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How To Start Selling At A Farmers Market

Your local farmers market can be a great business opportunity — as long as you know what to sell at farmers markets, how to apply, and how to market yourself.

    Kymberlin Bush
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Matt Sherman

    Matt Sherman

    Lead Staff Writer

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

If you’ve been considering putting your foot in the door at your local farmers market, you probably have a few questions: Can anyone sell at a farmers market? What do you need to sell at a farmers market? What is the best POS for farmers markets?

We’re here to answer these questions and recommend the best mobile POS systems to help you get started!

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Square POS

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  • No monthly fee
  • Flat-rate payment processing (2.6% + $0.10)
  • Inexpensive chip and contactless card reader
  • No monthly fee
  • Flat-rate payment processing (2.6% + $0.10)
  • Inexpensive chip and contactless card reader

Visit Site

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  • Free trial available
  • Numerous integrations
  • Easy to use
  • Free trial available
  • Numerous integrations
  • Easy to use

Start Trial

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PayPal Zettle

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  • Easy-to-use interface
  • All-in-one touchscreen terminal
  • Ideal for lower-volume merchants
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • All-in-one touchscreen terminal
  • Ideal for lower-volume merchants

Visit Site

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Clover POS

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  • Easy to set up
  • Loyalty program
  • Large app store and lots of integrations
  • Easy to set up
  • Loyalty program
  • Large app store and lots of integrations

Visit Site

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

What Do You Need To Sell At A Farmers Market?

To sell at a local farmers market, you must start with a quality product. Then, obtain the correct permits, business registration, and business insurance, purchase the right equipment, and fill out a successful application. Keep in mind these are general recommendations; the market you are targeting could have more specific requirements, so make sure to check with them, too!

A Great Product

Make sure what you plan on selling is allowed at the market you are looking to join. Also, keep in mind when you apply that some markets will limit the types of booths they have if they already have an established vendor in that category.

If you don’t know what you want to sell, don’t worry, there are plenty of options. Our article can help you figure out what to sell at a farmers market to help you get started!

Remember: quality product is the most important part of starting a booth at a farmers market.


Check with your state or county authorities to make sure you are following all applicable regulations and applying for a permit to sell. This is especially important to research if you are selling prepared foods or produce/raw food materials.

Business Registration

While some states may not require farmers market vendors to have any licensing or registration, individual counties may. Check with the county you plan to sell in to see if there are any licenses/registrations you need to apply for and maintain to sell at a farmers’ market.

Business Insurance

At the very least, you should think about acquiring a General Liability Coverage insurance plan; some markets may even require it. Other kinds of insurance you may wish to consider as a vendor are:

  • Product Liability Coverage: Covers product defects that cause sickness or injury.
  • Business Personal Property/Inland Marine Coverage: Covers moveable items (appliances and other gadgets) over land and does not cover a building/structure.
  • Damage to Premises Rented Coverage: Covers property damage caused by vendors such as fire or other accidents.

Proper Equipment

Some farmers’ markets may provide basic supplies to their vendors (like a table and two folding chairs) but others may not. If the market you are applying to sell at does not provide anything, you should consider bringing the following:

  • One or more tables for displaying your products and holding other equipment/informational materials.
  • Specialty containers or shelves to display your products in/on.
  • A sign or banner with the name of your business.
  • A sign (or several) with product names, descriptions, and prices.
  • A cash box or register for collecting money, and/or a mobile POS system.
  • Small bills and coins to make change for customers.
  • Bags or containers for purchases. We recommend purchasing cheap reusable bags so your customers can continue using them! Some states and even specific markets no longer allow single-use plastic bags to be used, so double-check before making a decision.
  • A scale for weighing products if you plan to sell by weight.
  • A canopy or pop-up tent to cover your booth and protect your products and customers from the weather, be it rain or sun.
  • A place for people to sign up for more information about your business or your newsletter/email marketing! (How can you continue to market to the people you meet?)

A Completed Application

Many larger farmers’ markets will have a formal application process for their potential vendors. Contact the market directly or visit their website/social media platforms to find the application and figure out when applications are accepted. You may only have a small window to apply, so make sure to set a reminder for yourself so you don’t miss out!

