You are here: Home / Vendors / Become a Vendor
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  1. Do you Qualify?
  2. Submit Vendor Interest Form
  3. Policies and Rules
  4. Submit Application
  5. Permit to Sell
  6. Orientation & Resources

Do you qualify?

Space is limited, and our market schedules are usually set for the year by early February.  We are always interested in hearing from farmers, and each year our markets include new farms and new food products.  The best time for new inquiries is generally October-January, although occasionally we do bring in new vendors at other times if the opportunity/need for a particular type of product opens up.

Our seven Farmers Markets accept:

  • Washington State farmers selling their own fresh and value-add products.
  • Washington State food vendors who make processed artisan foods from scratch using local farm ingredients.
  • Washington State ready-to-eat food vendors making prepared foods from scratch using local farm ingredients

Our priority and mission as an organization is to support and strengthen local farms.  We also include some space for food vendors (we are interested in unique, locally-focused businesses that do not already have major retail distribution or a bricks-and-mortar location). Please note that we receive dozens of inquiries from food vendors (bakers, confections, condiments, etc.) each month, but space is very limited and we simply can't include all types of foods.  All food vendors are expected to source from WA farms and feature local farm ingredients. For wineries, we prefer estate only.  (Please also note that we have only very limited room for food trucks in a few of our markets, and no room for them at all in others.)  

Farmers note - farm products that are currently under-represented or needed at our markets include: goat, sheep and cow artisan cheeses, milk, butter; popping corn kernels; unique greens, herbs, vegetables and fruits not already in abundance at the markets; fresh figs; unique/hard-to-find berry varieties; fresh local wild-caught fish (salmon, trout, etc); locally-grown nuts, seeds and grains.

We do not have room for:

  • Non-food businesses
  • Out-of-state businesses
  • Craft vendors (however, farmers only may include a small amount of farm-sourced & produced crafts as an adjunct to their primary inventory of farm-grown foods - allowed on a case-by-case basis - for e.g., Holiday wreathes, sheep's wool)
  • Carnival or fairground-type foods (sno-cones, hot dogs, etc.)
  • Nationally distributed packaged foods, energy drinks, etc.
  • Vendors who sell pet foods, dog treats, products for pets or animals
  • Imported or out-of-state agricultural products
  • Wholesale or resale products of any kind
  • Locally made products that do not include Washington farm-sourced ingredients
  • CBD or any other consumable marijuana products

Complete a Vendor Interest Form

If you meet our qualifications, you may submit details about your farm and products for our review, via the Vendor Interest Form link below. Please note that this is NOT an application to sell - this is simply an inquiry of interest from you to us (please use this form rather than sending us an email or asking our staff at the markets about selling space).  We will review your information and then let you know if we are able to offer you an opportunity to submit an Application to Sell.  We do not offer Applications to Sell to vendors whom we are unable to accommodate in our markets.  

We always welcome inquiries from farmers, fishers, and dairies.  For non-farm food businesses: our market schedules have very limited room for food vendors, and we receive many, many more inquiries of interest than we can accommodate.  Non-farm food vendors must be prepared to submit product samples, menus, labels, marketing materials, and price points for review upon our request.  

Vendor Interest Form - fill out this form if you are interested in receiving an Application to Sell in our markets. 

Please do not fill out this form if you are already a current vendor or if you are interested in participating in our markets in one of the following capacities:

 

Policies and Rules

If you have been invited to submit an application to sell, you will be able to download a copy of our Policies and Rules booklet. This document will prepare you for market day operations, our fee structure, permits, and other pertinent information.  All applicants MUST read this booklet before signing and submitting their application to sell.

Local Sourcing

In order to ensure that artisanal and ready-to-eat foods in our markets support local farms, we conduct local sourcing audits, including a visual check for signage and labeling, as well as a written statement form to be filled out by the food vendor. We may also ask for receipts from your local farm purchases.  Please click here for more  info and resources on local sourcing.

Market Fees

We charge a daily stall fee to all vendors, to cover our costs for street closure permits, space rentals, Health Dept, Fire Dept and other permits, marketing, promotion and public education, coordinating and advocating with City and County officials and regulators, working with local neighborhood organizations, and organizing, mapping and coordinating each of our seven market locations (totaling 232 market days!).  We also work hard to secure funding and infrastructure for low income food access, and we do tremendous work to instigate and advocate for laws and policies that support local agriculture and viable farmers markets. 

