More Farmers Market Rules and Regulations To Read About

Most of the information posted below is pretty standard but we thought it would be nice to bring it to our readers attention just in case. Especially, those of you up in Maine. You can see the entire brochure by clicking here.

7. “Legal For Trade Scales for Use at Farm Stands and Farmer’s Markets” means labeled as Class II or Class III, National Type Evaluation(NTEP) certified, small division size, operates at a higher level of accuracy than a
non-legal for trade device.
9. “Net Weight” means the weight of a commodity excluding the weight of any material, substance or item not a part of the commodity (i.e.: containers, bags, wrappers, labels).
10. “Non-Legal For Trade Scales” means not certified by the Maine State Sealer of Weights and Measures, not NTEP certified, not designed to operate at commercial tolerance levels, only used for estimating purposes.

G. WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
1. The weight of any commodity packaged with a pre-determined weight printed on the label must meet or exceed the labeled quantity.
2. Products sold in bulk by weight must be weighed using a ME certified scales.
3. Weight of products sold in bulk must be the Net Weight.
4. Scales used at point of sale must be positioned so the weight readout can be seen from a reasonable customer location.

As we mentioned, it’s pretty standard info but it’s always nice to read additional regulations which will hopefully help sellers at the market to know what the regulations are and allow them to make the correct purchases in order to follow the proper guidelines.

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.

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.

Calibrating Your Retail Produce Weigher

RE15USUsually about this time of the year many customers start thinking about last minute preparations as they get ready to sell at the market. One of the often forgotten items is making sure your scale is still weighing accurately. Often the digital scale is just used at the market each week and then placed over in the corner of the utility room until you need it next spring.  So it is usually a good idea to take your scale out and make sure it is working correctly. You might place a few items on the scale and make sure the weights are consistent. Also enter a few prices using the keypad to make sure all your number buttons are working correctly on the keypad. That is assuming you have a price computing scale with full keypad. If you just have a retail scale with a couple of buttons, make sure those buttons work. For example the “tare” button can be tested to make sure it works.

If anything is not working properly, be sure to call your local scale company and make an appointment for a scale repair and calibration. The reason we suggest calling ahead relates to several issues. Often a scale company has technicians but they are out on job sites, so you could show up and have to wait or leave your scale by dropping it off. Also if you have any issues with your scale, call ahead and mention that and perhaps the scale dealer has some spare load cells or keypads in stock for your particular item.

Hopefully this advice makes sense and can save you some time and money for the 2013 season at the farmers market or produce stand.

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.

Scale Certification

Every now and then we get asked about rules and regulations when it comes to selling fruits and vegetables to customers. The general rule of thumb is if you’re selling by weight, then you should use a scale that is legal for trade and has been checked by your state inspector. Here is a link below that basically backs up that assumption.

Vendors selling by weight must provide their own certified scales. Regarding scale certification, any vendor selling products across a scale must have a scale that is legal for trade and certified by the Bureau of Weights & Measures, NH Dept. of Agriculture, Markets & Food.

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.

Farmer’s Market Weighing

We hear these questions below all the time.

1. Does anyone know what/if there are regulations for what type of scale
     a produce vendor uses at farmers markets?
2. Do other farmers have their scales certified by a state
      Weights and Measures department?
3. Is digital better than an old mechanical hanging dial scale?

If you’re curious or new to the farmer’s market or produce stand business and need a legal for trade scale for weighing  apples, potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, strawberries, squash and more; scroll down because we have answers to many of your questions.

First up regulations and certifications. Check with your state weights and measures standards department for the specific requirements (you should Continue reading