New Vendor FAQs
1) How do I become a vendor?
The application process itself is pretty straightforward:
1) Submit an application;
2) Once approved, pay fee;
3) Come to market and sell your product.
There are a lot of considerations along the way, though, and a lot of rules from a lot of different directions.
2) I have this great product. Can I sell it at the La Plata Farmers Market?
Check the "Allowable Products" section in the Market Rules. Generally, the more involved you are in the production process, the higher the chances are that you can sell your product at our market. Some products cannot be sold at our market at all, and others require a permit, license, or specific packaging and labeling according the county, state, or federal guidelines. Even if it meets the product guidelines, however, there may be too many other vendors already selling a similar product. In that case, your application still may not be approved.
3) What's the difference between a daily permit and a seasonal permit?
A daily permit is good for one market day only. A seasonal permit is valid for the entirety of the market season (April - November). Either way, approval of your permit is not guaranteed. Availability of space and product balance may mean your application will not be approved. You must also be in good standing with the Town of La Plata.
4) I've never been a vendor at the La Plata Farmers Market before. Can I be a seasonal vendor this year?
New vendors must attend as daily vendors for two market days in a row before they are eligible to apply as a seasonal vendor. Consider this part of your research and development, like a test run. You'll want to get a feeling for the market, and the Market Committee will want to see you in action. You may also find that the time commitment is more than you thought, or that you need to adjust your production volume.
5) If I'm approved as a seasonal vendor, will the fees for those two daily permits be deducted from the seasonal fee?
6) If I start later in the season, will my fee be prorated? Or if I'm approved as a seasonal vendor but can't finish the season, will I get a prorated refund?
In either case, no.
7) Once I'm approved as a vendor, can I sell other products?
You are approved to sell the product(s) on your Vendor Permit application. Any changes would need to be approved by the Market Committee, and would still need to meet the "Allowable Products" guidelines.
8) How can I increase my chances of being approved as a vendor?
Do your homework. Check the Resources page to see if your product requires a license, permit, or any specific packaging or labeling for sale to the public.
Visit the Market before you apply. Talk with the vendors. See what products are already there. Look at it from the point of view of a vendor instead of a visitor.
Set up some kind of internet presence (business Facebook page, Instagram profile, or webpage) where the Market Committee will be able to see your product.
Talk with Kelly Phipps, the Market Manager, about what you're considering. To set up a time, send email to email@example.com, private message via Facebook (@LaPlataFarmersMarket), or use the Let's Chat! box in the bottom right corner.
9) What's Maryland Market Money?
Maryland Market Money (MMM) is a statewide food access program that feeds Marylanders and supports farmers through farmers markets. MMM removes economic barriers for Marylanders experiencing food-insecurity, providing a dollar-for-dollar match for purchases made using nutrition benefits (SNAP, WIC, FMNP, Senior FMNP) at Maryland farmers markets. MMM helps shoppers by lowering economic barriers to healthy foods; farmers by improving their economic viability; and markets by increasing their customer base.
All vendors with SNAP-eligible products are required to participate in the Maryland Market Money program.
10) How do I know if I have SNAP-eligible products?
SNAP-eligible products are defined by the US Department of Agriculture here.
11) I'm ready to apply. What do I do?
Complete the Vendor Permit Application. Attach any permits or licenses required (if any).
Send your application and permits/licenses via email to firstname.lastname@example.org . If you have an internet/social media presence, be sure to include that information, or include photos of the product(s) you intend to sell.
If you can't email your application, contact the Market Manager to set up a meeting.
Submit your application directly to the Market Manager ONLY.
12) I still have questions. How do I get them answered?
Contact Kelly Phipps, the Market Manager.
Private message via Facebook @LaPlataFarmersMarket
If you prefer to talk by phone, please include your telephone number and a good day/time to call.