How To Become A Vendor At Farmers Markets

Become a vendor at farmers markets and sell your products in person! I have been a vendor at multiple famers markets, craft fairs and other events. Here are some great tips to get started.

I had a dog treat business and loved to sell my treats in person, and this article will help all types of businesses. This is a great way to earn steady weekly and monthly income!

What Can You Sell as a Vendor at Farmers Markets

Do you have an awesome craft or baked goods that you sell? If you are serious about turning your hobby into a part-time or even full-time job, you might consider starting with your local farmer’s markets.

This is a great way to test the waters, listen to customer feedback and learn more about what products sell the best!

Local farmers markets have become a staple in almost every community. They are a great way to bring people together and shop locally.

There are so many products you can sell at a market. Aside from fresh fruit and vegetables, I have seen:

  • Baked breads and pastries
  • Women’s clothing
  • Coffee
  • Specialty food and farm to table
  • Candles
  • Jewelry
  • Baby clothing
  • T-shirts, sweatshirts
  • Pet treats and pet products
  • Puzzles and toys
  • Artwork and stickers
  • And more!

Items You Need to Become a Vendor at Farmers Markets

You need to have a complete set up for your booth. Start with what you have! However, you will need the following:

Are Your Products a Good Fit at the Farmers Market?

Attendance

When visiting the market, is it crowded or quiet and slow? Expect your sales to be around 10% of the foot traffic.

Should you be the only vendor in your niche?

At small markets, I did not apply to any markets that were already selling my product. I preferred being the only vendor in my niche as it was quite specific. For large events and weekend markets with a high number of booths, duplicate categories are allowed and quite common. This makes it worth applying and attending.

What are customers buying?

Were customers coming in to buy basic staples like fruits and veggies and leaving right after? Or were they browsing every booth and purchasing other products? Depending on your business, look for markets where customers are making luxury purchases as well.

If customers are coming to the market to solely buy a few vegetables and leave, the market might not a good fit. However, if customers are shopping and purchasing all kinds of items, the market will be a good fit.

How much are customers spending?

I wanted a market where customers did a lot of shopping and also purchased non-essential items. If a customer was willing to spend money on non-essential items, such as cupcakes, jewelry or dog treats, I knew I was in the right market.

How to Apply as a Vendor at Farmers Markets

Most markets have a website where you can apply. Otherwise, attend the market and ask to speak to a market manager. Most vendors require you sell your own product, and it is handmade and/or local.

The majority of farmers’ markets will not charge an application fee to apply.

In general, you should only have to pay for your rental spot! It is not typical for the market to require a percentage of your sales. If you see this, I would avoid that particular market as this is not common.

Weekly rental spots can vary greatly depending on the location and the attendance of the market.

The Cost of a Farmers Market Booth

I have paid anywhere from $10 to $50 for a booth spot.

The application process is usually done online and requires the following information for submittal:

  • Submitting a short description of what you would like to sell
  • Copy of your tax and license information
  • Picture of your product
  • Picture of how you would display your booth or tabletop examples
  • Business insurance is not typically required as this is covered by the market!

Submitting a photo of your booth setup can be a little tricky if you have never sold at a farmers market before. The market manager just wants to make sure that there is nothing out of the ordinary that could possibly violate the market rules.

Practice Your Booth Setup

I chose to set up my entire booth display in my driveway!

I set up my display space the same way I would if I were at the farmers market. This includes setting up my folding tables, my tabletop decor and my product.

I also hung my banner and weighed down my tent. It’s really important to weigh down your tent incase you have a windy day.

Doing a practice run is really beneficial for a number of reasons. First of all, it might be a necessity if you need to take photos of your booth set up.

Second, it takes some practice setting up and taking down your booth. When I first got my pop-up tent, it took me forever to figure out how to open it! Now it is much easier and can be done faster.

Once I mastered the art of being efficient, I was able to set up my vendor booth in 10 minutes!

How to Become a Vendor at Multiple Farmers Markets

I originally started with one farmer’s market. My product started doing well and I eventually expanded and participated in multiple farmers markets a week.

I realized that there were two Saturday morning markets that I knew my products would do well in, but wasn’t sure how to be in two places at once.

Fortunately, my parents were a big help! My parents would attend one market for me and I would attend the other one.

Because my business was growing as a vendor at the farmers market, I was able to invest back into my small business. I ended up purchasing duplicates of items, like an additional pop up tent and folding tables.

