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

Is There Still A Hanging Produce Scale For Sale That’s Certified Legal For Trade?

We usually focus on the digital retail scales that you see at the market each week but today we wanted to look at a classic scale you’ve probably seen at a produce market. You would be surprised at how often customers ask if they can still purchase a hanging scale for weighing their produce at the farmers market. Even though we now have the super fast and relatively reliable digital scales available, many customers actually ask for the proven performer with the dial that spins around to display the weight. Sometimes it actually does make a lot of sense to choose one of these classics. If you don’t want to fool around with batteries every few weeks, then a hanging dial scale might be a good choice. If your location has an overhang or tent that is easy to attach a scale to, then this might be a good idea for you.

NTEP certified hanging produce scales

Of course, if you choose to go this route, you will want to choose a NTEP certified legal for trade hanging scale like the Chatillon series. It’s also a good idea to get a scale that has the double dial so both sides can see the dial and completely agree on the weight that is listed on the scale dial. Unfortunately, if you do choose one of these scales, you will need to bring your calculator with you to calculate the price per pound.

The Chatillon Century Series hanging scale is well known for  accuracy, dependability and reliability. The Century Series feature a glass-covered 7-inch dial that reads clockwise. A double dial option is available (one dial reads clockwise, the other counter clockwise). These scales feature a corrosion-resistant band, bezel and housing and have a rugged, steel inner frame. Scale capacities are reached in two pointer revolutions.

The Centry Series are Class lll “Legal for Trade” scales. Century Series can be supplied with a CG Series scoop or the popular CAS circular pan. The CAS Pan is constructed of stainless steel. 3-inch deep round pan has drain holes. The CG Scoop is ideal for weighing loose materials. Scoop and suspension chain of galvanized construction.

How Do Commerical Scales Work?

Every so often we are asked a question about how do commercial weighing scales work? In the entry today we will briefly discuss how the scale operates. Normally a commercial scale would refer to a scale that you are going to use to sell goods or buy goods. So you are using the scale to determine the total cost of whatever it is you are buying or selling. If you sell fruit at a farmers market then you would need a commercial scale. If you are buying gold jewelry then you would typically need a commercial scale. In the example with gold you would probably use some kind of legal for trade balance since you don’t really need a super high capacity scale.

The commercial scale is typically either a mechanical hanging scale or a table top set of digital scales. If the scales are digital you can choose to have scales that just show the weight or you can upgrade and have a set of scales that can actually display the price per pound and the total charges. If your scale just shows weight, then all you have to do is place your items on the scale and it will show you the weight. Then it would be up to you to calculate how much the customer owes you. If you have a scale that can calculate the prices for you it is actually pretty simple to operate as well. You type the desired price per pound into the scale using the keypad. Then place the item on the scale. The scale will display the total charge. While we are talking about this topic we also are asked quite frequently for any used commercial scales for sale. Typically we don’t see too many of those available. Hopefully this entry answered some of your questions regarding scales that are used for commercial applications.

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

Selling fruits and vegetables by weight in Tennessee?

The article linked below gives you a general idea of what many states expect you to do regarding using certified legal for trade class III scales when it comes to selling produce at a farmers market or produce stand.  Generally, in most states anyone selling fruits and vegetables by weight to customers must use a state inspected legal for trade certified scale which has a certificate of conformance number.  Complying with the rules takes two steps.  First, the seller needs to purchase a NTEP approved legal for trade scale (our site can help you with that).  Then the legal for trade scale must be inspected and approved by your individual state.  See more info below. 

Scales must conform to National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) standards. Scales that comply with NTEP guidelines typically will be marked with the NTEP logo and the associated accuracy class which is normally “III” with produce scales. Scales marked “not legal for trade” are not acceptable for retail use in Tennessee. Scales must also comply with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Handbook 44 (H44) which mandates tolerances, specifications and other technical requirements for all weighing and measuring devices. Both NTEP and H44 requirements are national standards utilized by the vast majority of all states. See article

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