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

  • How much of each baked good should I bake?

    It really depends. You may want to ask some of the market regulars what the weekly turnout is and go from there.

  • Did you have to apply tax when selling your bake goods at the farmers market?

    Yes, I do apply tax.

  • Is there a fee to pay to sell baked goods at a farmers market?

    Yes, there is usually a fee.

Comments

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    • indanila profile imageAUTHOR

      Inda Blackwell 

      2 months ago from Hampton Roads

      Hello! You can purchase 2" round labels at walmart or an office supply store. I purchase the Avery brand and print my own labels. I have heard great reviews about the companies "Labelin" and "Vistaprint" as well, if you prefer to outsource.

    • profile image

      ChristiCoffey 

      2 months ago

      Hi,

      How did you make (or where did you order maybe?) the round labels for your cupcakes?

    • indanila profile imageAUTHOR

      Inda Blackwell 

      4 months ago from Hampton Roads

      Hello! I use the 9 oz. Clear Solo brand cups. Hope this helps!

    • profile image

      Joanne 

      4 months ago

      Hi Inda....I was wondering what size paper cup you use for your cupcakes. I find it difficult to find the taller sized ones.

    • indanila profile imageAUTHOR

      Inda Blackwell 

      4 months ago from Hampton Roads

      There are a few options. You can keep most of your cupcakes in a cooler. I did this on really hot days. You can also use freezer packs conveniently placed in the corners of your display case. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Melissa 

      5 months 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! :)

    • profile image

      Amanda Walters 

      5 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Judy 

      5 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Aj 

      6 months ago

      Really liked the ideas!

    • profile image

      Iva 

      7 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?

    • profile image

      cheldilocks 

      10 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

    • profile image

      Sandi 

      11 months ago

      Love the ideas!

    • profile image

      Debbie Conkle 

      17 months ago

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

    • indanila profile imageAUTHOR

      Inda Blackwell 

      18 months ago from Hampton Roads

      You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      Sue 

      18 months ago

      Thanks so much for the useful information.

    • profile image

      Emilee 

      18 months ago

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

    • indanila profile imageAUTHOR

      Inda Blackwell 

      18 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.

    • profile image

      glenda 

      18 months ago

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

    • profile image

      LaTasha 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Inda Blackwell 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Inda Blackwell 

      2 years 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.

    • profile image

      Joe 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Lisa 

      2 years ago

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

    • indanila profile imageAUTHOR

      Inda Blackwell 

      2 years 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!

    • profile image

      Linda 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      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 imageAUTHOR

      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!

    • profile image

      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

    • profile image

      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 imageAUTHOR

      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 imageAUTHOR

      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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