How To Sell Foods at Farmers Markets

by north_america

Selling foods at farmers markets and flea markets.

Farmer's Market Food Sales

Selling produce or other foods at a Farmer's Market

Selling foods at local farmer's markets can be a rewarding and fun way to earn extra income. Most markets are open seasonally, with operation coinciding with local supply and demand.

Farmer's markets originally sold fruits, vegetables and other crops, with some markets also moving livestock, poultry, and other goods.

Today's farmer's markets carry much more, including foods such as honey, cheese, organic produce, grass fed beef, local fish and seafood, herbs, flowers, crafts, and other items.

Before selling items at a farmer's market, it is a good idea to check with local regulations, talk to other sellers and make a checklist.

In some cases, a business license or other permits may be required. Another regulatory issue could come into play if items are being sold by weight. In some areas, regulations require that weighing equipment be certified if a vendor is weighing items during the selling process.

Depending on the type of goods that will be sold, bags, boxes, ice, or other supplies may also be necessary.

farmers market vegetables
farmers market vegetables

Products to Sell at Farmer's Markets

Fruits, Vegetables, Plants, Prepared Foods

Vendors, farmers, homestead gardeners and food enthusiasts sell a wide range of items at farmer's markets. These are a few of the most popular selling items:


 - tomatoes

 - peppers

 - squash

 - corn

 - lima beans

 - string beans

 - turnips

 - greens

- mushrooms

 - onions

 - peaches

 - apples

 - plums

 - pears

 - grapes

 - pumpkins

Other Items

 - baked goods

 - honey

 - eggs

 - cheeses

 - farm animals

Tips for Pricing and Selling Produce

How to sell vegetables, fruits, and other goods.

Choosing a pricing policy is important when selling items at farmer's markets, flea markets, or other community events.

In many cases, local competition is a factor in setting prices. A variety of other factors may also influence prices.

Vendors must decide of they are willing to negotiate on prices or barter for goods. In some areas, bartering is an important cultural tradition and vendors that don't mind negotiating can increase sales.

The perishability of items may also weigh heavily on pricing. If supply exceeds demand and products have a limited shelf life, it may be worthwhile to sell at cost or even lower in order to attract client to the booth.

The concept of selling off excess goods at little or no profit is as old as marketing itself. In some cases, a no-profit item can bring a steady stream of buyers to a supplier. Most shoppers are receptive to buying several items, so clearance sales are a good time to showcase a few high-profit items.

Do you shop at farmer's markets?

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Updated: 05/08/2022, north_america
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north_america on 07/23/2022

We are seeing some of this too. Some new products and vendors selling value-added items such as desserts. One encouraging development is the trend where sellers offer recipes, cooking tips, and one-on-one conversation about the items they sell.

DerdriuMarriner on 07/23/2022

The town center down the road arranges for a local band and a local farmer's market Saturdays during the summer.

It's nice how the organizers assure local growers and purchasers a fun, popular market since the area naturally grows beautiful, tasty wild chicory, garlic, onion, rice and wheat. A pleasant combination of clement weather and healthy soils lets farmer's-market and home-gardener growers enjoy the beautiful looks, scents and tastes of acorns, chestnuts and walnuts and of blackberries, blueberries, mulberries, raspberries, strawberries, even wineberries.

One home-garden grower made cake (one a chocolate-substitute chicory -- a bit bitter but delicious), pasta, pie (one a chocolate-substitute chicory -- once again, a bit bitter but unanimous requests for more) and quiche with the above ingredients. She may have made some to sell at the farmer's market.

It seems to me that, what with all the biogeography and history in the Harpers Ferry area, that local-grown, wild products would be such crowd-pleasers at area farmer's markets and in area restaurants.

Would this turning local wild-grown edibles into scrumptious baked goods be something that you've come across in your interactions with farmer's markets and flea markets?

DerdriuMarriner on 07/11/2022

Mushrooms baked, fresh, fried, grilled, roasted, sautéed always get my attention. You mention them among the "most popular selling items" of farmer's market produce.

One farmer's market that I went to paired their most profitable items with recipes (for an additional 5 cents!). Would this be something that still is being done?

DerdriuMarriner on 06/30/2022

Your 05/17/2022 comment is interesting: "The American food system is changing rapidly and much of that is due in part to the pandemic and now inflation. It's becoming obvious to those of us that publish online that we will need to update a lot of existing content to reflect our changing culture." Expanding on this observation would make a helpful, timely wizzley from you.

World travelling North Indian Chef Vicky Ratnani has observed the pandemic's effects on eating habits. He's noted more cooking at home, greater sensitivity to sustainability and greater commitment to food waste avoidance.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/16/2022

Re-visiting your wizzley brought to mind what I've been intending to ask with my re-reads.

Farmer's markets carry what most interests me: fresh foods. I go to community events even as they so often have baked goods, which I appreciate but which are less important to me than fresh fruits and vegetables. Flea markets have been less common here or held further away.

Would community events, farmer's markets and flea markets tend to carry the same baked goods?

I would tend to think of community events and farmer's markets as acquainting me more with local and traditional cuisines.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/13/2022

It's logically not at all surprising -- and also disappointingly sad -- that the last two years could have such effects.

Will hand-shelled lima beans be available only in exclusive specialty stores or online? Would this be something temporary that ultimately will readjust with trained workers at lower but still attractive, reasonable pay?

north_america on 05/27/2022

This becomes an important issue for marketers; raw commodities vs. value added products. Items such as lima beans tend to be labor intensive. If the producer expects to make a profit, pricing will need to include all costs associated with production. With recent labor shortages and wage increases, traditional foods such as hand-shelled lima beans could become a rarity.

DerdriuMarriner on 05/18/2022

In particular, I like the variety of food colors and sizes that can be found in a farmer's market. As much as I manage to find what I like in the grocery store where I shop I must admit that I know that I'm not in a farmer's market because of the uniform colors and sizes.

It always seems like such an accomplishment when I find lima beans -- in excellent condition and at excellent prices -- in a farmer's market. Wouldn't they tend to be associated with higher-priced edibles?

north_america on 05/17/2022

That's a good question. There seem to be a lot of factors that vary regionally. We notice here that farmer's markets can really draw buyers that are seeking quality and are willing to pay a premium for that. In contrast, flea market shoppers tend to be more price-oriented. Maybe vendors choose one over the other based on their business model. The American food system is changing rapidly and much of that is due in part to the pandemic and now inflation. It's becoming obvious to those of us that publish online that we will need to update a lot of existing content to reflect our changing culture.

DerdriuMarriner on 05/16/2022

There's something that I'd intended to ask after the first reading and my first shared reactions to all the helpful information above.

Would food sales tend to do better at flea markets or in farmers' markets? I guess I would tend to associate drinks and snack-like foods as doing better in the former.

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