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Farmers’ Market Regulations. Farmers’ Market Entrepreneur. Farmers’ markets are more than fresh fruits and vegetables. Many of these additional products have separate regulations to govern their sales at farmers’ markets

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Farmers market regulations

Farmers’ Market Regulations

Farmers’ Market Entrepreneur

Farmers’ markets

are more than fresh fruits and vegetables.

Many of these additional products have separate regulations to govern their sales at farmers’ markets

There are several regulations you should be aware of when selling at a Kentucky farmers’ market.

Registration with kentucky department of agriculture
Registration with Kentucky Department of Agriculture

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture registers markets each year and collects data.

This registration allows the market to be an “official” farmers’ market.

The registration is free, but must be done annually.

Kentucky department of agriculture does regulate
Kentucky Department of Agriculture Does Regulate….

  • Scales used for sales at the market.

  • Sale of eggs


  • Scales must be made for legal trade and for commercial use.

  • A legal for trade scale will be marked with:

    • A serial number

    • A model number

    • Class III designation on the ID plate

    • NTEP certificate of conformance


  • Scales suitable for farmers’ markets will have a ½ ounce or smaller

  • It is the responsibility of the owner to have the scale inspected and maintain the accuracy

  • Inspectors can shut down a vendor for using unapproved scales


  • An alternative to using scales is to sell by volume. That is, by the bag or box or per item.

  • If you do sell by volume you might want to get an approximate weight on your items so you can say that the bag of lettuce is “about 1 pound” if customers ask.


  • Should be washed and candled

  • Use new cartons with nutritional info, refrigeration requirements and safe handling information printed on them

  • Each carton should be labeled “ungraded” followed by “produced by (where you put your name and address) and “sold directly to the consumer.”


  • The eggs must be kept at or below 45 degrees at all times

  • Do not leave eggs out on your table

  • If you are using an ice chest, separate the eggs from the ice and from the melting ice in the bottom of the chest

The department of public health regulates
The Department of Public Health regulates

  • Prepared food items

  • Minimally processed foods

  • All value-added food products

Hb 391 farmers market home processing legislation
HB 391 (Farmers’ Market Home Processing Legislation)

This legislation allows

producers to add

value to their

horticultural products in their

home kitchens.

It is farm friendly legislation
It is Farm Friendly Legislation

  • Processors must Own or Lease at least 5 contiguous acres of farmland OR

  • Be a Kentucky resident who has grown the primary horticultural or agronomic ingredients of the food product.

It is farm friendly legislation because

It is Farm Friendly Legislation Because…

Final product must contain a

Primary or Predominant Kentucky-Grown Ingredient

grown, harvested, processed and marketed by the farmer

Foods can be sold from
Foods can be sold from…

1. The Farm

2. Farmers Markets that are listed with Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

3. Roadside Stands Certified by Kentucky Farm Bureau.

Prohibited locations
Prohibited Locations

  • Restaurants

  • Grocery Stores

  • Retail Markets

  • Gift Shops

  • Wholesale Sales

  • Mail Order Sales

  • Internet Sales

  • Interstate Sales

These require a Food Manufacturer’s Permit and use of a Permitted Kitchen.

There are two levels to this legislation
There are two levels to this legislation

  • Home-based Processor

  • Home-based Microprocessor

Home based processors
Home-Based Processors

Acceptable Products for Home-based Processors

  • Whole fruit and vegetables

  • Mixed-greens

  • Jams, jellies, sorghum, preserves

  • Fruit butter

  • Fruit pies

  • Bread, Cakes, & Cookies

Home based processors1
Home-based Processors

  • Must qualify as a farmer

  • Must register with the state

  • Must have potable water source

  • No fee

Home based microprocessors
Home-Based Microprocessors

Some of the Acceptable Products for Home-based Microprocessors


Barbecue Sauce

Pickled Fruits or Vegetables

Pressure-Canned Vegetables

Home based microprocessor certification requirements
Home-based Microprocessor Certification Requirements

  • Qualify as a Farmer.

  • Attend and successfully complete UK or Better Process Control School.

  • Have standardized recipe for each processed food item approved by a qualified process authority.

  • Submit verification of approved water source.

  • Submit product labels to food branch for review.

  • Complete application form with signature attesting that all microprocessing will be in compliance with the law.

  • Yearly registration is $50. Additional fee for class and each recipe.

Prohibited food items for either level
Prohibited Food Items for Either Level

Potentially hazardous foods, including but not limited to….

1. Crème filled pies, custard, custard pies, pies

with meringue topping

2. Cheesecake

3. Cream, custard and meringue pastries

4. Raw seed sprouts

5. Garlic-in-oil mixtures

6. Foods vacuum packaged in containers other

than mason-type jars

7. Canned, pureed baby foods

8. Any products containing meat

Home based processor microprocessor food labeling
Home-based Processor/Microprocessor Food Labeling

  • Name & Address of Operation

  • Common Name of Food Product

  • Ingredients, in Descending Order by


  • Net Weight & Volume

  • Statement in 10 point type “This product is home-produced and processed.”

  • Date product processed

Home based processor microprocessor contacts

Dr. Sandra S. Bastin, RD, LD

Associate Extension Professor

Food & Nutrition Specialist

University of Kentucky

Cooperative Extension Service


[email protected]

Mark M. Reed, RS, MPA


Food Manufacturing Program

Kentucky Food Safety Branch

502-564-7181 extension 3677

[email protected]

Home-based Processor/Microprocessor Contacts

  • If the product does not fall under the Home-based Processed/Microprocessed category, then it must be “commercially” processed.

  • All vendors selling commercially produced items must have a prepackaged retail food store permit from the local health department.

Honey Processed/Microprocessed category, then it must be “commercially” processed.

  • Has its own special legislation

  • If you sell less than 150 gallons of honey a year you are not required to process the honey in a certified honey house

  • Labeling is important

Honey labels
Honey Labels Processed/Microprocessed category, then it must be “commercially” processed.

  • Identity of the product: HONEY

  • Quantity of contents: i.e. one-pint jar =Net. Wt. 32 ounces (908 grams)

  • Name of manufacturer: You or your farm

  • Address of manufacturer: Your address

Organic Processed/Microprocessed category, then it must be “commercially” processed.

  • There are two ways you can use this term – be certified or be registered

  • You cannot say your products are “grown organically” or any other use of the word organic if you do not meet either of the criteria above

Meat Processed/Microprocessed category, then it must be “commercially” processed.

  • All meat must be processed

    at USDA inspected facility

  • Frozen meat must be kept at 0 degrees and fresh meat must be kept at 41 degrees or lower at all times

  • Seller must have a prepackaged retail sales permit from the health department

Handwashing stations
Handwashing Stations Processed/Microprocessed category, then it must be “commercially” processed.

  • Some levels of permits from the health department require you to have a way to properly wash your hands

  • A simple handwashing station is easy to make

A simple handwash station is pictured below. Processed/Microprocessed category, then it must be “commercially” processed.The required liquid soap dispenser is not in the picture.

Spout that can be turned on and will run without someone holding it open.

Lots of water

Roll of paper towels

Catch basin for water as it flows over your hands

Extra water

Simple 3 compartment cleaning station
Simple 3-Compartment Cleaning Station sanitize utensils

Paper towels

Sanitizing rinse

Soapy water – changed frequently

Clear rinse water – change frequently


Sanitizer tablets

More information about each of these topics plus more is available in the “Kentucky Farmers’ Market Manual”

The manual is available online at by clicking on “Farmers Markets” on the drop down menu. Printed copies can be obtained by calling (502) 564-4983.