Workshops geared to help vendors preparing to sell products at farmers markets

SPRING HILL, Tenn. — Farmers and other vendors who sell products at farmers markets will have an opportunity to learn how to increase sales, improve customer relationships and navigate business tax rules at six Farmers Market Boot Camp workshops across Tennessee in February and March 2014. These workshops will be taught by specialists from University of Tennessee Extension and Tennessee Department of Agriculture and are open to all farmers markets vendors.

“Farmers who are interested in manufacturing a value-added food, such as jams, jellies, pickles, and sauces and selling them at a farmers market can learn about the regulatory roadmap for making these safely at the Farmers Market Boot Camp workshops,” says Faith Critzer, a food safety specialist with UT Extension. “It is hard to know how to get started when you’re new to it all, but we will discuss the various categories different foods fit into and what you will need to do to manufacture them.”

The workshops are conducted by the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture and will be held in Memphis (Feb. 24), Dyersburg (Feb. 25), Dickson (Feb. 26), Fayetteville (March 4), Chattanooga (March 5) and Harriman (March 6). Each workshop will cover the same materials and will last from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. local time.

The workshops will cover the following topics:


     ●  Get on Board—How to Increase Sales with Electronic Payments and SNAP. 

●  Calling All Cooks—Food Manufacturing With a Domestic Food Permit.

●  Are You Covered? Be Informed About Liability Risk.

●  Calling All Cooks—Food Manufacturing in a Commercial Kitchen.

●  Catch Your Customers’ Eye With a Great Booth Display.

●  Keep the Wolves at Bay—Know the Rules About Business Tax.

●  A Grower’s Perspective: Helping Customers Get What They Want at the Farmers Market.

●  Guidelines for Sampling Produce at the Farmers Market.


Workshop participants will learn how to take credit/debit cards with a smart phone or tablet and expand their customer base by accepting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. Rules for making non-potentially hazardous foods in a domestic kitchen and regulations for making acidified and formulated acid foods as well as rules for labeling will be discussed. Insurance applications and limitations related to liability risk from food-borne illness will also be covered.

In addition, participants will learn about creating effective booth displays and signage and when a business license is needed. Farmers market vendors will learn how to safely provide samples of their products for customers, and Ray Tyler, a producer in Selmer, will share his insights into connecting with customers.

Preregister to attend the workshops by contacting Nancy Austin at or at 865-974-7717. There is no cost to attend, but preregistration is required at least five days prior to the workshop. Due to space limitations, registration is limited to 40 participants in some locations.

This workshop qualifies as one course toward the educational requirements to receive a 50 percent Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) cost share for ONLY: Fruits & Vegetables and Value-Added diversification sectors. For additional information regarding educational programs for TAEP credit, please contact Erica Alexander at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, 615-837-5344.

For more information about the workshop locations and directions, visit the Center for Profitable Agriculture website: and click on the link for “educational events.”

The Center for Profitable Agriculture is a cooperative effort between UT Extension and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the UT Institute of Agriculture.  With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state.  In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.



Hal Pepper, Center for Profitable Agriculture, 931-486-2777,