Selling produce at farmers' markets

Page last updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2017 - 1:50pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Labelling, packaging and food safety

Appropriate labelling compliant with the Food Act 2008 and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code is essential.

Stallholders should be familiar with the requirements of the relevant codes.

Under the Food Act 2008 businesses that sell food are generally required to be registered as a food business with their local government authority (LGA) in which the place of manufacture or business is based. Contact your LGA for more information.

Stallholders advertising organic and bio-dynamic produce must have current certification displayed on their stall and labels.

Quality and food safety are issues should also be considered. Environmental health officers from your LGA may request and conduct inspections of food businesses based within their area.

When participating in a farmers' market where you will transporting and displaying food products ensure they are:

  • transported and displayed at the correct temperature
  • sheltered from any sources of contamination during transportation and display
  • handled in a clean and hygienic manner.

Be creative with advertising

When thinking about marketing your produce be creative.

Consumers who frequent farmers' markets often do so as they like the interaction with the person who actually grew the product they are purchasing.

Use your signs to not only inform the consumer about the price, but also about the story behind the product. For instance if you are selling eggs and your chickens have names use this in your marketing - e.g. “Penny lays the yummiest eggs in Margaret River!"

Other signage suggestions include:

  • organic, free-range
  • heirloom, rare
  • what is good about it (e.g. tender, juicy, unique)
  • how to use it (e.g. recipes, best way to cook it).

Decorating your stall with pictures of your farm and animals can be a good way to market your produce.

Also provide customers with a business card to take home with more information about your business and a link to your website (e.g. QR code).

Make sure your produce is arranged in a way that looks appealing to the customer.  Baskets and bins overflowing with fresh and colourful produce will entice customers to your stall.

Markets - part of your business plan

Developing a business plan can be vital to the success of your business.

Farmers’ markets can be a great way to start selling your product or diversify the selling channels you already have in place.

Be mindful that using a farmers’ market as a low cost shop front does not mean the basics of running a business can be ignored.

Research the market and how it will benefit or compliment your venture thoroughly before investing time and money.

Do not base your business decision on attending a market or two. Conduct research on how the market works by reading the rules and guidelines and how well the market performs before submitting an application for a stall.

Successful markets:

  • are located in busy or central areas
  • have good integrity (e.g. sell only locally produced food)
  • have an effective market manager to promote the market and reinforce the rules
  • have a good number of stalls and a good mix of products.

Also consider what it will cost to set up a stall before you apply.

A regular stall at a farmers’ market should require very little capital investment.

You will need a table, shelter, packaging and signage to identify your business name, products and their price. You will also need to ensure all food products are kept at the right temperature and sheltered from any source of contamination.

Costs may also include stall fees, equipment, packaging, public liability insurance, sales labour, transportation and storage.

Advertising costs are commonly low as it is done en-masse by the farmers’ market you are participating in and is usually included in your stall fees.

Being involved in a farmers’ market can provide many benefits, but make sure you do the research before deciding whether a farmers’ market is right for you.