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Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ markets provide a venue where local farmers can sell their produce and other farm-based manufactured products directly to the public. Kentucky farmers’ markets within Northern Kentucky continue to enjoy growth and success. Find out even more information on your community's local farmers' markets, see more at the farmers' market story map.


 
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture provides support and assistance to markets to govern themselves and to reach their goals. Kentucky’s farmers’ market manual and other pertinent information can be found on the agricultural site.
 
The Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Food Safety Branch is responsible for ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of all food products marketed in Kentucky and has partnered with KDA’s farmers’ market program. Depending on the circumstances of the operation and the food items being marketed, it may be necessary for vendors to secure specialized training and/or a permit to operate.   
 
For questions pertaining to the permitting process, please see our frequently asked questions section below or contact Environmental Health and Safety at 859.341.4151.
 
Farmers' markets: Frequently asked questionsProduce at a farmers market
 
Do I need a permit to sell whole fruits, vegetables, herbs or honey at the farmers’ market?
What do I need to become a home-based processor?
What do I need to be a home-based micro-processor?
Can I have both permits?
I’m not a Kentucky resident. Can I qualify for a home-based processor registration or micro-processor certification?
Can I use home-grown eggs and milk in my products?
Can I sell meat at the farmers’ market?
Can I sell eggs at the farmers’ market?
Can I sell dairy products at the farmers’ market?
Can I cook and sell my products at the farmers’ market?
Can I give away free samples?
What is needed in order to sell dried fruits, vegetables and herbs?
Can I sell other foods at my booth besides my home-based products?
I’m not a Kentucky resident. Can I get the farmers’ market temporary food service permit?
Who decides who can join the farmers’ market?
Where can I find more information on farmers' markets in Kentucky?
 
Do I need a permit to sell whole fruits, vegetables, herbs or honey at the farmers’ market?
No. A permit would only be needed if your local city/county government required one.
 
What do I need to become a home-based processor?
This registration is for farmers who want to sell homemade jams, jelly, and baked items whose primary ingredient is grown on their farm.
 
What do I need to be a home-based micro-processor?
This certification is for farmers who want to sell salsas, home-canned veggies and pickled products. It requires the completion of the training course provided by University of Kentucky Extension ($50). Additionally, all recipes must be submitted to Dr. Sandra Bastin at UK for review and approval ($5 each). After finishing these two steps, an application should be submitted to the Kentucky Department for Public Health's Food Safety Branch with copies of the completed training course certificate and all recipes and labels.
 
Can I have both permits?
Yes. A permit is required for each type of food to be sold. Having a micro-processor certification does not cover registration for producing jams and jellies.
 
I’m not a Kentucky resident. Can I qualify for a home-based processor registration or micro-processor certification?
No. These permits are specifically for promoting Kentucky farmers and their Kentucky-grown products.
 
Can I use home-grown eggs and milk in my products?
No. Only U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected eggs and milk may be used.
 
Can I sell meat at the farmers’ market?
Kentucky-grown meat from a U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected facility may be sold at farmers’ markets after obtaining a mobile retail food permit from the local health department ($27). The same applies to sales of shrimp.
 
Can I sell eggs at the farmers’ market?
Yes. You may sell up to 60 dozen per week without a permit, so long as you comply with all Kentucky Department of Agriculture rules.
 
Can I sell dairy products at the farmers’ market?
Only properly labeled dairy products (butter, cheese, etc.) from inspected and permitted facilities may be sold with a retail food permit.
 
Can I cook and sell my products at the farmers’ market?
A farmers’ market temporary food service permit ($50) is needed to cook and sell a Kentucky-grown food at the market. This special permit (for Kentucky farmers only) is good for six consecutive months, and allows service twice per week.
 
Can I give away free samples?
The Department for Public Health, in cooperation with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, has developed a food safety training program for farmers who want to sample their product. Farmers who wish to slice, cut cook or otherwise prepare samples must complete this program and keep its certificate of completion with them during their sampling.
 
What is needed in order to sell dried fruits, vegetables, and herbs?
A home-based processor permit is needed, as well as completion of the training course mentioned above.
 
Can I sell other foods at my booth besides my home-based products?
Selling other foods that are from permitted commercial food manufacturers requires a retail food permit. Also home-based foods must be kept separated from commercially-produced food during sales and storage.
 
I’m not a Kentucky resident. Can I get the farmers’ market temporary food service permit?
No. The farmers’ market temporary food service permit is specifically for promoting Kentucky farmers and their Kentucky-grown products.
 
Who decides who can join the farmers’ market?
Participants in the market are determined by the market manager and its board members. It is their responsibility to ensure that market members have the necessary permits and their products are in compliance with all applicable regulations.
 
Where can I find more information on farmers' markets in Kentucky?
For more information contact Donna Stucker with the Kentucky Department for Public Health at 502.564.7181, Ext. 3683 or DonnaM.Stucker@ky.gov.