Several factors are essential for a successful sale of products at the farmers market, and among them, safety and quality are the two key factors. Vendors need to sell safe and high-quality products to attract customers. The following guidelines provide useful information for farmers market vendors.
Avoid keeping products directly on the ground. Use pallets to store products above the ground.
Photo Credit: Priyanka Gupta and Ivannova Lituma.
Displaying products in an appealing manner is an important aspect of attracting customers. A good display is a useful strategy for selling products safely and improving sales.
- Place products vertically and within easy reach for display at least 6 inches off the ground. Also, tilt containers at a slight angle so that customers can see your product from a distance.
- All surfaces that come in contact with food, including storage and display containers, should be properly cleaned and sanitized. Products should be kept covered if possible.
- The safe temperature of the product should be maintained while on display. Keep hot foods at or above 140 F, cold foods at or below 40 F and frozen foods at 0 F or below. Keep foods separated by their types. Raw products and cooked products should be kept separate.
- Ready-to-eat processed foods should be covered or pre-packed.
- Place the items in your booth in a natural flow with levels, angles and colors set up to make the booth easy to navigate.
- Keep a ready supply of clean bags for the customers.
- Keep a proper stock of your farm pamphlets and recipes.
- If you have a social media page or website, display it on your stand or on your business cards.
- Always keep a proper stock of products to be sold.
- The purpose of labeling is to communicate product information to customers.
- The type of labeling used depends on the product’s requirements and food safety regulations.
- Labels can be applied to the product package as stickers or printed directly on the package.
- The labels on packaged food products should include the following:
- Name of the product.
- Name and address of the manufacturer.
- Weight or numeric count of the product.
- Preparation requirements, if needed.
- Apart from these, the mandated information that complies with both federal and state food safety standards and guidelines must also be included on the labels.
- Clearly display signs that show the farm name, location, product types, prices and enrollment in any federal nutrition assistance programs.
Use clear and simple product signs and price tags.
An example of a label for strawberry jam (a value-added product) to be sold at the farmers market.
An example of a label for eggs to be sold at the farmers market.
- Wear clean and suitable clothing and shoes.
- Avoid wearing jewelry such as necklaces and bracelets while handling food.
- Do not touch ready-to-eat food with your bare hands. Use gloves.
- If you have a cut, wear disposable gloves after washing your hands and applying a bandage.
- Do not handle or sell food if experiencing symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or sore throat until at least 24 hours after symptoms end.
- Do not eat, drink or smoke in the stall.
Build Customer Relationships
- Ask customers various questions about their needs and preferences.
- Inform customers about your products, including how to use, store or preserve them.
- Share with customers how the foods are grown or processed and what makes your product special.
- If your product is new or unique, provide customers with a recipe for cooking the item.
- Discuss briefly the special or rich flavors and quality of your products.
- Also inform customers if you have any positive feedback from previous customers.
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Cornell University Cooperative Extension Jefferson County. (2011). Food Safety Recommendations for Farmers Markets. https://onfarmfoodsafety.rutgers.edu/wp-content/up...
Critzer, F.J. (2017). Food Safety Considerations for Meat and Poultry Vendors. In: Harrison, J. (eds) Food Safety for Farmers Markets: A Guide to Enhancing Safety of Local Foods. Food Microbiology and Food Safety. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-66689-1_5
Tarr, M., Brown, C., and Rumley, R.W. (2013). Louisiana Direct Farm Business Guide. http://nationalaglawcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/...
U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers Market. (2019). 2019 Rules and Procedures and Operating Guidelines. https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media...