Fees vary depending on the type of vendor and market, but in general vendors are charged a minimum daily fee (about $50/day), or a percentage of sales (whichever is greater).  Percentages vary according to type of vendor and location of booth.  Some markets have additional fees for parking.  

Application Process

Vendors are invited to apply only if we have reasonable certainty of granting them selling space at one or more of our markets. We have an electronic application process, and qualifying vendors who have submitted an interest form and have been reviewed/juried will be sent an email with log-in instructions.  Farmers and vendors who sold the previous season (and are in good standing regarding rules, fee payments, etc.) are automatically invited to apply to return in the coming season.

All relevant licenses, permits and other documents must be submitted with the application form. However, if you are a food business still waiting for Health Department permits, you may wait to secure those permits upon acceptance at one of our markets.  Prior to selling, vendors must also be fully prepared with their own booth set-up infrastructure: canopies & weights, signage, pricing and ingredient information, attractive display materials, correct certification information, etc.  

Inquiries and applications are accepted and processed primarily in November through February for the following market season. 

For resources, links and information regarding permits, licenses, market vending, etc., please click on number 6 above (Orientation and Resources).

Permits to Sell

Applicants who are accepted in to our markets are sent, by mail, a Permit to Sell for all markets in which they are accepted.

Vendors may be limited from selling certain products at some markets, depending on the existent vendor/product mix.

Vendors may be wait-listed for some or all dates, as space is limited and the growing season is unpredictable.

Vendors may only sell the products listed on their application - vendors cannot sell products that were not listed on the original application without submitting a written addendum and obtaining written approval from the NFM.

New Vendor Orientation

Please scroll down this page for important links and info for farmers and food vendors who wish to sell in farmers markets.  

Most new vendors are added to our market schedules in the early spring, so our Orientation Meeting takes place in April. If you are unable to attend, we will work with you to make sure you receive the training at an alternate time. 

All vendors and their staff must also read our Vendor Handbook and manager handouts, be prepared with the right equipment and signage, and have a good understanding of our programs and procedures prior to selling in our markets.  

Here is a cheat sheet version of how to be prepared for market day, which may be especially useful for training new employees.

Before your first day of sales, your Market Manager will contact you to review market-specific information regarding loading area, timing, your booth space, etc.

 

Resources for Farmers and Vendors

Insurance: liability and product liability insurance is required for all market vendors and farmers who sell anything edible. One resource listed on the WA State Farmers Market Association website is Campbell Risk Management.

Resource locator map: KCD has a resource locator website for food businesses, where you can search for commercial kitchens, cold storage, meat and poultry processors, etc. 

Rules and safety: important info regarding canopies/tents at farmers markets.  Also refer to the Vendor Handbook (referenced above) for further vendor requirements.

Farming and Farm Business Resources:

Farm King County -  a comprehensive web-based directory of farming resources that contains information relevant to starting, operating and growing a successful farm.

FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act  (see also: Standards flow chart and the Fact sheet pdf, the Farm Exemptions pdf, and helpful info about On-Farm Readiness Reviews, a free assistance program from the WSDA to help farms with the Produce Safety Rule)

WSU Small Farms Resources and Programs

WSDA Small Farm and Direct Marketing Handbook - also known as the "Green Guide," this is the essential resource for farmers who want to sell at farmers markets, covering regulations for specific products (from shellfish to body care products to ready-to-eat foods), direct marketing strategies, information on orgs. that support small-scale ag. businesses, and more.

WSDA Small Farms and Direct Marketing Website

Tilth Producers of WA State

The New Farmers Market, 2nd Edition - marketing guide designed for growers interested in selling their farm products through farmers' markets, as well as for market managers and city planners in starting, managing, and promoting a market.

Farmers Market Coalition Farm Business and Marketing Resources.

ATTRA (A National Sustainable Agriculture Assistance Program) has all kinds of resources for growers.

