Selling at Markets

Selling at Farmers' Markets & Temporary Food Establishments

Farmers' Markets are currently located across Nebraska, the MidWest, and the United States. They offer another area for local farmers and ranchers to sell their products, meet their customers, and have conversations about the local food and products in their areas! Nebraska is currently home to more than 90 farmers' markets across the state, several of whom are BFBLN members, each offering fresh, local food and products from Nebraska producers.


Guidelines for Farmers— Markets (Source: Nebraska Department of Agriculture)

Questions About Selling Directly to Consumers


What can be sold without a permit?

  • Fresh produce, some baked items, canned pop, and snack items.omaha farmers market

What can be sold with a permit?

  • Requirement: No person shall operate a food establishment without a valid permit which sets forth the types of operation occurring with the establishment.
  • A 'food establishment' is an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, sells, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption.
  • This does not include a produce stand offering only whole, uncut fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Permits will be required for all commercial establishments including stands selling fountain pop, prepared drinks, and sandwiches, for operators selling potentially hazardous foods, such as meat, poultry, and fish, and for persons meeting the requirements for bakers.

What is the placard requirement for farmers market sales?

  • A clearly visible placard is required at the sale location stating the food was not prepared in an inspected, licensed food preparation area.

What can't be sold?

  • Home canned products such as green beans, tomatoes, pickles, salsa, and fruits; raw milk; meats from an uninspected sources; and soft or creme pies. * (* These products may be sold if prepared in an inspected, permitted facility.)
  • Where to get licenses: State and local sanitarians issue permits. A preopening inspection is recommended.

Temporary food establishment.

  • Prepared items such as sandwiches and open drinks. A one-time permit fee and an annual inspection fee is required.

Omaha Farmers MarketItinerant food vendor permit.

  • Prepackaged items, including poultry, fish, and meat items. A one-time permit fee and an annual inspection fee is required.

Mobile food units and pushcarts.

  • There is a fee per each unit.

Photos courtesy of Omaha Farmers' Market

Requirements for Specific Items Sold


Red Meat:Old Cheney Farmers' Market
  • Must be slaughtered, processed, and packaged under USDA inspection (not a custom-exempt plant).
  • Must be packaged and be labeled with USDA Est. #, name, address of producer, packer or distributor, weight, price per pound, and total price.
  • Must be maintained refrigerated.
  • Seller must have a permit.

Poultry (if of own raising):

  • May be slaughtered and processed in a USDA facility or a facility under state inspection.
  • Must be packaged with USDA exemption statement, name, address of producer, packer or distributor, weight, price per pound, and total price.
  • Must be maintained refrigerated/frozen.
  • Seller must have a permit.

Poultry (if not of own raising):

  • Must be slaughtered and processed in a USDA facility.
  • Must be packaged with USDA Est. #, name, address of producer, packer or distributor, weight, price per pound, and total price.
  • Must be maintained refrigerated/frozen.
  • Seller must have a permit.

Game animals (includes rabbits, fish, buffalo, pheasants, etc.):

  • May be slaughtered and processed in a USDA facility or a facility under state inspection.
  • Must be packaged with name, address of producer, packer or distributor, weight, price per pound, and total price.
  • Must be maintained refrigerated/frozen.
  • Seller must have a permit.
Benson Farmers' MarketEggs:
  • From own flock, must be clean, candled for quality, have Nebraska Egg Code Number, kept refrigerated.
Baked goods:
  • Limited to non-potentially hazardous baked goods; bread, cookies, and fruit pies.
    Limited to baking on three or fewer days per week.
    Commercial bakers are required to produce the baked goods in an inspected facility.

Photos courtesy of the Old Cheney Road Farmers' Market & Benson Farmers' Market

Information on Selling Permits


No permit required for the following (vendors selling the following items do not require permits):University Place Farmers' Market
  1. Fresh fruits and vegetables.
  2. Crafts and flowers.
  3. Baked goods - rolls, breads, two-crust pies, etc.
  4. Jams and jellies.
  5. Eggs from local producers - must be clean, candled and refrigerated.
Permit required (a food establishment permit is required in order to sell the following items):
  1. Prepared food and drinks (tea, hamburgers, fountain pop, etc.) Temporary Food Stand Permit required.
  2. Meat (beef, pork, and lamb). Products must be processed in a USDA facility, properly labeled, kept frozen or refrigerated. Itinerant Food Vendor Permit required.
  3. Game meat (pheasant, buffalo, fish, rabbit, etc.). Products must be processed in a state or federally inspected facility, properly labeled, refrigerated or frozen. Processor Permit/Itinerant Food Vendor Permit required.
  4. Chicken. Must be from producer's own raising and must be processed in a state or federally inspected facility, properly labeled, refrigerated or frozen. Processor Permit/Itinerant Food Vendor Permit required.

st paul united church of christ fmuniversity place farmers market

Photos Courtesy of University Place Farmers' Market & St. Paul United Church of Christ Farmers' Market

Items Which Cannot Be Sold at Farmers' Markets


Food Products that cannot be sold at farmers market (the Nebraska Department of Agriculture will not allow the sale of the following, potentially hazardous, foods that usually require refrigeration):
  1. Raw (unpasteurized) milk.
  2. Home-canned low acid foods, including pickles and salsas.
  3. Creme pies.
  4. Red meats that have not been processed under USDA inspection.

Florence Mill Farmers MarketFlorence Mill Farmers Market

Photos courtesy of Old Cheney Road Farmers' Market & Florence Mill Farmers' Market

Articles & Publications

GAP Training Video: An Overview of GAPs for Buy Fresh, Buy Local Nebraska by Sarah Browning

Lincoln Farmers' Market Requirements: There are special rules and fees governing temporary events and establishments. These categories include sidewalk vendors, street fairs, farmers markets, and hot dog stands.

Getting Started — A Vendor—s Guide to Successful Sales at Farmers— Markets  Minimum Requirements for Food Safety and Educational Support for VendorsWohlners Farmers Market

Como empezar — Una guía para tener ventas exitosas durante el Mercado de Agricultores Requerimientos Mínimos para el Manejo de Alimentos y Soporte Educativo para los Vendedores

Guidelines for Farmers— Markets (Source: Nebraska Department of Agriculture) Description of what you can and cannot sell at a Farmers— Market in Nebraska. Check with your Local Nebraska Health Department for more information.

Weights and Measures Guidelines for Sales at Farmers' Markets, Roadside Stands and Other Commercial Outlets, NebGuide G1944 PDF version Retail sale of fruits, vegetables, and other items, including those at farmers' markets and roadside stands, is regulated by the Nebraska Weights and Measures Act. Learn about what's required by the Act and how to comply.

Report from the Food Processing Center regarding Farmers' Market Food Safety.

Wayne Farmers MarketFood Safety for Farmers' Markets, NebGuide G1706 PDF version
Factors that cause foodborne illnesses and recommendations for preparing and selling wholesome and safe food products at Farmer's Markets. Vendors at Farmers' Markets are responsible for the safety of the products they offer for sale. If customers are unhappy with the products they purchase from a stand, they will not be back. Word of mouth advertisement from a bad experience may not be good for future business.

Food Safety for Temporary Food Service Establishments, NebGuide G1708 PDF version
Food safety, including causes of and tips for preventing foodborne illness at temporary food service establishments. Food stands, bake sales, bazaars and other food sales provide good opportunities for organizations to raise money, but the food you prepare and offer for sale must be wholesome and safe for the consumer. Sponsoring organizations are responsible for the safety of the food products they offer for sale.

Photos courtesy of Wohlner's Farmer Market & Wayne Farmers' Market