Selling Baked Goods at the Farmer's Market

Updated on January 25, 2018

Test the Waters: Give It a Try

As a novice baker, many summers ago, I decided to take my baked goods on the road. I usually bake for family and friends and was so excited to find out Virginia allows home bakers to sell their baked goodies at the Farmer's Market. WooHoooo!

Initially, I signed up for a farmer's market that cost $30 a day for a spot. Luckily, I met some awesome folks who had an extra spot at another local farmer's market that was $50 for the season. Hey, that sounded pretty good to me, and the atmosphere was more communal, just what I was looking for. So I decided on a menu of six different flavors, bought an acrylic display case to keep my goods fresh and critter-free, got a cool sign made online, and I was good to go!

Check out those key lime cupcakes on the bottom row, my fave!!!
Check out those key lime cupcakes on the bottom row, my fave!!!

How Can I Sell at the Farmer's Market?

  • First make sure you contact your local tourism bureau or farmer's market coordinator. Each city has its own rules and regulations regarding ingredients allowed, temperature control, and so on. Some states have Cottage Food Laws that allow home bakers to sell food prepared in home kitchens at certain locations.
  • You will definitely need a table. I prefer the standard six-foot foldable table found at stores like Wal-Mart and Target. A cheery tablecloth wouldn't hurt either.
  • Some farmer's markets provide an overhead canopy; others require you bring your own. Be sure to purchase a canopy that is easy to put up, because you will be putting it up every week. A bright cheery color would attract business as well.
  • My husband had a sign made online. Make sure you choose an eye-catching logo and colors.
  • We invested in an acrylic bakery display case, and I believe this was the best decision we made. It kept our cupcakes fresh and critter-free all summer long. Awesome!!
  • Come up with a menu, but be flexible. See what the folks like and go from there.
  • Lastly have fun!! Although my husband and I stayed up many nights baking cupcakes for the next morning, the feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day was unbelievable.

I tested the waters and met some pretty awesome people. Please support your local Farmer's Market. If you have a specialty, give it a go one season. I can't wait till May....

Bakery Case To Go....So Convenient!

My convenient cupcake case in use!!!  Love it!
My convenient cupcake case in use!!! Love it!

Beautify Your Space

It is very important to create a beautiful space when selling at the farmer's market. Along with a eye-catching sign, you should have a colorful, multi-level display. Chalkboard signs are all the rage, and are a simple, reusable signage choice. Be sure to label everything!!! Toss in a few baskets and pretty blooms, and you are well on your way to a booth no one will miss!

Inspiration for Your Farmer's Market Booth

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Isn't this a beautiful display?Cute table display!
Isn't this a beautiful display?
Isn't this a beautiful display? | Source
Cute table display!
Cute table display! | Source
My eye-catching sign
My eye-catching sign

My Farmer's Market Sign

I ordered my custom sign online at BuildASign.



Finding Packaging

Coming up with convenient, affordable packaging was not as hard as I thought it would be. While browsing Pinterest I found a very frugal option. I purchased clear plastic 9 oz. tumbler cups and clear cellophane treat bags. The cups fit perfectly inside the bags and only require a ribbon to close. After packaging hundreds of cupcakes this way, I have to admit it can be annoying, because you have to drop the cupcake just right to sit straight in the cup. But after you get the hang of it, it's not that bad. The cost justifies a little frustration. I truly love this packaging option despite a few crooked cupcakes.

Inspiration for my packaging option!
Inspiration for my packaging option! | Source

More Packaging Ideas for Baked Goods

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Just flip over the cup!!!  Why didn't I think of this?!Package cupcakes in mason jars!  Great option when mailing your baked goods!This DIY gobelet box is a great idea!!
Just flip over the cup!!!  Why didn't I think of this?!
Just flip over the cup!!! Why didn't I think of this?! | Source
Package cupcakes in mason jars!  Great option when mailing your baked goods!
Package cupcakes in mason jars! Great option when mailing your baked goods! | Source
This DIY gobelet box is a great idea!!
This DIY gobelet box is a great idea!! | Source

Poll

What is your favorite thing to purchase at the Farmer's Market?

See results

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Melissa 2 weeks ago

        Hi Inda, I'm thinking about selling my gluten free, vegan baked goods at our local Farmer's Market. Are you still selling at your market? Is the profit enough to justify the work? I'm trying to figure out all of the expenses and details - in the brainstorming stage! :)

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        Amanda Walters 2 weeks ago

        Did you have to get a permit from the Health Dept. or anything?

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        Judy 3 weeks ago

        To keep baked goods with fillings or frosting that shouldn't be in the heat, use freezer blocks in your acrylic case.

