How to Get Involved at your Local Farmers’ Market

0fe63a4By: Meaghan Malinowski, MidAtlantic Farm Credit

Any farmer will tell you, there’s nothing better tasting than produce grown fresh from the farm. There has been a recent shift in society and what values they place on the produce they purchase: more consumers are beginning to demand not only exceptional quality, but exceptionally ethical production practices for that product. This shift in values has led to the development of sustainable farming theories, a drive for achieving organic certification and consumers seeking ways to purchase the healthiest produce options while supporting their local economy. Farmers’ Markets are a great place to find all of these values in one place!

How to find a local Farmers’ Market

So, you’re looking for local produce or a place to sell your ag products? There are plenty of resources available to help you find what you’re looking for! As always, the internet is a great place to start your search for markets by using keywords like “farmers markets,” “local produce” or the specific product you’re looking for along with your zip code or town. If you’re not coming up with many options, check out sites like Local Harvest, the USDA’s Farmers Market Directory  and the Local Farm Markets to search for markets in your area or region.

How to become a vendor at a Farmers’ MarketFarmersMarket

Depending on your location, space may be a hot commodity within local farmers’ markets making it difficult to obtain. When looking for a Farmers’ Market to sell your products, consider how far you’re willing to travel, how often you’d like to attend to sell your products and where you’ll find the best turnout of customers. Most applications to become a vendor are product specific and are due the year before the season you wish to attend. Many Farmers’ Markets have their own websites that include the applications themselves and/or the contact information for the administrator in charge of vendor selection. It’s also a good idea to become a regular at these markets to network with other local farmers and to make a good first impression.

Remember that each farmers’ market most likely has a different set of rules and regulations in order to run efficiently and without issue. Also note that many farmers’ markets require certain certifications by local or state governments to be able to produce, sell and serve food items. Make sure to research all you can on the food safety requirements for your products to keep your practices ethical and safe!

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