WV Small Farm Center

Farmers Market Vendor Resources

  • Diversifying your Products
  • Permits & Regulations
  • Organic Certification
  • Storefront Logistics
  • Extending Your Season
  • Displaying Your Products
  • Post-Harvest, Storage & Safety
  • Pricing Your Products
  • Adding Value to Your Products
  • Promoting Your Products
  • News & Publications

Diversifying Your Products

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
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 tip sheets 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

“Bring at least one unusual item. People will stop and ask: ‘What is it? How do you cook it?’”

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

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

“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.”

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

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

“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.”


Permits & Regulations

Starting a Business in West Virginia
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
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
Become licensed with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to sell eggs

Application for Dairy Distributor Permit
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
From the Direct Farm Marketing and Tourism Handbook.

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


Storefront Logistics

Farmers’ Market Checklist
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

“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.”


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

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

“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


Promoting Your Products

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

“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.”


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.