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Farmers Markets are held regularly throughout Montana, with support from MDA and others.

Farmers 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 farmers market managers and vendors. For additional assistance, contact us.

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

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

  • Market
    Facts
  • Financial
    Assistance
  • Publications
    & Resources
  • SNAP, WIC
    & Senior Coupons
  • FAQ
     

National & Montana Farmers Market Facts

Growth of Montana Farmers Markets.

Direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. Farmers 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 farmers markets nationally grows every year, and this growth clearly indicates that farmers markets are meeting the needs of a growing number of farmers with small- to medium-sized operations.

Number of Montana farmers markets: 71

Estimated 2013 revenue at Montana farmers markets: $1.8 million

Who benefits from Farmers 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. Farmers markets also help to promote nutrition education, wholesome eating habits, and better food preparation, as well as boosting the community's economy.

More National Farmers Markets Facts

The following programs may be able to provide funding assistance for farmers market activities:

Promoting Your Farmers 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 Farmers Market Week. The next Farmers 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 Farmers Market Coloring Book (pdf format).

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

Farmers Market Startup Manuals

Resource Guides for Farmers Market Masters

  • Farmers Market Marketing & Beyond
  • Montana Produce Availability Chart (PDF 54 KB)
  • Farmers Markets, Enriching Communities Across Montana from AERO
  • Guide to Uniformity & Value Comparison (PDF 35 KB)
  • from Montana Weights & Measures
  • Guide to Use of Weighing Devices (PDF 28 KB)
  • from Montana Weights & Measures
  • A Guide to Accepting Food Stamps at Farmers Markets - a publication from USDA
  • Electronic Benefit Transfer Card Start-up Manual - a publication from NCAT
  • Also refer to the SNAP, WIC & Senior Coupons tab for information on acceptance of Food Stamps, WIC & Senior Coupons
  • Vendor Resource Guides

  • The Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing - from Drake Agricultural Law Center
  • Selling at Farmers Markets - a guide from growingformarket.com
  • Understanding Farmers Market Rules - an educational piece by Farmers Legal Action Group, Inc.
  • Western Profiles of Innovative Agricultural Marketing - Examples from Direct Farm Marketing and Agri-Tourism Enterprises - A publication from Western Extension Marketing Committee
  • Supplemental Nutrition Cards & Coupons

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

    Farmers Market Nutrition Programs

    The Farmers 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 Farmers 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 farmers 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.

    Farmers 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 farmers 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 farmers 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 farmers 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 farmers 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.

    Click on dots, showing market location, to see market details for each location.

    View Larger Map

    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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