1. How is West Side Farmers Market managed?
- WSFM is a non-profit corporation run by a board of directors, a small staff: Molly Phipps, Executive Director, a Market Manager, and a cadre of volunteers.
2. How do I apply to vend at WSFM?
- The 2021 Vendor Application is open https://forms.gle/kLT8zGYPqtYLo1S1A
3. How are vendors selected to sell at WSFM?
- Vendors will be selected to ensure a variety of products including fresh vegetables and fruits, value added products, flowers, crafts, and more. Full time vendors and returning vendors will be given priority. Vendor availability will be taken into consideration.
- We have 2 deadlines this year March 1 for full time vendors and April 1 for all other vendors. After April 1, applications will be checked weekly until May 15th. If you apply after that, please send us an email and we will review your application.
4. How do I pay my vendor fees?
- Once you are accepted as a vendor, you will be sent an invoice for your vendor fees. Vendor fees can be paid by check/money order, PayPal, cash, or credit card.
5. When are vendor fees due?
- Full time vendors who apply by March 1 must pay their vendor fees in full by April 1 to secure their spot at the market before we review other applications.
- Vendor fees for full and part time vendors are due at or before market orientation.
- Daily vendors pay vendor fees on site.
6. What certifications/licenses does WSFM require?
- WSFM requires all produce and value-added (processed) food vendors to carry liability insurance that includes the WSFM site in the policy. This can sometimes be added as a ‘rider’ on home or farm-owners insurance policies.
- Vendors who make food products in their home kitchen must provide WSFM with a copy of their MN Cottage Foods License.
- Vendors who make food products in commercial kitchens must provide documentation on their kitchen.
7. Where can I get insurance?
- The Minnesota Farmers Market Association (MFMFA) works with an insurance agent to negotiate policies for farmers and farmers markets. You need to become a member of the organization in order to access their insurance plans. You can learn more about it and fill out an application at https://www.mfma.org/page-18192 Jesse Davis of the Mn Farmers Market Association is very knowledgeable and helpful and is familiar with our market (his contact info is on the MFMA website).
8. What does a stall look like at WSFM? How are stalls assigned?
- Stalls at WSFM are 10 feet wide, line both sides of the WSFM space. You can see a site plan here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-ONwj_23zfVnJm1pvGjD6YFJYdqHw6GT/view?usp=sharing
- The market management team assigns stalls to full time vendors before the season starts at the Market Orientation sessions. Full time Vendors can give their input on stall location at the orientation sessions. Returning vendors will be given priority in selecting their stalls in order of seniority.
- Full time vendors are assigned a permanent stall location.
- Part time vendors will be placed as close to the same location as possible given the other vendors present on the days they vend. Stalls will be assigned by WSFM when vendors arrive to sell.
- Vendors paying by the day will be assigned a stall each time they participate in WSFM and have no guarantees about stall location.
9. What do I need for my stall?
- Tent, sunshade, or canopy: 10’x10’ tents range in price from $65 – $200. We’ve learned the hard way that you’re much better off investing in a high-quality, higher-priced tent (at least $100). More expensive tents are sturdier, easier to put up and take down, and last for seasons instead of weeks. Here are a few things to look for when buying a tent: ease of setup, pinch-free buttons, height of tent.
- Weights for tent: Tents need to be weighted down so they don’t blow away. You can purchase weights specifically designed for this purpose, you can use disc weights (like for bench press bars), or you can make your own by filling large containers with sand or water (5-gal buckets and kitty litter containers work well). Weights should be secured to your tent with ropes, or bungee cords, and weigh a minimum of 20 pounds per corner. Tents are like sails, and we’ve lost tents when a big gust of wind catches an unsecured tent!
- Two or more tables: to display your wares. 8’ folding tables work well. Given social distancing requirements due to COVID, we are requiring vendors to have a second table between them and the customers to ensure social distancing and to keep customers’ hands off your products. You could also use a rope or plastic barrier to encourage proper social distancing.
- Chair: Vendors should bring their own seat.
- Cash box/aprons and change: Vendors must provide their own way to collect money and tokens and must provide their own change for customers paying cash.
- Tablecloth and display: Vendors should plan on bringing materials to make their stall look appealing. This could include using a tablecloth, displaying products on boxes, in baskets, and with other attractive items to better market your product.
