Life as a farmer or rancher doesn’t always involve a lot of weekends off. So, if you’re already legally selling some of the things you produce on your land, a table at your local farmers market might be a great way to make some extra money and find new customers who love what you do. Here are a handful of ways to get involved in your local farmers market.
Shop At Your Local Market a Few Times
See what is being sold, how it’s labeled, and what is popular. You’ll find that some communities buy out fresh fruits and vegetables, while others are more interested in crafts and smoked meats. You’ll know quickly whether or not selling at your local market will be worth your time and energy.
Research Your Market
Get to know the rules for selling at your local market. Ask for the organizers of the farmers market, or look for information on the organization’s website. You’ll find a list of farmers markets in both Oregon and Washington using the links below.
Questions You Should Ask
Before applying to any farmers market, do some research. That could include a phone call with the market manager. Some of the questions you should ask include:
Q: What fees will you need to pay to sell at the market? Is it a weekly fee or annual fee? Or is it based on sales?
Q: Do people really shop there? How many people visit the farmers market every week?
Q: Is the market volunteer-driven? Will you be expected to help out with the business side of the farmers market as a vendor?
Q: How does the market advertise? Is it enough to keep the market going and growing?
Q: Does the market provide credit card processing? Are you expected to run cards on your own devices?
Q: Are there special programs you would need to incorporate? Are vendors expected to accept Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) or other food assistance funds such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?
Start Your Application
When you find your local market’s website, look for an application to sell. Those applications are usually rather quick and easy. Just be aware that you’ll need a business license (from the state as well as the city where the farmers market resides), permits and licenses to sell (produce, meat, eggs, dairy, etc.), insurance, a quick description of your farm, and other information that pertains to your specific crop or product.
If you’re unsure about the rules to sell dairy, meat or other products, check out our articles Livestock Butchering Options, Beginners Guide to Raw Milk, as well as Four Ways to Make Money with Goats. You can also check out the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) Federal Meat Inspection Act.
Set Yourself Apart
If there are already several businesses selling what you sell, the farmers market manager might decline your application due to what they call the product mix. The manager’s job is to attract shoppers and help the market grow. Or you can simply differentiate what you grow or produce. Labels as well as unique growing or raising practices can help set you apart from others.
Get Started at Coastal
You’ll find plants, seeds, starts, fencing, feed, immunizations, salt blocks, water troughs, feeders, waterers, chicken supplies, and just about anything else you’ll need to make it big at your local farmers market at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal. To look your best at the market, stop by and try on some of today’s hottest western wear, including hats, pants, tops, belts, and boots.