Maverick Tip: It can be tricky to find a point of sale system that works for you. Make sure you factor in your budget, the features you need, and read any contracts carefully before you make any decisions.

How To Get A Booth At A Farmers Market In 7 Steps

Now that you have the essentials squared away, it’s time to get a booth at your local farmers market! Whether your goal is to sell on occasion as a fun side hustle or you dream of supporting yourself solely by selling your goods to the community, there are some steps you need to take and tips you can use to ensure your success.

1. Find Markets In Your Area

Your first step is to figure out where to sell your product. And just like the vendors you meet, not all markets are the same. Get a good idea of the culture, people, and products at each farmers market by visiting them yourself. Keep your eyes open for markets that need what you’re offering, but don’t forget to find a market that’s a good fit for you.

For example, if there are no other artists at a market and you feel uncomfortable selling your art there, keep searching. If you’d like to bring your four-legged friend with you, look for a dog-friendly market. You can also turn to the internet to learn more about the farmers market in your city and surrounding areas.

Get an idea of the registration process. While this process varies across markets, you need to be aware that vendor registration windows aren’t always open, and you may have to sign up weeks, months, or even longer in advance to secure a spot. You can find this information online or talk to a market manager in person to learn more about signing up as a vendor.

2. Research Local Ordinances & Health Regulations

Nothing can bring your business to a halt faster than getting shut down by the health department or local authorities. Do your research to learn about local ordinances and health regulations, such as how produce and prepared food must be stored/displayed or how baked goods have to be prepared.

You will need a food handler’s permit and facilities inspections of your commercial or home kitchen if you are planning to sell prepared foods. Plan accordingly for this, and make sure you have enough time before you plan to begin selling to accomplish these tasks. Laws and regulations vary, so contact your local health department to learn more.

3. Make A Business Plan

Even if selling at a farmers market feels more like a hobby than a business for you, it never hurts to create a business plan before you get started. Use this business plan to outline your goals, how you will finance your business, and your marketing strategies. If you’re panicked at the thought of a business plan that’s an inch thick, don’t be! A one-page business plan is sufficient for keeping you on track.

4. Get Startup Capital & Set A Budget

While selling at a farmers market can certainly be one of the more inexpensive ways to make money from the sale of your homemade goods, there are still some expenses to consider. One of the most common expenses is a booth rental fee. Some markets may even have an application fee, depending on their popularity.

You need to consider other expenses, too. Think about the equipment the market is unlikely to provide for their vendors, things like signage for your booth, tablecloths, and other items to spruce up your display, price stickers, and the cost of materials and packaging for samples.

These small expenses add up quickly, especially if you have yet to make a sale of your product. Determine whether you need to get financing before you start selling, set a budget, and stick to it.

Want more tips? Check out our guide on how to start a side hustle to learn more.

5. Look Into Business Registration And Permits

Depending on local regulations, you may be required to register your business before you take part in a farmers market. Some markets require you to provide an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) when you register as a vendor. If an EIN is required, it’s easy to obtain one for free from the Internal Revenue Service.

Along with or instead of registration, some counties or states may require permits to sell products at farmers’ markets. There are many different kinds of these sorts of permits, and the one you may need depends on the products you plan on selling. For example, the permit for selling frozen meat or eggs is going to be different than the permit required for selling nursery plants.

Contact the farmers market you’re interested in to learn more about the registration, licensing, and/or permit requirements for vendors.

6. Research Business Insurance

Some farmers’ markets require their vendors to have business insurance. Even if this isn’t a requirement, as a small business owner, you should research your options to protect yourself from liability. Start with general liability insurance and contact your chosen farmers market to determine if insurance is a requirement. They may even be able to recommend local insurance companies that other vendors use.

7. Get Accounting Software

Even if farmers markets are just going to be your side hustle, you still need accounting software. Though it may seem like a pain now, you’ll thank us later.

No matter how much you’re bringing in from your sales at a farmers market, it’s important to keep track of your finances. The best way to do that? Accounting software.

The good news is that there are many options available that are low-cost and easy to use, even if you have no prior accounting experience. Tracking your finances will help you see how much money you’re making, as well as where you’re spending it. This will allow you to determine where you can make changes to increase your profits. You’ll also be glad that you kept track of your finances when it’s time to pay your taxes.