How to Become a Farmers Market Manager

I was really active in promoting my markets, which included reaching out to other vendors via Etsy and word of mouth. Eventually, I became the farmer’s market manager!

Once I was a manager, my duties expanded. Not only was I still running my own booth, but I was now in charge of all the booths at the market.

This included collecting the rent from each vendor, assigning booth spaces to vendors as well as assisting with setup and tear down at the end of the day. I also had to review applications and assist new vendors.

One of the perks included free rental booth. I was able to sell product for free of charge. On top of this, I was also paid a monthly salary for being the market manager.

Becoming a market manager is a lot of work, so if this is something you are interested in, you will have to be ready to commit and never miss a market.

Bottom Line

Selling your product at your local farmers markets is a great side hustle and an amazing way to earn extra income.

If you are just starting out your side business, farmers markets are a great stepping stone to take your business to the next level. It’s also a great way to meet customers, peers and gain experience without having a brick and mortar retail location.

Do You Want to Sell at Farmers Markets?

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20 Comments

  1. I have a quick question. What if I want to offer free Oracle card readings? This might be one way to help me get my business started. I would eventually charge, but not necessarily continue at a farmers market. Just want to initially test the market in general, peoples interest. All types of people attend farmers markets.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!
    Anna

  2. Hi Kristin
    I am starting up a Farmers Market in our town have 24 vendors so far and am sure it’s going to grow.
    I am drawing g up a letter for vendors, any tips as market manager?
    Thanks Jenny

  3. Maylene Klein says:

    Hi Kristen I am in NY I have a copacker make small batches of my hot salsa, my question is do I need any license or permits to sell my product that is copacked at a farmers market, do I need a permit from DOH or Agriculture dept? Aside from Insurance, sales certificate do I need General Vendor License?

  4. Hello Kristin,

    I loved your advice! I am starting to sell at my local market this year in Valparaiso, and I will be selling herbal oxymels that I have made into vibrant and colorful lemonades. I was wondering if you had some advice on what kind of insurance I should get before I start?

    Thank you so much.

  5. Thank you so much for your comments and responses. I am starting out with my looseleaf tea business I’ve been doing it on Etsy since February and I haven’t had a lot of sales I am on Facebook and Instagram my intentions are to start doing farmers markets.I would like to make this my full time job.

  6. I am interested in be able to be a vender in sunnyvale farmers market
    I have different tings to sell and I don’t know if it’s possible to sell it in there in farmer’s markets

  7. Anthony (mario) Pagano says:

    I’m looking to sell my homemade spaghetti sauce and Alfredo sauce if im allowed to do 2. How do I get a spot for the farmers market

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      Love this! Contact the market (they most likely have a FB page or website) and there should be a vendor application!

  8. Thanks for all of the information, I am signed up at our local town in Maryland and I have a Cottage permit to sell food. I am also selling Sewn items and plants.
    This is my first time and I am so Excited!!!

  9. Johnnesha Butler says:

    Thank you for the info. I will begin working on becoming a vendor at the Blythewood Farmer’s Market here in South Carolina!

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      YAY, good luck!

      1. Hey Kristen, is it possible to work part time being a retiree for Venders at my local Farmers Market?

        1. Kristin Larsen says:

          You can definitely set up your own booth at a farmers market. If you are looking to be hired by the actual farmers market itself, these are usually hourly, paid positions to help manage the farmers market booths.

  10. Hi kristen,I am interested in selling my bake goods and pastries and home made bread at the farmers market on a part time basic,how would I go about it.

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      Oh yay, how exciting! Check with your area to see if you need a business license or any kind of food license as it depends on the market and area you live in. Make sure to follow the tips in the blog post as well – have cash or accept credit card if possible, have a decorative booth and get ready to sell sell sell!

  11. Erin Connor says:

    Hi Kristin,

    I was wondering if you could explain how you went about getting a license to sell at a farmers market? Is this something done online or applied for in person?

    Thank you!

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      Depending on the rules at your farmer’s market, you might need a business license or tax receipt (the name varies depending where you live.) The best thing to do is contact your local market and ask what paperwork they require, if any. Some places don’t require anything!

  12. Your blog was very good and one of the finest I’ve read: to the point, descriptive, and useful information. Thank you so much. I’m ready to start!

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