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What you can sell at a farmers market

What you can sell at a farmers market

Learn about what you can and can’t sell at a farmers market. 

Before you get started, we also have detailed regulations for more information on what you can and can't sell at a farmers market.

Still have questions? Contact:
Food Initiatives
617-635-3717
1 City Hall Square
Room 811
Boston, MA 02201
United States

Fresh Food and Dairy

You need to sell fresh produce (uncut fruits and vegetables) by standard weight, container, or count. If you sell it by weight, it has to be inspected and sealed by the Weights and Measures Division or from your home location. It must also be current and legal for trade.

Honey

Honey must come from an apiary registered with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. You can contact Al Carl at the state for more information. There are no restrictions on maple syrup.

Eggs

You need to store farm-fresh eggs at 45 degrees. You have to store them in a refrigerator unless you have a provision from the local board of health.

Milk

You can only sell or trade milk if you have a Certificate of Registration. You can’t sell unpasteurized milk. You can sell cheeses made with raw milk if they were made in a licensed food facility and kept at 41 degrees or below.

Wine

To sell wine, a Farmers Market needs to get approved as an agricultural event from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. You then need to apply for a permit from the City. Contact the Licensing Board at 617-635-4170 for more information.

Meat

You can only sell meat slaughtered in a federally inspected facility. You can't put it out for display and you need to keep it frozen. You can only sell meat by weight.

Poultry

A US Department of Agriculture facility needs to process your poultry. Your can get your poultry from a state-licensed facility if they fall under the federal Poultry Act exemption. You need to freeze it in a refrigerator, and you can’t display your poultry. You need to sell your poultry by weight.

Fish

You can sell fish and crustaceans at some farmers markets. You need to keep them below 41 degrees and can't display them. Crustaceans have to be alive and fresh if you haven't processed them. You need to sell fish and crustaceans by weight.

Processed and Packaged Foods

Processed Food

License your farmer's market as a retail operation to sell processed food. The Board of Health will inspect all food. Your farmers market must also:

  • meet minimum sanitation standards for food establishments
  • manufacture food in a licensed facility or kitchen
  • not process food on site at the farmers market
  • individually package items, or keep bulk items covered until sale
  • hand out bulk items with a utensil, single-use glove, or sheet of paper (You need a handwashing station to dispense food or offer samples), and
  • keep food at the correct temperature when you transport and display it. You need to keep it in a refrigerator unless you have a provision from the Health Department.

 

Packaged Food

Packaged food must be labeled with the common name of the product. Your label needs to include:

  • a list of ingredients in the order of how much is in the product (by weight)
  • sub-ingredients, the net weight, and dual net weight if it’s more than one pound
  • the name and address of the manufacturer and packer or distributor
  • a nutrition label according to federal regulations
  • a list all FDA colors, ingredients that could cause allergies, flavoring, and additives, and
  • the term “keep refrigerated” or "keep frozen” if the food needs it.

Cut, wrap, and secure food samples in a licensed facility. Protect samples from contamination during transport and display.

 

Non-food items and services

You can sell non-food items at a farmers market if they are related to food or a farm, like a cutting board. If you sell non-food services, they also be related to farm-and-food products, like knife-sharpening. You'll need a Business Certificate from the City of Boston or the city where you're registered.

Demonstrations

If you hold a food demonstration to educated people, you need to meet safe food handling health codes. You need to also have the demonstration reviewed and approved by the Health Department before you can do it. You need a handwashing station and you must use correct food cooking temperatures.