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        Aj 7 weeks ago

        Really liked the ideas!

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        Iva 2 months ago

        I’m wondering how to keep baked goods with frosting from melting in the Summer heat? Did you ever run into this problem without refrigeration?

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        cheldilocks 5 months ago

        You inspire me..I'm also a novice baker (youtube learner) and I'm just starting to love baking seriously as I own my time as a stay at home mom.I also want to sell my goodies on the market..thank you for sharing your ideas and experience..i learned alot and having the urge to go live my dream..thank you..

        May God bless you

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        Sandi 6 months ago

        Love the ideas!

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        Debbie Conkle 12 months ago

        Curious as to where you bought your acrylic display case, and would it fit Jumbo size muffins and cupcakes?

      • indanila profile image
        Author

        Inda Blackwell 13 months ago from Hampton Roads

        You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

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        Sue 13 months ago

        Thanks so much for the useful information.

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        Emilee 13 months ago

        Where did you get the acrylic display case? I'm looking for something similar but they are all pretty expensive.

      • indanila profile image
        Author

        Inda Blackwell 13 months ago from Hampton Roads

        You can definitely make money selling baked goods at the farmer's market! Personally I love to do it for exposure and testing out new recipes.

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        glenda 13 months ago

        You didn't say if you made any money doing this?

      • profile image

        LaTasha 19 months ago

        Hi, Inda! Thank you so much for your response. Hopefully, the City of Suffolk will get on board soon. I wish you continued success with your business. Take Care!

      • indanila profile image
        Author

        Inda Blackwell 19 months ago from Hampton Roads

        Hello Latasha! Unfortunately if you live in Suffolk you can not bake from home. You can get licensed and approved to use your home as an office and bake from another location (family members home in another city, rent a space with a culinary incubator etc.) with the cottage food law. Hopefully things will change soon.

      • profile image

        LaTasha 19 months ago

        Hi Inda, I live in Suffolk also and I would like to start a home based bakery. I love your blogs and websites, and I have been inspired to start one of my passions. Did you have to obtain a zoning permit to bake from home, because it seems really difficult in the city of Suffolk?

      • indanila profile image
        Author

        Inda Blackwell 20 months ago from Hampton Roads

        Hello Joe! On really hot mornings I suggest using a cooler. I actually missed a few markets because it was just too hot. I also prepared other pastries on those days.

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        Joe 20 months ago

        Did you have any problems with frosting holding up on hot summer mornings?

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        Lisa 22 months ago

        Hi, I was curious how you kept your frosting from running in the summer? Love the information and case!

      • indanila profile image
        Author

        Inda Blackwell 22 months ago from Hampton Roads

        Hello Linda! Initially, I brought about 72 individual cupcakes. I brought a few more every week depending on how well I did the week before. Good luck! Thanks for stopping by!

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        Linda 22 months ago

        Hi, I was wondering how many cupcakes you baked for one day of selling?

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        luv2bake 2 years ago

        Wow!! Thanks so much for all the great ideas! This was very helpful and Ill recommend to friends! Thanks!

      • indanila profile image
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        Inda Blackwell 2 years ago from Hampton Roads

        Hello Kristin! Thanks for letting me know. I will be sure to link and credit the photo. My apologies!

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        Katie A 2 years ago

        Kristin how did you package those cupcakes? Im having a bake sale to help support my mom with her cancer treatments and im trying to figure out how to package everything individually

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        KristinNESW 2 years ago

        Hi,

        Please credit your sources for the photography. The image of the cupcakes in cups with the polka dot table cloth is from my company The Cupcakerie located in Rhode Island. 6 years ago, it took me a long time how to figure out how to package cupcakes for farmers markets and would appreciate credit. https://www.facebook.com/The-Cupcakerie-8126639070...

        Thank you!

        Kristin

      • indanila profile image
        Author

        Inda Blackwell 6 years ago from Hampton Roads

        Sounds interesting thanks for the heads up. Keep up the good work with your hubs!!

      • TandJ profile image

        TandJ 6 years ago

        If you ever get into it further look up Mel bartholomew the inventor of square root gardening. Less space, less seed, less water, and less time than traditional row gardens.

      • indanila profile image
        Author

        Inda Blackwell 6 years ago from Hampton Roads

        Thanks TandJ Good Luck to you on your future endeavors in Horticulture. I too am looking forward to purchasing a home to start growing a massive garden. Thanks for stopping by!!!

      • TandJ profile image

        TandJ 6 years ago

        I plan on growing for the farmers market as soon as I can find a house. I heard the people that make the most money are the baked good stands. So awesome that you're thinking local. Hope to read more!

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