Sell homemade food online or at the market

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What Sells Best at Farmers' Markets

If you're working on inventory for your booth, it pays to know what sells best at farmers’ markets. As you might expect, fruits and vegetables are easily the best-selling farmers market items. In fact, 99.6 percent of markets sell fruits and vegetables, according to National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) farmers market statistics 2019. 

When you consider the best selling produce at farmers markets, think organic, heirloom, colorful, and unique. For example, some of the best things to sell on a market stall are colorful peppers and heirloom carrots. And all varieties of baby vegetables, including leeks, cucumbers, eggplants, and radishes, are among the best selling items at markets. 

Other best selling vegetables include: 

  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Specialty mushrooms
  • Pumpkins
  • Jerusalem artichokes

The best crops for farmers markets are organic potatoes, such as fingerlings. You can also count on making plenty of sales with bountiful harvests of string beans, squash, zucchini, and onions. Seasonal fruit and berries are always a hit too.

Other best-selling items at markets are fresh herbs, garlic, mustard, horseradish, wasabi, ginger, and edible flowers. 

Ultimately, the best-selling farmers market items are homegrown or homemade. You'll want to keep that in mind if you're looking for the best-selling plants at farmers markets. Your customers are likely looking for tomato seedlings more often than houseplants. 

When it comes to the best-baked goods to sell at the farmers market, you'll never go wrong with homemade bread and pastries. 

What Permits Do I Need To Sell At A Farmers Market

Now, when you start thinking about what foods sell the best at farmers markets, your next thought might be, what permits do I need to sell at a farmers market? Or, do I need a license to sell vegetables? 

Let's look at an example. Do you need a license to sell homegrown vegetables in Texas? AgriLife Extension program specialist Rebecca Dittmar says selling whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables don't require a farmers market permit. However, cut fruits and vegetables and leafy greens do, and you will also need to store them at 41 degrees or below.

If you're looking into farmers market booth ideas and want to keep it simple, stick to selling whole fruits and vegetables. Farmers market regulations can be sticky. Dittmar says you can sell honey if you're a small-scale producer, but you'll need a food manufacturer's license and properly packed and labeled products if you want to go large scale.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has a FAQ page that will answer most of your questions. Their contact information is on the bottom of the page if you want to talk to someone about innovative farmers market ideas or food services that you think might require a license.

Most states require some sort of registration or food vendor licensing in order to sell at a farmers' market. Look to your local health department's website for details on cottage food and farmers' market regulations.

If you want to sell farmers market brand baked goods, cottage food production (cooking at home) doesn't have the same regulations as food service establishments. Still, you will have to complete food safety education or attend an accredited food handler's training program. Additionally, if you want to sell wholesale, in many states, it's illegal to do so as a cottage food production operation.

Unique Farmers Market Ideas

While you're navigating permits and planning your inventory, it's a good time to start thinking about marketing ideas for farmers markets. Unique farmers market ideas are what marketing is all about. It's part of the fun.

Consider how you can tell your brand story with fun farmers market ideas. One way to stand out is with a farmers market baked goods display. From burlap tablecloths to rustic wooden shelves and woven baskets, Pinterest offers a plethora of inspiration for your farmers market displays.

Finally, selling at farmer's markets and running a website often go hand-in-hand. Many unique farmers market ideas can also be part of your online inventory, including homemade bath and beauty items such as herbed soaps, sugar scrubs, natural deodorant, beeswax lip balm, and hand creams. Gourmet dog biscuits, baskets, crafts, and resale vintage kitchen items are all products that will be great sellers for both your website and market booth.

If you're looking for more farmers market tips for selling produce and homemade goods, make sure to bookmark our blog.

Additional Resources

Can I Sell Cookies From My Home? | Can I Sell Cookies From My Home? | Can You Sell Homemade Food On Facebook? | Can I Sell My Homemade Pickles? | What Can I Make and Sell From Home? | What Can I Make and Sell From Home? | What Is Required to Be On a Food Label?

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