If you don’t know where to get started, take a look at the best accounting software for small businesses.

Types of Payments To Accept At Your Farmers Market Booth

Because card payments are all but standard at this point, you have probably wondered if you should accept credit or debit card payments at your farmers market booth. Unfortunately, we can’t answer that question for you, but we do have some information about different payment method logistics that you should consider before making your choice.

Credit/Debit Cards

Mobile point-of-sale (POS) apps make it easier than ever to accept credit cards. The best mobile POS systems (typically plugged into the headphone jack or charging port) allow you to accept cards with ease without heavy registers or complicated systems. You could even score extras like stickers that advertise that your booth accepts debit and credit cards.

Contactless Payments

Contactless (sometimes called “tap” or “touch-to-pay”) payments include:

NFC (near-field communications) payment methods include digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

P2P (peer-to-peer) payments include platforms like PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, and Cash App.


Another consideration to keep in mind is whether or not you’ll be taking larger or custom orders during the time you spend selling at a farmers market. If you decide to fulfill these more complicated orders, you’ll need to have the ability to create invoices for tracking these orders and getting paid.

Let’s say that the holidays are coming up, and you’ve been commissioned to cater a Christmas party. Before you invest your time and money into fulfilling the order, you can make sure you get paid by sending your customer an invoice that can be paid online. If the mobile POS system you choose doesn’t allow you to create and send invoices, you can use separate invoicing software.


If you don’t want to go through the trouble of figuring out the best POS system, getting invoicing software, or having to use your personal technology to accept payments, you could simply choose not to accept card payments.

Cash-only businesses are not unheard of, and many customers know that smaller businesses or farms that sell at the markets they frequent don’t accept cards. The quaint environment at farmers’ markets is often a big draw for customers, and paying for products in cash can be part of that experience.

Despite the cash culture that may be present, many farmers’ markets are also prepared for customers who only have cards on them, allowing them to purchase tokens that can be used to buy products from vendors. At the end of the day, these tokens can be redeemed with the market so the vendor gets their earnings. It’s a nifty way to ensure that you won’t be excluding any potential customers by choosing what forms of payment you will or won’t accept.

You can also, of course, handle cash yourself outright. You’ll just want to make sure you have a cash box with a lock or other security measure of some kind, small bills and coins to make change for customers, and some sort of paper to write down a receipt if a customer requests one.

If you have no brick-and-mortar storefront, receipts with your social media or website information are crucial to make sure repeat customers can find you again to repurchase their favorite products!

Food Stamps & SNAP Benefits

USDA data on SNAP from December 2023 shows that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is used by roughly 41 million Americans. These benefits, formerly known as food stamps, assist low-income households with the cost of groceries.

SNAP participants are provided with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which is used like a debit card at participating retailers. This includes grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers markets, and roadside stands! If your products qualify for purchase with SNAP benefits, this system makes it easy for you to accept EBT. If you want to accept these benefits, you need to make sure you apply for an EBT license from the USDA.

Even if you decide to be a cash-only vendor, there’s still a way for customers using SNAP to purchase products. Most farmers’ markets have a system in place that allows SNAP participants to purchase the same tokens as other card-only customers with their EBT cards. Many states even reward SNAP participants for shopping at farmers’ markets with “double-up” programs. These programs match each dollar spent (up to a certain amount), allowing these households to receive more healthy and nutritious food using their benefits.

Farmers market vendors can also accept coupons from WIC (a supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children) via the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). Eligible WIC participants are issued FMNP coupons, which are separate from their regular WIC benefits. To accept WIC FMNP coupons at your farmers market or roadside stand, your market must be approved by the appropriate WIC FMNP agency in your state. Ask your future market coordinator if they are approved so you can be prepared to accept this form of payment when you begin selling.

Best POS For Farmers Markets

Mobile POS systems are ideal for selling at a farmers market because they’re portable and can process credit card payments without Wi-Fi or connection to power. With most mobile POS systems, the only equipment you’ll need is a phone or tablet and a pocket-sized credit card reader.

