What is the Best Way to Sell Fruits and Vegetables at the Farmers Market?

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t get excited just thinking about sampling all the fresh fruits, vegetables, tasty ready-to-eat foods, crafts, and more at your local farmers market?  The majority of Markets are open during this time of the year. Have you ever wondered what does the Department of Agriculture require of me in order to be a vendor at my local farmers market? What kind of scale do I need? Will someone test my scale? Is it ok to sell my produce by the head, bunch or count? These are just a few of the questions that your local Measurement Standards Division can assist you with. Below is some information from the state of Oregon.

SCALE REQUIREMENTS
What type of devices can be used commercially?
Oregon regulations require all commercially used weighing equipment to have an active National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) Certificate of Conformance.

How can I find out which scales have an active NTEP certificate?
You can contact the scale company or check the NTEP database online.

 

Commodity Method of Sale
Apples Weight, count, or dry measure in units of 1 peck, 1/2 bushel, or 1 bushel
Apricots Weight
Artichokes Weight or count
Asparagus Weight or bunch
Avocados Count
Bananas Weight
Beans Weight or dry measure in units of 1 peck, 1/2 bushel, or 1 bushel
Beets Weight or bunch
Berries (all) Weight or dry measure in units of 1/2 dry pint, 1 dry pint, or 1 dry quart
Broccoli Weight or bunch
Brussel sprouts Weight
Cabbage Weight or count
Cantaloupes Weight or count
Carrots Weight or bunch
Cauliflower Weight or bunch
Celery Weight or count
Cherries Weight or dry measure in units of 1/2 dry pint, 1 dry pint, or 1 dry quart
Coconuts Weight or count
Corn on the cob Count
Cranberries Weight or dry measure in units of 1/2 dry pint, 1 dry pint, or 1 dry quart
Cucumbers Weight or count
Currants Weight or dry measure in units of 1/2 dry pint, 1 dry pint, or 1 dry quart
Dates Weight
Eggplant Weight or count
Escarole Weight or count
Figs Weight
Garlic Weight or count
Grapefruits Weight or count
Grapes Weight
Greens (all) Weight
Kale Weight
Kohlrabi Weight
Leeks Weight
Lemons Weight or count
Lettuce Weight or count
Limes Weight or count
Mangoes Weight or count
Melons (whole) Weight or count
Melons (cut or pieces) Weight
Mushrooms Weight or dry measure in units of 1/2 dry pint, 1 dry pint, or 1 dry quart
Nectarines Weight or count
Okra Weight
Onions (spring or green) Weight or bunch
Onions (dry) Weight
Oranges Weight or count
Papaya Weight or count
Parsley Weight or bunch
Parsnips Weight
Peaches Weight, count, or dry measure in units of 1 peck, 1/2 bushel, or 1 bushel
Pears Weight, count, or dry measure in units of 1 peck, 1/2 bushel, or 1 bushel
Peas Weight
Peppers Weight or count
Persimmons Weight or count
Plums Weight or dry measure in units of 1 peck, 1/2 bushel, or 1 bushel
Pineapples Weight or count
Pomegranates Weight or count
Potatoes (Irish or sweet) Weight
Prunes Weight
Pumpkins Weight or count
Radishes Weight or count
Rhubarb Weight
Rutabagas Weight
Spinach Weight or bunch
Tangerines Weight or count
Tomatoes Weight, count, or dry measure in units of 1 peck, 1/2 bushel, or 1 bushel
Tomatoes (cherry) Weight or dry measure in units of 1/2 dry pint, 1 dry pint, or 1 dry quart
Turnips Weight or bunch


We hope this article above helps you not only figure out what scale you need for selling at the farmers market but also what are some of the recommended ways (weight, count, bunch etc..) to sell your produce and vegetables. Of course we’re biased on this site because we think weight is the best choice and it probably is, in most cases with a few exceptions.

Legal for Trade Scale Requirements

Quite often many customers purchase new digital scales or they have their current scale calibrated or certified. These are typically scales they can use at places like the farmer’s market to sell their produce by the pound. Basically any device used where items are bought or sold by weight is normally required by most state’s laws to be inspected and certified each year. This would include a counter top digital scale at a farmer’s market (or mechanical hanging scale) that is used to weigh produce that customers want to buy. Of course, inspecting a retail scale is an advantage to both the farmer and the customer. As you can see below it’s important to have accurate and legal weighing equipment.

 Keep in mind the article was for South Dakota, so be sure to check with your state department of agriculture or weights and measures to see what your state’s rules are. The author of the article also said if you do not want to purchase a certified scale then you must sell your items by the bag, piece, or bunch — or in pint or quart containers. This is not the selling method I would recommend. These days customers are counting every penny and want to know exactly what they’re paying for. Your customers want to know exactly how much they’re buying and likewise how much it costs. Even if you chose to not use a certified scale at the market, you still might want to check weigh some of the bags or buckets to make sure that you and the customer are getting the correct portions versus profits.

Of course we’ve discussed this topic before on this site but if you are buying or selling your items based on weight, you want to make sure that you purchase a scale that has NTEP approval with a certificate of conformance number.  The CoC# should be on the side of the scale in most cases.

Rules And Regulations To Know

The past few weeks we’ve been trying to provide some background information regarding the rules and regulations at farmers markets. The main point we wanted to make is to contact your local market to make sure you are following their rules. Not just regarding the scales but everything else as well. Here is another example of rules regarding scales at the market.

Weights and Measures: All vendors must comply with the North Carolina Statutes governing the weight and measurement of produce and other items sold. All scales must be approved as “Legal For Trade”. Anyone using scales must have them certified by the NCDA. For certification of a scale, contact the NCDA Standards Division.

China Electronic Price Computing Scales

It is kind of fun to look through our different software programs that we use to see exactly what folks are searching for when they visit our site. We see many of the standard terms like price computing scales with printer and legal for trade price computing scales. But we also see a lot of other words and phrases that you might not necessarily think of with our site. As you know this site is completely centered around retail scales and specifically what are price computing scales used for.  Of course over the years we have gone over all kinds of subjects like what we think makes the best price computing scale and how to use these scales too. We’ve also showed you what some of the key features are when it comes to our wide selection of scales that calculate price per ounce. We have noticed a lot of people searching for price computing scales china and our hunch is that you might be looking to find one direct from China or perhaps something else. We highly recommend that you stay away from the really cheap scales that calculate price per pound. There are several reasons. First they are probably not going to be easy to use or easy to understand since the manual is probably going to be written in chinese or some type of hybrid chinese – english. Secondly and most importantly the scale is more than likely not going to be NTEP approved. We also call this legal for trade. If the scale isn’t NTEP legal for trade then you really shouldn’t use it in a commercial setting. In the majority of states, you need a NTEP legal for trade scale to use in a commercial setting and if you get caught using a non-ntep scale, the state inspector could shut you down until you get a certified scale.

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