Farmers Market Safety Tips for Food Vendors
As you get ready for your next farmers market, you should be aware of some of the risks you face on the job, and how you can prevent them. From cleanliness to maintenance procedures to farmers market insurance, here are a few tips on how you can protect yourself:
1. Wash Your Produce Regardless of Where You Bought It, and Maintain Its Cleanliness
Make sure every item of product you sell has been thoroughly washed. It doesn’t matter if it was grown on your property or elsewhere, organic and pesticide-free or not—if you’re selling it, make sure it’s as clean as possible as close to the time it’s sold as possible.
Pay attention to the state of your produce throughout the day. While food may have been clean when you set up shop in the morning, it’s been exposed to people, germs, dust, and insects throughout the day. Keep supplies on hand to make sure your food stays clean. This will help you avoid claims from customers that your food made them sick.
2. Educate Yourself On Your Produce
These days, selling “tomatoes” likely won’t be enough for many customers. As consumers become more educated on the food they buy, you need to become educated about the food you sell.
In particular, you need to know what, if anything, your product has been treated with. Is your product organic, GMO-and-pesticide free, or not? Where did the food come from? These are all questions you’ll likely need to answer on the spot, so prepare yourself beforehand.
3. Set Reminders to Check Your Refrigerator
Both at home and at the farmers market, you need to be checking in on your equipment regularly. If you have a fridge, icebox, or some other sort of cooler with you, check it regularly to make sure it’s still keeping your food chilled. Check at the beginning of the day and periodically throughout. You don’t want to be trying to sell produce that should have been kept cold all day, only to find out that your fridge kicked the bucket three hours earlier.
4. Implement a Process for Storing Your Food After Farmers Markets
We get it. At the end of a long day, the last thing you want to do is more work. However, putting in a bit more time to make sure everything is stored properly will pay off for you in the long run.
As you clean up and restock your food after a farmers market, it helps to have a process already in place to make sure you don’t give a half-hearted or haphazard effort. That can happen to the best of us, so having a system like this to finish your day can help you avoid some common errors.
5. Purchase Farmers Market Insurance
As careful as you are and as expertly as you handle your food, there’s no way to completely evade the possibility of an accident occurring on the job. One of the best ways you can protect yourself here is to be prepared with farmers market insurance.
Liability insurance can protect you if a claim is filed against you. For example, if a client claims your food made them sick, or if someone trips over a cord at your booth, you could end up on the receiving end of a lawsuit. Defense costs alone can be extreme—most lawyers charge between $100-$400 per hour—and that’s nothing compared to what you may be required to pay if you are found liable.
Food Liability Insurance Program