- Banner or sign: Customers want to know about you and get to know you, make it easy for them. Have a banner or sign with the name of your business and where it is located (city and state–a requirement by state law) Tell the customers about your practices (certified organic, organic practices, homemade, etc.) A picture of your farm and your logo (if you have one) would be great.
- Pricing signs: Clearly label what your products cost and if your pricing includes sales tax (if necessary).
- Sampling supplies and trash: Each vendor should have a trash receptacle in their stall and should have the ability to safely sample their wares.
10. What is a cottage foods license?
- A Cottage Foods license allows people to make foods in their home kitchen without a license if they take approved food-safety training and register with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The licence has a sliding scale fee depending on how much product you sell in a year. For most vendors, the fee will be zero. The Minnesota Farmers Market Association is an excellent resource on the licensure process. Find out more https://www.mfma.org/CFL
11. What can I sell at WSFM?
- Fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, that you grow yourself (or a member of your family or business grows) within a 100 mile radius of WSFM (63 W George St, St Paul, MN 55107).
- Fruits, vegetables, flowers, and plants grown within a 100 mile radius of WSFM (63 W George St, St Paul, MN 55107) you purchase wholesale from a neighbor or friend. These products need to be approved by WSFM first.
- Value added products of the farm (jams, syrups, honey, eggs, meats) produced by you or purchased wholesale that have been produced within a 100 mile radius of WSFM (63 W George St, St Paul, MN 55107). Wholesale products must be cleared by WSFM first.
- Baked goods created by you or your business in your home or in a commercial kitchen within a 100 mile radius of WSFM (63 W George St, St Paul, MN 55107) with proper licensing documentation provided to WSFM.
- Personal care goods (soaps, lotions, essential oils, etc.) you create within a 100 mile radius of WSFM (63 W George St, St Paul, MN 55107).
- Arts and crafts products you create within a 100 mile radius of WSFM (63 W George St, St Paul, MN 55107).
12. What cannot be sold at WSFM?
- Produce, plants, or flowers grown further than 100 miles from the WSFM.
- Food products made within 100, but made at a franchise or other large business.
- Vintage or resale products that you have not modified in any way.
- Products purchased at wholesale from large businesses (e.g., Young Living products, wholesale produce from large commercial farms)
13. Can I accept EBT from customers at WSFM?
- WSFM is a certified EBT market and can process EBT cards for you.
- The market gives EBT card users special tokens that they can spend on eligible items from vendors.
- You turn in these tokens at the end of each market and are reimbursed once per month for all tokens.
- If you sell EBT-eligible products, you must accept EBT tokens same as cash (except you can’t give change).
- You can read more about what SNAP dollars can and cannot be used for at the USDA’s website https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligible-food-items
14. Can I accept WIC vouchers from customers at WSFM?
- That depends. Unlike EBT, WIC must be processed by individual vendors but only if the market is a certified WIC market.
- WSFM needs 5 WIC certified vendors in order to be a WIC certified market. We have not had sufficient vendor interest in the recent past to qualify. If 5 vendors are WIC certified, we will work with you to ensure WSFM qualifies to accept WIC.
- You need to be trained by the Mn Department of Agriculture to accept WIC vouchers. For more information, call Ashley with Mn Department of Agriculture at 651-201-6648.
15. Can I accept credit card payments at WSFM?
- Yes. In addition to processing EBT cards, WSFM processes credit cards for vendors.
- WSFM runs credit cards for customers and distributes tokens that can be spent at any WSFM stall.
- Vendors turn in tokens at the end of each market and are reimbursed once per month by WSFM.
- If you have your own method of processing credit cards, you are free to use it. However, you must accept WSFM credit card tokens as well.
16. Is there an orientation session for vendors?
- Yes, each vendor is required to attend one orientation session in May. WSFM will hold one session on a weekend and one session on a weekday evening to ensure vendors can attend. This is required for new vendors.
17. Are there other WSFM rules that I need to know about?
- Yes, the WSFM vendor application describes some other rules, and others will be discussed distributed at the vendor orientation.
18. Can I get a refund on my vendor fees if I don’t complete the season?
- No, WSFM cannot refund any vendor fees.
19. Who do I contact if I have more questions?
- Please feel free to contact our leadership team at info(at)westsidefarmersmarket.net or call us at (651) 336-5456.