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Farmer's Markets are held regularly throughout Montana, with support from MDA and others.

Farmer's markets play a valuable role in promoting healthy communities in Montana. While shoppers enjoy the freshness and taste of locally grown foods, and vendors capture more of the value of their products from direct sales to their customers, money is circulated through the local economy.

Use the tabs below for additional resources for farmer's market managers and vendors. For additional assistance, contact us.

See below for the interactive map and our online 2016 Farmer's Market Guide flipbook, or download the 2017 Montana Farmer's Market Directory & Map.

There are also great market listings available on the Montana Department of Commerce VisitMT.com site and the Abundant Montana Directory.

 

National & Montana Farmer's Market Facts

Growth of Montana Farmers Markets.

Direct marketing of farm products through farmer's markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. Farmer's markets, now an integral part in the urban/farm linkage, have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm. The number of farmer's markets nationally grows every year, and this growth clearly indicates that farmer's markets are meeting the needs of a growing number of farmer's with small- to medium-sized operations.

Number of Montana farmer's markets: 71

Estimated 2013 revenue at Montana farmer's markets: $1.8 million

Who benefits from Farmer's Markets?

  • Small farm operators: Those with less than $250,000 in annual receipts who work and manage their own operations meet this definition (94 percent of all farms).
  • Farmers and consumers: Farmers have direct access to markets to supplement farm income. Consumers have access to locally grown, farm-fresh produce and the opportunity to personally interact with the farmer who grows the produce.
  • The community: Many urban communities where fresh, nutritious foods are scarce gain easy access to food. Farmer's markets also help to promote nutrition education, wholesome eating habits, and better food preparation, as well as boosting the community's economy.

More National Farmer's Markets Facts

The following programs may be able to provide funding assistance for farmer's market activities:

Promoting Your Farmer's Market

To list your market on this website, contact the Montana Department of Agriculture.

Each year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designates a National Farmer's Market Week. The next Farmer's Market Week will take place in summer 2017.

This activity book was prepared by the USDA to help children learn about and enjoy farmers markets: Having Fun at Your Local Farmer's Market Coloring Book (pdf format).

Below are many resources for those interested in starting up a farmers market or for current farmer's market masters looking for assistance.

Farmer's Market Startup Manuals

Resource Guides for Farmers Market Masters

Vendor Resource Guides

Supplemental Nutrition Cards & Coupons

A growing number of farmer's markets accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps, and the Farmer's Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons available to eligible seniors and women with infants. For a list of the Montana farmer's markets that accept EBT cards, WIC and senior nutrition program coupons, ask the market manager or check the Montana Farmer's Markets Directory (pdf format).

Farmers Market Nutrition Programs

The Farmer's Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is associated with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, also know as WIC, which provides supplemental foods and education to low-income mothers and infants. Eligible WIC participants receive FMNP coupons in addition to their regular WIC food assistance. Coupons are used to buy fresh, unprocessed, locally grown fruits and vegetables from farmers, farmers markets and roadside stands that have been approved by the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services to accept FMNP coupons.

For additional information about accepting coupons, see the links below or contact the WIC Manager, Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services, (406) 444-5533 or 800-433-4298.

Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program

The Senior Farmer's Market Nutrition Program awards grants to states and Indian tribal governments to provide coupons that can be used by seniors to buy eligible foods at farmer's markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs. State departments of agriculture, aging, health and tribal governments administering the grants develop partnerships with farmers markets to expand service to seniors and distribute benefits to low-income seniors. Transportation to sites is sometimes available.

Farmer's Market Frequently Asked Questions

A: Potentially hazardous foods require licensing before selling at farmers markets. These foods include cut melon, raw seed sprouts, garlic in oil preserves, a food of animal origin that is raw or heated, and a food of plant origin that is heat-treated. Contact your local county sanitarian for more information on licensing requirements.

A: In general, vendors do not need a special license if they are selling raw and unprocessed farm products such as fruits and vegetables, baked goods, or fruit preserves. To learn more about health and safety regulations applying to farmer's markets, contact your county sanitarian.

A: Any products that include processing of the vegetables (canning, cooking, preserving, peeling, dicing, cutting, etc.) must be approved through the county sanitarian and licensed by the State Health Department before being sold to the public.

A: Baked goods that are NOT potentially hazardous foods subject to spoilage (breads, pastries, cookies, etc.) may be sold at farmer's markets without a license. Baked goods that require refrigeration (cream pies, cream filled pastries, cheesecakes, custard pies, etc.) are considered potentially hazardous and may NOT be sold at farmer's markets. With any questions, contact your county sanitarian.

A: Meat sellers who have processed their meat in a state inspected facility must then apply to the county sanitarian for a retail meat market license. Additional licensing may be required by the Montana Department of Livestock's Meat & Poultry Inspection Bureau depending on the situation, (406) 444-5202

A: Eggs are required to be kept under refrigeration at 45 degrees or cooler, and cannot be sold in reused cartons. Vendors are encouraged to contact their county sanitarian and the Montana Department of Livestock's Milk & Egg Inspection Bureau, (406) 444-2043.

A: A license is not required to sell fruit or berry jams, jellies, compotes, fruit butters, fruit syrups, marmalades, or similar products at farmer's markets. With any questions, contact your county sanitarian.

A: To claim products as "organic," the products must have been grown and handled according to national organic standards. Most operations' products must be "certified" organic before organic claims can be made. Contact the Montana Department of Agriculture's Organic Certification Program with questions, (406) 444-3730.

A: If vendors are selling products by weight, the scales used must be licensed and inspected annually by the Bureau of Weights & Measures, (406) 841-2240.

 

Montana Farmer's Market Map

 

2017 Montana Farmer's Market Guide Online Flipbook

 

Farmers Market News

Requesting Specialty Crop Block Grant Applications

Over $1 million in funding available for Montana agriculture, proposals due by Feb. 15, 2018

Requesting Specialty Crop Block Grant Applications

Helena, Mont. - The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now accepting applications for an estimated $1.2 million in federal funding available through the Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) program. This competitive grant program is designed to expand markets for Montana specialty crops.

MDA hiring Marketing Intern for May - August 2018

Work will focus on the Grown in Montana Store at the Great Falls State Fair, The Montana Food Show in Bozeman, and the Capitol Square Farmers Market in Helena

MDA hiring Marketing Intern for May - August 2018

Helena, Mont. –We are looking for a marketing intern from May-August 2018. S/He will work on the Grown in Montana Store at the Great Falls State Fair, The Montana Food Show in Bozeman, and the Capitol Square Farmers Market in Helena. Candidates can be current or former college students and/or adults with appropriate skills who are seeking experience working in agricultural marketing.

Click here for the full job posting on the State of Montana jobs website.

 

Public Meeting Notice: Montana Organic Commodity Advisory Council (MOCAC), Wednesday, December 6th

The Montana Organic Commodity Advisory Council will meet at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, December 6th in Great Falls

Public Meeting Notice: Montana Organic Commodity Advisory Council (MOCAC), Wednesday, December 6th

Helena, Mont. – The Montana Organic Commodity Advisory Council will meet at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, December 6th in Great Falls at the Celtic Cowboy (116 1st Ave. S.). The council will informally meet for dinner at 6:00 pm, and the public is invited to attend at their own expense. Click here to download the agenda for the meeting.

The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries.

Steph Hystad
Business Development Specialist

Phone : (406) 444-5425
E-mail : SHystad@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9442

 

Farmers Market Files

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