Selling Fruits and Vegetables To Customers By Weight

When you sell your fresh produce at the market or the produce stand you have several choices. You can sell your items pre packed in a bucket or container for a fixed price or you can sell your items by the pound. As we’ve mentioned in the past, we’re fans of selling and buying produce by weight. This way both the customer and the seller know what they are exchanging. Let’s face it we’ve all purchased something over the years that we felt like wasn’t a good deal. One example might be a bucket of strawberries that a local u-pic farm was offering. They offer it at a certain price but how many strawberries did we really get? Take a look at the info below that discusses Illinois regulations.

Selling by Weight
Commodities must be sold by net weight. The weight of the commodity must exclude any materials that are not considered to be a part of the commodity. These materials include containers, bags, labels, and wrappers. Commodities sold by weight must be weighed using a certified scale.

Scale Requirements
All scales used in commerce must have a National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) Certificate of Conformance issued by the National Conference on Weights and Measures. Scales receive an NTEP Certificate of Conformance after the successful completion of the evaluation and testing of the device.
The Certificate indicates that the device meets applicable requirements for commercial weighing and measuring equipment in the U.S. Scales must be purchased from a registered service company.


If you’re a loyal reader of our blog you understand by now that we are believers in buying NTEP Class III legal for trade scales. These scales are usually a higher quality product and are designed for accuracy and typically are built with a slightly more expensive parts list. This means that these scales usually have better load cells inside, better A/D boards, and just generally a better more solid structure.

Class III Certified Scales At The Farmers Market Are Recommended

At most farmers markets around the United States, state inspectors use calibrated weight kits to validate and certify digital scales for commercial transactions. Laws and regulations can vary from state to state but generally it is a good idea to purchase a scale that is Class III NTEP approved, legal for trade. The scale will have a Certificate of Conformance (CoC#) that should be posted somewhere on the enclosure. Of course, this is something we’ve been saying for years and years but we still see sellers every now and then trying to use some cheap scale they bought on ebay for $35.  In fact, next time you’re buying something over a digital scale like chocolate, candy, or frozen yogurt, take a look at the scale and see if you can find the CoC #.  Take a look at the article below for additional info.

At farmers markets, growers have the option to sell produce by weight. If they choose to do so, they will need to meet the South Dakota laws regarding certified scales. South Dakota Codified Law requires any device used in a commercial transaction to be an approved NTEP (National Type Evaluation Program) device, meet the requirements of the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Handbook 44, and to be certified and sealed (inspected) by the State of South Dakota Department of Weights and Measures. This includes countertop scales, typically found at farmers markets. Inspecting a scale is beneficial to both the vendor and consumer, as it ensures both parties are receiving fair and equitable treatment. For example, consumers want to feel confident they are “getting what they pay for,” while vendors need to know they are not giving away their hard earned product.

Vendors should purchase a scale with a NTEP certification. This certificate indicates that the scale demonstrated the ability to be properly calibrated and can hold calibration over time. Keep in mind that no device is perfect and must be adjusted periodically. Scales can be purchased off the Internet, from scale companies in South Dakota, or additional locations you may select. – See more at: http://igrow.org/community-development/local-foods/farmers-market-operation-certified-scales/

We should also mention that you should get your scale checked and calibrated each year. We suggest doing this in February (or whenever your “slow” time of the year is) when your weighing needs aren’t quite as intense as they are in spring and summer. At this time you should make sure your scale is accurate and purchase any accessories like spare rechargeable batteries or keypads so there are no surprises during your busy time of the season.

NTEP legal for trade Class III Definition

There are a number of questions that potential customers will often ask regarding NTEP legal for trade scales. How do I know if my scale is a NTEP legal for trade variety? Any NTEP approved scale manufactured after 1986 must be labeled Class III if it is commercial quality. It will have an identification plate with the serial number, the manufacturer’s name, a model number, maximum capacity, number of measurement divisions, CoC#, and size of the smallest measurement. Also, one other subject that is asked about is “classes” that are used in describing the legal for trade status of scales. Often you will see NTEP Legal for Trade Class III. But, what exactly is the definition of class 3? Handbook 44, the book that spells out rules and regulations for the weighing industry, separates weighing devices into five accuracy classes. Continue reading

Why should I Purchase a Scale That Is Legal-for-Trade?

To begin with, defining a commercial weighing application isn’t normally straightforward. Weighing scales move around and get employed for things beyond our control. Legally, a NTEP approved device is required whenever money changes hands based on a scale’s reading. Freight scales, for instance, should be NTEP approved and selling apples by the pound using the RS130 scale would be a legal for trade situation. Of these situations government mandates that a scale must pass tests put forth by the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP). These regulations should protect us, the consumer. But here’s something to consider. The majority of us buckle our seat belts right? We all do so because it’s smart, not just because it’s what the law states. The same goes for scales.

When you get down to business, we make use of a scale because we want to know a precise weight and trust the information we receive. When selecting a scale to weigh your bananas, or packages, or dose of medicine, can you select one that’s been tested as accurate, or one that’s never been tested at all? There may be a market for all kinds of equipment. But think about why a scale hasn’t passed the test. It probably costs less, and Continue reading

Commercial Scales for the Farmers Market Can Cost over $400

Legal for Trade Commercial scales can cost well over $400, but if you do a little research, you won’t pay near that much for a set of high quality farmers market scales.  Yes, you could get away with using a set of “household” scales, either hanging or digital, but that is ultimately not the way to establish trust and legitimacy with your customer who is buying produce from you.

Do some research and buy a legal for trade price computing scale that can be certified by the state.  In most states it is a requirement.  However, sometimes due to budget restraints and manpower, merchants get the idea that they can get away with not purchasing a legal for trade scale.  Sometimes every now and then you hear comments Continue reading

What is NTEP?

NTEP is for both Manufacturers and Consumers. NTEP, National Type Evaluation Program, is a cooperative effort between the National Conference on Weights and Measures, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, individual states in the US, and the private sector. It was created for the following purpose. Through twelve participating laboratories, NTEP evaluates the performance, operating characteristics, features and options of weighing and measuring devices against applicable standards. Essentially, it provides a one-stop evaluation process that satisfies the initial requirements for introduction of weighing and measuring devices in the U.S. Continue reading