It’s possible to run your business just with one of the best mobile credit card readers, but a mobile POS system can provide a few more features.

How The Best Mobile POS Systems Compare

PricingPayment ProcessingFree TrialEBT Acceptance
Square POSStarts at $0/month2.6% + $0.10Third-party integration
ShopifyStarts at $29/month2.4% - 2.7%Depends on payment processor
PayPal ZettleStarts at $0/month2.29% + $0.09Third-party integration
Clover POSStarts at $14.95/month2.3% + $0.10Built-in

Square POS: Best Free mPOS System

Total Rating 4.9

Ease Of Use5.0


Customer Service4.7

User Reviews4.8





Equipment Cost


Get a free card swiper from Square at no cost when you create a free account. Claim your card reader.


  • No (or low) monthly fee
  • Free trial available


  • EBT accepted only through third-party app
  • Limited 24 hour offline sessions

Why Square Is A Good Choice For Farmers Markets

On low-cost (or even free) plans, Square offers great features like:

  • Business management tools
  • Mobile invoicing
  • EBT acceptance with TotilPay integration
  • Flat-rate payment processing
  • Inexpensive POS hardware

Get Started With Square POS

Read our in-depth review

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Shopify: Best For eCommerce Vendors


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  • Portable POS hardware
  • Easy to move from eCommerce to in-person sales


  • Can’t be used as an all-in-one POS system for full-time businesses
  • Additional fees for using some third-party integrations

Why Shopify POS Is A Good Choice For Farmers Markets

Shopify's mobile processing plan is a great choice for farmers market sellers because it offers:

  • Flat-rate payment processing
  • Affordable POS hardware
  • EBT sales processing through third-party payment processors
  • eCommerce sales tools
  • Mobile invoicing
  • Facebook selling tools

Get Started With Shopify

Read our in-depth review

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PayPal Zettle: Best For P2P Payments

PayPal Zettle

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No monthly fee



Equipment Cost

$29 for your first card reader


  • Easy P2P payments through PayPal or Venmo
  • Reduced QR code processing fees


  • No offline mode
  • Account stability issues

Why PayPal Zettle Is A Good Choice For Farmers Markets

If you want to prioritize alternative or contactless payment methods, PayPal Zettle is a great option for you. It offers:

  • Affordable card readers with PIN pad
  • QR code payments for PayPal and Venmo transactions
  • Flat-rate processing
  • Reduced processing fees for QR code payments
  • Mobile invoicing

Get Started With PayPal Zettle

Read our in-depth review

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Clover POS: Best For Customization & Scalability

Total Rating 4.3

Ease Of Use4.8


Customer Service4.4

User Reviews4.1


Starts at $0/month


Depends on merchant services provider

Equipment Cost

$49-$1,799 per device


  • Mix-and-match mobile hardware
  • Massive Clover App Store for integrations


  • Have to use Clover hardware
  • Potential for reseller scams

Why Clover Go Is A Good Choice For Farmers Markets

Clover is another solid competitor to Square and Shopify with features like:

  • Affordable POS hardware
  • Flat-rate processing
  • Built-in EBT acceptance

Get Started With Clover POS

Read our in-depth review

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Merchant Maverick has been researching and reviewing POS providers since 2012. Our writers have tested over 100 different point of sale systems, evaluating pricing, features, ease of use, customer service, and user reviewers. Read more about how we rate POS providers.

When comparing different POS software systems, we consider many data points, including relative pricing, the depth of niche features offered, the price of hardware, and any associated payment processing fees. Our lists of the best providers include only apps we’ve deemed worthwhile from multiple vantage points. The POS vendors we pick share qualities such as widespread availability, accessibility, user-friendliness, and reasonable pricing. We also look carefully at niche features, such as check-splitting, inventory management, eCommerce, loyalty programs, gift cards, and more.

We spend an average of 10-15 hours researching and updating each one of our lists, making sure the providers included meet our internal standards for quality and reputation.


Vendors evaluated


Attributes assessed per vendor


Features weighed


Combined years of experience

6 Ways To Make More Farmers Market Sales

Now that you know a little more about what you need to sell at a farmers market, how to get a booth, and what to use to accept payment from customers, it’s time to learn some tips to help you make more sales! A huge and expensive marketing plan isn’t needed, but there are some things you can implement to increase your profit and awareness of your small business.

