FARMERS' MARKET VENDOR RESOURCE CENTER

Diversifying your Products

New crops, growing tips, & seeds

Permits & Regulations

Forms, applications, and liability

Organic Certification

What you need to make the transition

Storefront Logistics

Tables, scales, shade coverings, etc.

Extending Your Season

High tunnels, greenhouses, & plastics

Displaying Your Products

Resources for attractive displays
 

Post-Harvest, Storage & Safety

Maintaining freshness & safety

Pricing Your Products

Methods for determining value

Adding Value to Your Products

Processing resources & resources

Promoting Your Products

Nutritional Info., recipes

News & Publications

  Are you curious about where these photographs were taken?  Click on any one to find out more!

 

 

"Bring at least one unusual item. People will stop and

ask: 'What is it? 

How do you cook it?'"

 

Growing Vegetables

WVU Horticultural fact sheets and resources

for commercial vegetable growers

 

Growing Herbs

WVU fact sheet for culinary & medicinal herb production

 

Growing Fruit

WVU Horticultural fact sheets and resources for

small fruit and tree fruit production

 

Growing & Marketing Ethnic & Old-Fashioned Varieties

Steve Salt, a vegetable grower in Missouri, examines the many

types of produce desired by specific ethnic groups.

 

Vegetable Growing Fact Sheets (Ohio State)

Production tips on a wide variety of vegetables and herbs.

 

Johnny’s Seeds

An independent seed company since 1973, Johnny’s  offers a wide variety of

vegetable, fruit, and flower seeds, including heirloom and certified

organic seed, ideal for direct-marketing commercial growers. 

 

Healthy Farmers, Healthy Profits

Efficiency tipsheets from the University of Wisconsin on mesh bags,

standard containers, narrow pallets system, packing shed layout,

post harvest handling, and specialized harvest carts.

 

Growing Cut Flowers (PDF)

 

 

Organic Certification

WVU Organic Research Project

Organic Farming Fact Sheets

Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association

Offers certification services and resources for transitioning organic growers

Organic Certification Cost Share Program Application

The funds for this program will be used to reimburse organic growers

for 75% of their certification costs, not to exceed $500

Recent Growth Patterns in Organic Foods

(From the USDA Economic Research Service)

 

Extending your Season

 

"Look for early varieties, or get plants to come on early by using floating mulches, row covers, or transplants to capture the early markets.  People are hungry for fresh produce when they come to the market in June, and early season customers often keep coming back throughout the season"

Penn State High Tunnel Research & Education Facility

The Center for Plasticulture is actively engaged in cutting-edge research on

vegetable and flower production and season extension using high tunnels.

Grower Resources from Rutgers University

Haygrove Multibay Tunnel Systems

Harnois Greenhouse Supply

Fabrene

Manufacturer of plastics for greenhouses and high tunnels

 

Farm Tek

Source of agricultural supplies, greenhouse materials,

plastic, fencing, and much more

 

Greenhouse & Nursery Resources

 

Post-Harvest, Storage & Safety

Postharvest Research

From the University of California

 

Food Safety at Farmers' Markets

From the University of Nebraska

 

Food Safety on the Farm

 

Building a Portacooler

blueprints courtesy of USDA

 

Adding Value to Your Products
 

 

"Of all the valuable things farmers' markets provide to the agricultural entrepreneur, one of the best may be the ability to try out adjunct businesses, such as developing value-added products, building a customer mailing list and pursuing agritourism ventures"

Keys to Success in Value-Added Agriculture

Published by ATTRA, this 20-page document covers everything  one

needs to get started in creating a value-added product, including

condiments, baked goods, crafts, and much more.

Food Processing Magazine

Food Preservation

Fact sheets on canning, freezing and drying specific fruits and vegetables

 

Food Specialty Business: Getting Started

(from the University of Georgia)

 

Rules & Regulations for Selling Food Products

Regulations, forms and information from the WV Department of Agriculture

 

West Virginia Small Business Development Center

Provides sample business plans, consulting resources, and

training, as well as offering grants

 

Natural Capital Investment Fund, Inc.

A source of potential funding for natural-resource based small

businesses in any stage of development

 

Food Drying

Information, Supplies and Recipes

 

Value-Added Producer Grants

Grants, through the Rural Development of USDA, which can be used for planning

activities and marketing capital for value-added agricultural products.

 

NS Machine Corporation

Used Food Processing Equipment

 

Food Processing Machinery

 

Monte Packaging

 

Permits & Regulations

Starting a Business in West Virginia (PDF)

This booklet acts as a guide to starting a business in West Virginia,

complete with forms necessary to register with the Tax Department

and receive your business registration certificate.

 

Local Health Department Contacts

To find regulations specific to your county

 

Farmers Market Vendor Guide (PDF)

Guidelines for selling at local farmers markets from the W.Va. Department of Agriculture and W.Va. Department of Health and Human Resources.

