What to Know About Selling at a Farmers Market
(Photo by MSU Extension)
Have you considered becoming a vendor at your local farmers market? It’s important to do some research, check regulations, and make a plan before you begin a business or begin selling your products at one.
These tips can help you create a plan for selling at farmers markets and other similar venues:
Determine your product
- If you already make or grow a product, talk with the manager of your local farmers market to understand what types of products are featured in that market and if your items will sell well.
- If you don’t have a product to sell yet, think about what you can grow or make. Your local market may lack a certain product that you can provide.
- When making a food product, make sure to follow proper guidance and regulations from local and state authorities.
Do your research
- Ask the farmers market manager about licensing requirements, insurance requirements, and sales tax collections. Are you going to use a scale to weigh items? Check to see if the scale needs to be certified. Are you making a food product? Check to make sure you are following labeling guidelines. https://extension.msstate.edu/publications/labeling-mississippi-cottage-food-products
- Visit the market when it is open. Try visiting on different days or try showing up at different times. Visiting later in the day may be a better opportunity to talk with current vendors and ask questions.
Set your Budget and Price
- Calculate what it costs to make or grow your product and determine your price. Extension Publication 3828, “Growing Your Brand: Starting a Farmers Market Business Youth Workbook” gives you the mathematical formulas to set prices.
- You may also find publications from Cornell University’s Small Farms Program and University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension helpful.
Learn rules and regulations
- Learn what rules and regulations your local farmers market imposes for vendors.
- Contact your local Extension office and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce to understand rules and requirements related to farmers market vendors and produce safety.
- Cottage food vendors can find information about the rules and regulations that apply to their businesses in Extension Publications:
- The Mississippi Department of Health oversees cottage food operations in Mississippi. Find more information on their website.
Market your product
- Develop a marketing plan by figuring out who your audience and potential customer are. Develop ways to interest them in your product.
- Choose a business name and design a logo.
- Develop a social media presence for your product and brand.
Design your booth
- Sketch your booth layout.
- Design eye-catching signs and displays for your booth.
- Decide how you will package your product for purchase. Some items may require precise labeling. Check with your local Extension office, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, or the Mississippi Department of Health.
- Determine if you will accept pre-orders or digital payments. Ensure you have the equipment to do so.
More information and live links to resources about selling at a farmers market can be found in Extension Publication 3828, “Growing Your Brand: Starting a Farmers Market Business Youth Workbook.”
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