Selling at the farmers market


Oct 7, 2023
I'm considering selling at the farmers market next season. I ran across a great article that mentions some of the permits that might be required. I need to look into it further, but figured I'd share in case it helps someone else. Does anything surprise you from the list? I guessed that I'd need a Retail Food Establishment License, but was surprised that they're obtained through most local health departments.
United States
That's a great resource, thanks @Farmaholic.

When you ask around to get informed on permitting questions, the answer you often get is something along the lines of "it depends on x, y, and x" and "go check with your local jurisdiction." I like how that article, in addition to saying "it depends," also does a good job explaining some basics about the sorts of licenses/permits you can expect to need across jurisdictions, while also providing some jurisdiction-specific examples (i.e., for Florida, California, and Texas). As you pointed out, the article mentions that a Retail Food Establishment License would be needed at the very least. It was also interesting to learn how requirements really do vary across different states. For example, Texas seems unique in requiring that each farmers market participant obtain their own event permit.

I thought the information on cottage food laws for smaller operations in Florida and Texas (and probably many other jurisdictions) was especially informative. It's nice that the smallest operators get a break from permitting/inspection requirements under such laws, though I also appreciate Florida's requirement that such food products be labeled to indicate that they aren't subject to food safety regulations.

I was also left wondering whether requirements for farmers who are simply growing and selling produce differ from those for vendors who are selling food items prepared in a home or commercial kitchen. Because of the handling involved, I would think the latter would be subject to more rigorous health permitting.

Anyways, good luck with your research! Hopefully you're able to get up and running at your local farmers market without too many bureaucratic hurdles.
Yeah each area will differ in terms of rules and regulations when it comes to selling at a farmers market. I would reach out to whoever runs the farmers market too, as I'm sure they will have more knowledge of what needs to be done in your area. The article you posted helps a lot, but doesn't cover everywhere.
All sorts of vending, including selling in farmers' markets, require permits, often including health and business permits. Regulations vary by state and local authorities. When you sell food items, you also need specific permits. For instance, if you sell organic produce, you need an organic certification license.