 

Application for Egg Distributor Permit (PDF)

Become licensed with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to sell eggs

 

Application for Dairy Distributor Permit (PDF)

Become licensed with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to sell dairy

 

More Regulatory Forms from the WV Department of Agriculture

Other forms, information, and resources for seeking to become licensed

distributors of various food and agricultural products.

 

WIC & Department of Agriculture Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program

Information about the program as well as how to become certified to

accept WIC & Department of Agriculture Senior Farmers' Market vouchers.

 

How Growers Can Reduce Liability Risks (PDF)

From the Direct Farm Marketing and Tourism Handbook.

 

Business Insurance Considerations (PDF)

From the University of Tennessee, this document gives an overview of various types of insurance.

 

Storefront Logistics

 

"In a farmers' market stall, ... you have about three seconds to grab the attention of a potential customer and hold it long enough for them to get interested in buying something."

Farmers' Market Checklist (PDF)

This checklist, developed by Michigan Food & Farming System,

should keep you from forgetting something important on market day.

 

Cover Me

Canopies, tarps and pop-up tents, which provide shade and

preserve the integrity of fresh produce.

 

Cover-It Shelters

Provides shelter systems for market use.

 

A. Steele Company

 Based in Wisconsin, a source of portable scales, E-Z Up tents,

and portable cash registers.

 

CCI Sales Co.

Manufactures both electronic and mechanical scales. 

Also carries a full line of spare or replacement parts.

 

Precision Weighing Balances

Has a vast inventory of new precision weighing scales and

balances for a wide variety of needs.

 

A & A Used Scales

Supplier of new and used hanging, price-computing,

and other types of scales.

 

Southeastern Fixtures & Liquidators

An affordable source of used legal for trade scales for use at Farmers’ Markets,

both digital and battery-powered. Phone: 334-741-0550

 

Displaying Your Products

                                                                 

Trojan Tools

Manufactures rugged, collapsible sawhorses that are made in the U.S.A. and, in concert with an old door or wide plank and a table cloth, would make a great display table.

Advice on Canopy weights

Jer’s Pattern Projects

This catalog of templates is for those with a skill saw and some time in the off season.  Barn & garage plans that can work as packing sheds and roadside stands, picnic tables for a convertible bench/table, and the shop tools for folding work tables.

 

Greenfield Basket Factory

This Pennsylvania company has been operating since 1933, and offers wood veneer baskets for displays, gift baskets, floral, craft and farm use. 

 

Pricing Your Products

"Do not undercharge... be proud of your livelihood and charge what you need to make your livelihood.  Don't try to compete with supermarkets"

-Chris Burke, Boulder CO

Grassroots Pricing Index
Search by product or by state to find prices for items sold at farmers' markets throughout the United States. Become a reporter and list the prices charged for products at your market for the benefit of other farmers in West Virginia and beyond!

 

Organic Price Index

Published by the Rodale Institute

Inventory Tracker

Use this form, developed by the Michigan Food & Farms System to keep track of beginning and ending inventory,

as well as your profits on each item.

Cost & Revenue Considerations

(From the University of Maryland)

Today’s Market Prices

Up-to-date price listings for wholesale Herbs, Fruit, and Vegetables.  Requires subscription.

Vegetable, Fruit & Flower Wholesale Prices

Courtesy of USDA

 

Promoting Your Products

  "People come to farmers' markets seeking a more personal shopping experience than grocery stores offer, part of which is getting to know the farmer who grows the food.  That relationship is what will bring them back again and again...the most popular growers are those who provide entertaining conversation, a bit of education about their produce and some indication of interest in their customers"

Local Harvest

Develop an internet presence for your products for free by

listing your farm on this National database.

 

Food Routes

Great reminders on the importance of supporting local farmers

About Produce

Detailed nutritional information on just about every fruits and vegetables under the sun,

with scores of great recipes for fresh produce.

 An excellent way to promote healthful eating habits (and your products!). 

5-A-Day website

Brochures, posters, educational programs, lots of resources

for promoting 5-A-Day eating of fruits and vegetables

Seasonal Recipes

from seasonalchef.com

 

News & Publications

 

New Farm

Published by the Rodale Institute, this large site has great articles, news, research, an Organic Price Index, and topic-by-topic email forums on everything from Beginning Farmers to Biodiesel

 

Growing For Market

This monthly print publication is considered by many a must have for successful direct-marketing of vegetables and cut flowers, particularly at farmers’ markets.  The articles, contributed by farmers, cover production, promotion, and much more, including a classified section, an ideal place to advertise for labor.

 

Small Farm Today

Since 1984, this magazine has served as a how-to manual for growers of alternative and traditional crops and livestock, with articles on production and direct marketing.

 

Quotes gleaned from:

The New Farmers' Market by Vance Corum, Marcie Rosenzweig, and Eric Gibson (2001). 
Auburn, California: New World Publishing.

Website and photographs by Stacy Miller, 2004.  Updated June 2005.

Photographs taken from West Virginia Farmers' Markets throughout Summer 2004.