As the popularity of farmers markets grows in Kansas, the number of vendors is expected to grow. Not only do consumers benefit from having fresh, locally grown produce available, vendors have an opportunity to either add value to an already established farm or business, or start their own from scratch.
In order to make sure the market remains safe and profitable for everyone involved, the Kansas Department of Agriculture and Kansas State Research and Extension released in January a report by Londa Nwadike, Ph.D., Food Safety for Kansas Farmers Market Vendors: Regulations and Best Practices is available online and can be accessed here: http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/MF3138.pdf
While selling vegetables straight from the garden is the bulk of farmers market sales, value added products are popular too. Proper licensing is required in order to sell:
*Home canned pickles, meats, vegetables and sauerkraut.
*Home baked potentially hazardous foods (includes cream or meringue pies, custards, cheesecakes, cream-filled cupcakes or donuts, cream cheese-based frostings or fillings, etc.).
*Home-made dairy products, like cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
*Uninspected meat or poultry.
But there are plenty of other value added foods that do not require licensing, provided regulatory requirements are followed. Dry baking mixes , home canned fruit jams and jellies, shelf-stable canned foods that are naturally high in acid, like tomatoes, homemade hard candies and fresh or dried cultivated mushrooms are just a sampling.
Information on how to meet licensing requirements, an overview of regulatory requirements, and general information on labeling and food safety are provided.
In Barton County, two farmers markets operate from May through October. One is held three times a week at the public library parking lot. From June through September, the Summer Street Stroll includes a market at Jack Kilby Square on Thursday nights.