Today there is a huge trend to buy locally sourced artisan items, and Farmer's Markets are often the best place to find these items.
But what if you want to sell your items at a Farmer's Market? How would do you do that?
If you already have a home-based bakery, you probably have a good understanding of how to make money selling baked goods from home. And if you have a home-based bakery website, you likely have additional knowledge of online ordering and planning.
The first recommendation would be to visit your local Farmer's Market over a few months. Study the vendors, what they're selling, how their space is set up, how they interact with customers, and how their brands look. See what you like and what you don't like. This will give you an idea of how to plan.
Allyson Grant with the Better Baker Club offers display tips for Farmer's Markets such as "using vertical space to create interest" and "using color to stand out." In addition, she suggests that you have business cards and printed menus for your customers.
At a Farmers Market, you'll want to have easy-to-make desserts to sell. But, although you want the baked goods to be easy to make, you want them to be unique. Nicky Ellis, an editor with Farm & Animals, offers very logical tips to newcomers. She cautions that you should visit the Farmers Market first before selling. "If the market seems saturated with the type of baked goods you plan to bring, this may not be the market for you. Alternately, you may wish to change the type of baked goods you plan to sell."
To find easy-to-make bakery items that are unique, search online for "best bake sale cookies" or "unique bake sale ideas" in your area. You might find some popular yet unique recipes that fit with your expertise.
So you might be wondering, "What permits do I need to sell at a farmers market?" Or, more specifically, "What permits do I need to sell at a farmers market Los Angeles?"
It's a good thing you're asking these questions because there are different rules and regulations based on where you live.
Texas Department of Health and Human Services oversees farmers markets in Texas. They answer a ton of questions regarding farmers market permit Texas and how to sell at a farmers market in Texas.
Do I need a temporary food establishment permit to sell food at a farmers' market in Texas? Texas Department of Health and Human Services says "A temporary food establishment permit is not required to sell whole, intact unprocessed fruits and vegetables and pre-packaged non-potentially hazardous food/time temperature for safety foods. However, a temporary food establishment permit is required to sell all other potentially hazardous food/time temperature control for safety foods."
What about Florida farmers market laws? The Florida Farmers Market Association mentions that there are three different regulatory agencies for food safety- the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), and the Florida Department of Health (DOH). Most businesses selling food in Florida farmers' markets will require permitting from either FDACS or DBPR, unless they are exempt from state licensing through the Cottage Food law."
So what about a farmers market permit Florida? The Florida Farmers Market Association says that "Florida Cottage Food Law allows the sale of non-hazardous foods without a permit such as boiled peanuts, bread, cookies, cakes, candy, honey, jams, dry herbs, pasta, popcorn, vinegar, and other products prepared at home with specific restrictions."
Now let's talk about selling crafts at a farmers market. The Texas Comptroller says that while you don't need a permit, "If you sell taxable items at a fair, festival, antique market, trade show, arts and crafts show, gun show or other type of market or show, you may be responsible for collecting and remitting Texas sales and use tax. Should you want to sell crafts at a farmers market in Texas, you need to complete the Texas Online Tax Registration Application to get a sales tax permit.
You might be wondering what to sell at a farmers market and is selling at a farmers market worth it?
There are so many unique things to sell at farmers markets, from unique crafts to artwork and baked goods to food.
A good piece of advice is to visit the farmers market near you and note the vendors. Remember, though, you want to be unique. Melissa Griffiths with Hobby Farms gives fantastic advice about what to sell. She says to "set yourself apart from other vendors by selling signature homemade foods, care products, crafts or resale items."
If you want to do your homework before attending the farmers market, search for "best selling items at farmers markets" or "craft ideas to sell at farmers markets" to see what is currently popular.
Smart Cents mom mentions reverse tie-dye clothing as a popular choice for farmers markets. "Tie-dyed clothes are on-trend now, and selling them at a craft fair is a great way to make a buck, especially at a low cost."
It's also important to know what might be popular in your specific area or region. Especially if you live in a state with a lot of regional cuisine like Texas. For example, as a Texan, you might want to know how to sell salsa at farmers market.
Unfortunately, San Antonio–based Dominic Mendiola learned the hard way that selling fresh salsa made at home violated Texas laws governing cottage food production. When this happened, Mendiola says, "[I] got serious, hired a vendor to produce the salsa on a larger scale, and went so far as to invent and invest in an industrial-grade grill capable of cooking 1,500 pounds of produce per hour." Of course, Mendiola was already making a lot of salsa at that point, so he could move production from his home to a commercial kitchen. But not everyone can do that.
If you love to bake, you might be interested in what baked goods to sell at a farmers market. Noah Williams with Off Grid Grandpa, offers a list of the best baked goods to sell at a farmers market. He mentions that there is "a big demand for homemade bread." Williams also mentions the popularity of sourdough bread which has seemed to make a comeback in the last couple of years. "You can either sell the sourdough or you can make bread from it and sell it that way."
What are the most important things to know about selling at a farmers market or, more specifically, selling food at a farmers market?
Annie Pilon with Small Biz Trends says that "Farmers markets offer great opportunities for farmers and other small businesses to connect with customers and make sales. But it's not as easy as just reserving a booth and setting some products out on a table."
One of Pilon's first pieces of advice is to visit different farmers markets and find a market "that fits with what you want to accomplish."
When you visit, take note of the best sellers at farmers markets. For example, what are the top-selling baked goods? Which booths are the busiest, and why do you think they are?
Making a profit is not as easy as just setting up a table and hoping for the best. Shannon Vissers with Merchant Maverik explains that it's essential to "think outside of the box to boost your profit potential by selling unique items such as dog treats or treats for customers with special dietary needs (i.e., vegan or gluten-free)."
So what are the most profitable baked goods? Nicky Ellis with Farm & Animals gives fantastic advice. "Avoid selling small baked goods such as cookies and cupcakes individually. Instead, make sure to package your goods up in bundles so that you're making the most profit for the amount of time spent in selling."
Ellis' advice is fantastic when contemplating how many cupcakes should I make for a farmers market? You don't want to waste your time selling one cupcake at a time. It's in your best interest and more profitable if you can sell multiple cupcakes as a package.
Is the farmers market booth rental cost something that you can afford? Ellis mentions that you should "find out about the fees charged for setting up at the farmers' market. Make sure that they are not prohibitively steep and that the number of hours you will be allowed to sell will be enough to make your time worthwhile."
Regardless of what you sell or how you sell it, make sure you do your research. Not only should you do online research to see the various rules and regulations in your state, but you should visit your local farmers market to make sure your product will be unique and profitable.
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