A guide to Farmers Markets

Written by Zoe Balls

Farmers market

Guide to Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets are a good choice whether you're looking for seasonal fruit and veg for your family feasts, unique condiments, local specialities to impress at an upcoming dinner party, or just fancy treating yourself to a homemade cake!

Offering everything from freshly-caught fish to locally-reared meats, organic cordials and ciders to meals-to-go, and even some crafts and seasonal flowers, there really is something to satisfy every food, drink and culture connoisseur as well as supporting local businesses.

The market also gives the Farmer the opportunity to directly sell food and other produce to the general public. This "direct selling" is of benefit to both the farmer and the consumer as it offers locally produced fresh food whilst at the same time increasing profit margins.

All products on sale at the farmers' markets should have been grown, reared, caught, brewed, pickled, baked or processed by the stall holder.

Farmers' markets provide you with the opportunity to:

  • cut out the middleman and link original source to the consumer
  • have a regular market outlet/regular business
  • receive direct feedback from customers on produce/prices
  • reduce the costs of transport/packaging
  • advise and share recipe ideas and cooking instructions
  • To inform and educate customers in the product by telling the stories behind the sourcing and sustainability of their produce.


Farmer's Markets - Food Safety Legislation and Licensing Requirements

All premises used to store, prepare, distribute and sell food must be registered with the local authority. You will also need to register a Farmers' market/farmers' market stall.

Premises of businesses producing meat and meat products, eggs, milk and dairy products, and/or fish and fish products MAY need to be approved instead of being registered by their local authority's Environmental Health Team.

For further information you should contact the local council's Environmental Health team.


Food safety, hygiene and labelling

General food hygiene requirements are set out in legislation, with specific requirements for meat, milk and egg production.  In general farmers and growers must follow good hygiene practice and management procedures to control food safety hazards.

If you intend to serve or process raw food, you will need basic food hygiene training. Supervisors and managers will require a higher level of training - to Intermediate level.  

Businesses involved with processing food will need a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system and staff will need to understand the key food safety controls.  Please contact your local authority's Environmental Health Dept. for further information or advice.

Labelling of food and allergen requirements are controlled by Trading Standards regulations.   Please contact your local Trading Standards Dept. for further information or advice.


Useful contact:

The National Farmers' Retail and Markets Association (FARMA) supports farmers who want to sell their products direct to the consumer from farm shops, farmers' markets, home delivery, on-farm catering or pick-your-own farms.

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