Farmers markets offer a gathering space for consumers to engage directly with farm and food business vendors that grow, prepare, and sell their food and agricultural products. Vermont’s farmers markets are a fun way to engage with the community and enjoy prepared foods, music, and entertainment. They’re also a great way to facilitate relationships and personal connections that extend beyond the markets. Many farmers markets in Vermont occur during the week, others on weekends in all corners of the state in both urban and rural communities.
Vermont’s farmers markets are typically seasonal, with the majority taking place during the summer. There are approximately 60 summer markets and 15 winter farmers markets. Products offered at markets are seasonally dependent; an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables are found during the summer while storage crops, maple, dairy and meat, among other products, dominate the winter markets. May usually marks the start of most farmers’ market seasons, running until mid to late October, when the growing season winds down here in Vermont.
Farmers markets are a great way to connect directly with your local producers, access fresh local food, and often offer increased accessibility to healthy and affordable local food to all Vermonters.
Finding a Farmers Market
You can find any Vermont Farmers Market Association (VTFMA) member farmers markets in a grand list at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont’s (NOFA-VT)'s Farmers Market Directory. To narrow the list of markets to what you're seeking, search geographically for specific counties, by particular days of the week, and if a market accepts EBT or debit cards. Take advantage of many other valuable farmers’ market resources on the NOFA-VT webpage as well!
Farmers Market Regulations
VAAFM regulates multiple food products that are commonly sold or distributed at farmers markets, including red meat and poultry products, raw milk and processed dairy products, eggs, maple products, potatoes, apples and strawberries. VAAFM also regulates the small scales that many market vendors use when selling produce and other products directly to consumers. Please review the following document: State Regulations for Selling at Farmers Markets: A Guide for Market Managers and Vendors, as well as The Requirements for Selling Eggs in Vermont.
Farmers Market Audits
VAAFM may periodically conduct audits of Vermont farmers' markets to ensure products sold and devices utilized are compliant with state statute and to provide technical assistance to market managers and vendors as needed.
Any areas of noncompliance detected are communicated to the vendor(s) and market manager(s). Inspectors may also take immediate action in instances where violations detected constitute a significant public health risk to market customers.
Vendors and market managers may contact the Food Safety and Consumer Protection Division at (802) 828-2433 with questions.
Local Foods Data Tracking Program
The Local Foods Data Tracking Program is a joint effort between VAAFM and USDA-AMS (Agriculture Marketing Services) Market News Reports to collect and aggregate pricing data on a variety of fruit and vegetable crops, as well as a selection of meat and poultry products grown and sold in Vermont. VAAFM will be collecting local food pricing data from interested Vermont farmers’ markets geographically distributed across the state through the summer market season and into the winter season. Weekly updated pricing reports will be viewable on the Farmers Market Price Reporting page as well as the USDA-AMS Market News Reports.
Retail Price Comparison
In 2015, VAAFM received support from USDA Agriculture Marketing Services to track prices of local products sold at farmers’ markets. During the month of August 2015, we compared the average prices of 55 produce and protein products from 13 local farmers’ markets** and 5 retail establishments throughout Central Vermont. Pricing data was collected on local and non-local products, including: organic and non-organic produce, meat, poultry and eggs. To view the full report and the results we found, please click here.