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Farmers Market
A photo of a farmers market

A farmers market is a location where producers congregate to offer fresh fruits and vegetables and other food items for sale.

Are all participants at a farmers market exempt from a retail license?

No, the exemption to a retail license is based upon the types of foods being offered for sale by the participant at the farmers market and whether the operator (organizer) of the farmers market has registered with the ODA Division of Food Safety.

What types of foods may the farmers market participant offer for sale and still be exempt from retail licensing?

A person at a farmers market that offers for sale only one or more of the following:

  • Fresh unprocessed fruits or vegetables
  • Maple syrup from an exempt producer, sorghum, or honey [properly labeled]  
  • Properly labeled products of a cottage food production operation
  • Commercially prepackaged food that is not potentially hazardous, on the condition that the food is contained in displays, the total space of which equals less than one hundred cubic feet on the premises where the person conducts business at the farmers’ market.

Is a participant at a farmers market prohibited from offering other foods for sale such as poultry or eggs?

No. However, the participant at a farmers market must be inspected by the ODA Division of Meat Inspection for poultry, ODA Food Safety for eggs and licensed by the local health department to sell at the market.

 Is a participant at a farmers market that is listed in the Ohio Farmers Market Directory exempt from retail licensing?

Not necessarily. The exemption from the retail license is based upon the types of foods being offered for sale by the participants at the farmers market. The Ohio Farmers Market Directory is a state directory of farmers markets. Some of the participants at the farmers market may be exempt based upon the foods being offered for sale, while other participants may not be exempt.

If a participant at a farmers market  is NOT exempt, how are they regulated?

A participant at a farmers market that is not exempt because of the types of food they are selling is licensed and regulated by the local health department that has jurisdiction.

Who regulates the exempt participants at farmers markets?

The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food Safety inspects participants at farmers markets that are exempt from the retail license.

How does a farmers market register with the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food Safety?

A farmers market operator (organizer) can fill out the Farmers Market Registration Form and email it to: foodsafety@agri.ohio.gov. The individual participant at a farmers market does not need to register.