People these days flock to their local farmers market for fresh produce at fair prices all across the nation. Showing at farmers markets is a great place for small businesses to generate a little extra money and make people aware of what they do.
You can find out information online by visiting your local city government or Department of Agriculture website. The Department of Agriculture offers information on local laws and farmers market requirements, and often lists the markets looking for vendors, along with the appropriate contact information.
Showing and selling at a farmers market does have a fee associated with it, which can vary from area to area, and each market is different. Some markets supply the basic essentials such as tents, poles for banners, tables, and chairs. Electricity and water are other valuable things to have at a space, depending on what is being sold and displayed. Others simply rent out the space. Typically the more things that are supplied by the market, the more you will pay for renting the space. Some markets charge by the day, others by the week, month, or even for the entire season. Always check out the details to be well informed. By the way, insurance is often needed so the owner of the market will not be liable.
Legitimate farmers markets follow their local regulatory agency requirements regarding licensing, health and cleanliness, food labeling, and eligibility. Vendors should receive this information from the market organizers, or they can visit the Department of Agriculture website for information.
Small businesses are responsible for providing safe and properly labeled food, whether or not the market has provided them with the rules and regulations. Small businesses and farmers who grow and or package their own produce or wares usually do not need a license, but if a farmer buys any produce from another source to resell at the market, a license is required.
Tax rules can vary, too. Some farmers markets take care of tax information, while others do not. A vendor needs to keep their own records either way. They can monitor the market, or submit their own records. Having an accurate accounting of their sales will give them a system that works for either. A tax expert is a good idea as well.
Signage is helpful to be successful at a farmers market. People often wander around and look, and a sign will help them remember the name of the place they want to come back to. They can also refer people when they know the name of the vendor. Vendors need to also have supplies, such as a place for money, pricing information, and bags to sell their product in. Never overlook transportation either. Getting product to market is important, and large quantities often require a larger vehicle to transport it to market.
A professional looking display can really help a space get noticed. Vendor displays can compete with each other, so having good details in place to catch a customers eye helps. Good signs, use of color, and clever displays will help sales soar.
These are only some of the guidelines from Susan Nelson Hopkins for you to consider when selling through a farmers market. Have a look at this no-cost listing of Farmers Market References and Resources to find comprehensive federal, state, and community contact information. By the way, since ripe, succulent fruit is often among the first items that sell out at any farmers market, you should also check out this relevant article about developing and maintaining healthy young fruit trees.
- It’s True! Farmers Markets Are Cheaper Than Supermarkets (thekitchn.com)
- Breaking the Farmer’s Market Myth (friendseat.com)
- Opening Day at Division Street Farmers Market (chicagoist.com)
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