Tips for Selling at Farmers Markets


By Marisa Alcorta, Rex Dufour, and Tammy Hinman
Published 2012
Updated 2018 by Omar Rodriguez

A brief description of the photo goes here

Farmers markets are temporary retail establishments typically held outdoors, where farmers come to sell their produce at a specified place and time. Farmers markets are growing in popularity across the country and can be a good entry-level selling place for beginning farmers.


  • Farmers markets help growers discover local demand for products, and direct contact with customers makes them excellent places to experiment with new and heirloom products.
  • You generally have flexibility in the variety and volume of products you take to market.
  • No standard pack or grade is required, but your produce should be good quality.
  • Farmers markets are a great place to network and see what other farmers are doing, as well as experiment with new and heirloom products.
  • You have the opportunity to build a loyal customer base, including local chefs.


  • Identify market channels on travel routes to and from your market to increase sales and efficiency.
  • boiling sap in an evaporator
    Photo: NCAT
  • When setting prices, examine production/administrative costs, profitability goals, market prices, and consumer preferences.
  • If you sell at several farmers markets, schedules can be demanding.
  • To sell at popular farmers markets, it helps to have unique products.
  • Being successful requires positive interactions with the public.
  • Most farmers markets have an application process and rules to participate. For example, in California you must register as a "certified grower" with the county agriculture commissioner before selling at a certified farmers market.

Tips for Selling at Farmers Markets

  • Get creative with your produce display. A good banner and signage with pricing information save time and increase comfort for your customers.
  • Consistency is key, both in terms of the product you take to market as well as being there on every scheduled market day.
  • Consider providing samples of your product if local regulations permit.
  • Set up a service system where customers do not have to wait too long in line.
  • Invest in a scale that not only calculates weight but also gives you the sales price. A calculator that prints on a paper tape is another useful tool.
  • Visit markets seasonally and speak to market managers to figure out what's missing from your market that you could supply.
  • Understand your customer. In addition to keeping sales records, it is beneficial to define your customer base and their trends (daily and throughout the season).

Key Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Do I enjoy working with the public? If not, can I hire someone friendly and competent for my booth?
  • Where are the nearest farmers markets? Are they accepting new vendors?
  • Do these farmers markets have enough customers to make it profitable for new vendors?
  • What are the other vendors selling? What's my niche?
  • How much time will I spend at the market? How early will my day start and end?
  • Am I willing to do this each week?
  • What is the application process for the farmers market? What are the rules? For example, can I sell products I have not grown?


boiling sap in an evaporator
Photo: NCAT

Tips for Selling at: Farmers Markets
By Marisa Alcorta, Rex Dufour and Tammy Hinman
Published 2012
Updated 2018 by Omar Rodriguez
Tracy Mumma, Editor
Amy Smith, Production
Abigail Larson, HTML Production
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This page was last updated on: November 27, 2018