helps create a better look, protects your services from potential rain and harsh sun, and gives you a space to organize your product appealingly. 

You’ll need to consider your market stall set-up before attending the craft fair because you will have to rent or purchase the tent, table, and other booth accessories in advance. Or, if you plan to make your farmers market appearance a routine, you might want to consider investing in purchasing a tent to avoid continual rental fees.

How to Determine If Farmers Markets Are a Good Fit for Your Product

Is a farmers’ market right for you? Well, if you have an item or food product that you think can make a profit consistently, a farmer’s market might be a solid option for you to consider. However, it’s not always about the product but about how you market it.

How Do You Stand Out at a Farmer’s Market? 

It’s one thing to show up at your local farmers market; it’s another to gain traction. Being a vendor can be a competitive game, primarily if you sell similar products as other market stalls at the event. As a result, you’ll want to stand out among the fellow vendors. 

Market Yourself and Your Product

One way you can bolster your credibility, product, and market performance is through social media. Create a brand for your product before attending the market and cultivate a following. Post frequently about your product, interact with your followers, and keep them updated on where you’ll set up your stall. 

Curate Your Brand in Preparation to Sell

Creating a brand for your product will help establish credibility and keep customers coming back for more. For example, a customer is more likely to remember and return to a stall that had a fun name, logo, and product packaging. 

You might want to look into creating a banner for your stall, complete with your desired name, and design an eye-catching logo. You can also create business cards with your social media pages and contact information along with stickers to seal your packages. 

Tips and Tricks to Get the Most Out of Your Market Stall

So you’ve procured all of the appropriate permits, know what product you’ll sell, and are ready for success, but how do you ensure your success? Follow these market stall tips.

Establish Payment Methods

To accept credit card payments or to not, that is the question. The answer? If you want. Accepting credit card payments is a great way to reach a broader consumer base in a flea market. Surprisingly, many people don’t carry as much cash as they used to, so relying on cash-only payments restricts your business. 

However, credit card payments might also require a percentage of your profit. If you don’t want to deal with losing some of your money to credit card payments, you might want to stick to cash-only. If you do want to accept credit, you can purchase plenty of mobile devices that attach to your phone for easy payments.

Stock Your Stall

You might want to consider preparing more products than you intend to sell to ensure you can keep up with demand. If you aren’t sure how much you should begin with, research the average consumer consumption and product popularity and go from there. 

Attracting Customers

If you want to take your social media platform further to attract customers during market day and before, create an area within your stall where customers can take pictures of your product. People love an impromptu photoshoot opportunity, and it will help get your name out. 

You can also offer free samples to get individuals interested in the product. Free samples are always a crowd-pleaser!

SmartCents Mom