Farm extension locations/contacts in WA state

Organic certification in WA state

Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) is tailored for direct-market farmers producing food for their local communities. These farmers often find the Organic Certification's heavier paperwork requirements are not a good fit for their small-scale operations, so CNG enables farms to get credit for their practices while offering accountability to their customers. CNG is a private non-profit organization that's not affiliated with the USDA's National Organic Program. CNG's certification approach is based on the participatory guarantee system (PGS) model that relies on peer reviews. This model minimizes paperwork and keeps certification dues affordable

The Bread Lab at WSU

Hmong American Farmers Association

Farm Aid's Farmer Resource Network 

WAMeatUpcatalyzing collaboration and entrepreneurship along every link of the niche meat supply chain in Washington State.

Permits and Licenses for Farmers and Food Vendors:

Health Department Permits - information for farmers market vendors.  See also: Temporary Food Establishments Guidelines

Food Handlers Permit (Food Worker Card) - You are a food worker if you work with unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils, or with any surface where people put unwrapped food.  This includes farmers who are offering samples of fresh produce to shoppers (and you will need a handwash setup at your booth if you are offering samples).

Fire Department Permits - if your food business involves any type of flame or heating

WA State LCB endorsement for selling/sampling wine and beer at Farmers Markets (if your beverage contains .05% alcohol or more, you must have endorsements from the Liquor & Cannabis Board).  Note: CBD is not currently allowed as a food ingredient, under federal and state law.

City of Seattle Business License (farmers are exempt)

Washington State business license (required of all Farmers Market farmers and vendors)

Washington State Department of Agriculture licenses, permits, and registrations (includes apiary registration, egg handlers license, nursery license, etc.)

Raw milk production and sales requirements per the WSDA

Plant starts and nursery items: Licensing Requirements for the Sale of Plant Materials in WA State

Specialty Business Licenses (e.g., egg handler, nursery, alcohol, etc)

Seafood HACCP and also WSU's HACCP resources

WSDA Weights & Measures (by law all WA state businesses must register their scales for commercial use, and must only use scales that are certified NTEP/legal for trade).  Registration is annual with a WA State Business License, $10 per scale.  You can also view information on this handout from the WSDA, and this from WSFMA.

City of Seattle Food Packaging RulesThe City of Seattle requires all food service businesses to find recyclable or compostable packaging and serviceware alternatives to all disposable food service items such as containers, cups, straws, utensils, and other products.

Resources for Start-up Food Businesses:

City of Seattle Office of Economic Development - Small Business Support and Resources for Food Businesses.  "This guide clarifies the city, county, state, and federal requirements you'll face as you prepare for your first customers."  Also visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Farm King County also has a good info page for farm and food business requirements (scroll down for food business info).

Ventures: Information and Resources for start-up food businessesLa información del Ventures en español está aquí, y también sobre la cocina comercial.

21 Acres: Commercial kitchen rental for farmers to value-add. 21 Acres is a nonprofit agricultural and environmental learning center and living laboratory for green and sustainable building design. They focus on a whole system approach to solving issues around food availability, small-scale food economies, environmental preservation, and sustainability.

Street Food Vending in Seattle - info sheet and checklist

The Kitchen Door lists available shared use and commercial kitchens to rent.  One north end option: The North Seattle Commissary Kitchen is a well-equipped facility in the Maple Leaf/Lake City area, they can be contacted at [email protected] for details and pricing.  

The Governor’s Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA) has a call center, consultants, and online resources that answer questions like: “How do I start a business in Washington” or “If I’m hiring employees for the first time, what do I have to do?” or "Is workers' comp required for business owners?” or “What permits and licenses do I need?”  Visit the website for more info, including the Small Business Guide, the Regulatory Handbook and the Project Questionnaire.  

Marketing and Display Resources:

Selling Successfully at a Farmers Market (guide from UNH Coop. Ext.)

New Farmer's Guide - Cultivating Success at Farmers Markets (from the Davis FM)


Federal Benefits Programs:

WIC and Senior FMNP info and application for growers

SNAP/EBT and the USDA handbook (and our Fresh Bucks SNAP incentive program)

 

Useful journals, publications and links:

Growing for Market

Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development

Acres USA

Beginning Farmers.org

 Washington Young Farmers Coalition

 Modern Farmer

The New Farmers Almanac


Note: the internet is a wealth of information - use it to search on any topic you can think of ("how to sell at a farmers market" or "how to set up an attractive farm stall booth" or...).  As always, though, make sure you are in compliance with our rules and regulations.