Offer Business Cards

A customer who can’t purchase from you today, someone who needs to share your products with a friend, or a repeat customer who wants to find you later; all of these people could benefit from your easy-to-read, engaging, and informational business card!

You can easily create business cards online through free design programs and have them shipped to your door for a low price. Make sure to include critical contact information, including your name, the name of your business, your email address, social media or website links, and any other relevant information.

An easy way to make sure customers can find all of this information even if they lose the card is to include a QR code that links to all of your links. You can use a service to make a page full of links or add a page to your already existing website to drive more traffic to your pages.

Make An Email/Newsletter List

Offer an email list for your customers, including new product announcements, upcoming sales, or your schedule if you attend multiple farmers’ markets and events. Consider making a newsletter if you find yourself with reoccurring announcements every month or season.

Some mPOS (mobile POS) systems like Square will allow you to automatically add customers who have purchased from you to this list.

Use Social Media

Social media isn’t just for large corporations or viral influencers. Social media is a great outlet for advertising your business! Create a social media profile for your business and provide contact information, photos of your products, customer reviews, and important updates. This is an easy way to share where you’ll be selling your products and allow your customers to share with their friends and followers.

You can also join groups in your area that allow you to interact with customers, take pre-orders, answer questions about your products, and more. Use your account to interact with the farmers market accounts and the accounts of other vendors, and curate a news feed of local small businesses to support who will often return the favor!

Dress Up Your Display

Unfortunately, you can’t just throw your products on a table and expect them to sell. Sure, you may make a little bit of money, but to maximize profits, it’s time to dress up your display. For this technique, you’ll have to invest a little bit of money, so make sure you budget and plan before implementation.

Use signs, tablecloths, and decorations to make your space stand out. Arrange your products neatly and make sure that everything is labeled and priced correctly.

This is your chance to really show off your personality, so take advantage of the opportunity to attract customers. Instead of purchasing displays from a department store, think about exploring a local thrift or secondhand store for some unique shelves or small tables to feature your products.

Offer Free Samples

Nothing in life is free unless you’re at a farmers market and vendors are offering free samples! While providing samples of your products does come with some expenses, allowing your customers to try before they buy is a good way to get them interested…and have them reach for their wallets. This is an expense you can easily factor into your budget plan.

Provide small bites of your baked goods or testers of your lotion or candles to smell. Before distributing your samples, make sure that you’re aware of all health regulations to keep your business in operation and provide a sanitary shopping experience for your customers.

Depending on the rates of COVID and other illnesses in your area, it may be wise to keep the samples under glass or in individual containers.

Allow Pre-order Pick-ups

Since 2020, there’s a large chance you’ve taken advantage of a business’s curbside pick-up option. Why not offer that same convenience to your customers?

Pre-orders are not only a convenient way for customers to make sure what they want to purchase is available, but they’re also a great way to gauge how much of your product you need to make or plan on bringing to the market.

Allow customers to contact you via social media or a form on your website to place pre-orders. Use your POS system or invoicing software to send an invoice to them and receive payment before you begin fulfilling their order. If you have another set of hands at your booth, set aside a separate line/space for pre-order pick-up so they won’t have to wait in the long line of eager customers you are sure to have!

Are You Ready To Start Selling?

Yes! You are!

You now know what to sell at a farmers market, how to sell at a farmers market, and how to be successful, whether it’s your first time selling in person or your hundredth.

It takes a lot of hard work and upfront expenses to sell your products and see a profit, but there are many benefits to being a vendor at a farmers market. With low start-up costs, personalized interaction with your customers, creative freedom, and networking opportunities, farmers markets are an invaluable asset to established businesses and new entrepreneurs alike.

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Kymberlin Bush

Kymberlin Bush

Staff Writer
Kymberlin started contributing to Merchant Maverick as a freelancer in 2022 and joined the team as the full-time small business health insurance expert in 2023. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Pacific University in 2020 and continues to reside in Portland, Oregon.
Kymberlin Bush
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