Additional Information for Vendors

Definition of vendor types at the Kent Farmers Market:
(Information from the King County Health Department)

  • Beverages
Coffee, with powdered creamer or ultra-high pasteurized half and half in individual servings (does not include any espresso beverages)
    • Tea, with powdered creamer or ultra-high pasteurized half and half in individual servings
    • Commercially made high acid beverages (orange juice, lemonade, limeade, apple juice – 4.6 pH or less)
    • Non-potentially hazardous beverages sold in open, single service containers without ice (soda pop, high acid beverages made from commercial mix, mineral water, alcoholic beverages, etc.)
  • Popcorn with butter and/or shake-on toppings, all types
  • Commercially made caramel apples
  • Cotton Candy
  • Nuts (in the shell)
  • Commercially prepared and packaged frozen confections, sold packaged in individual servings
  • Commercially made non-potentially hazardous baked goods and candies requiring no food preparation except limited portioning and serving (cake, donuts, cookies, bulk candy, fudge), including non-potentially hazardous commercially made toppings, such as jams, and commercially prepared cream cheese
  • Non-potentially hazardous baked goods made at home by community organizations, not for profit
  • Whole uncut fruit
  • Whole uncut vegetables, excluding sprouts
  • Commercially dried fruits or vegetables
  • Open containers of commercially prepared honey, jams, jellies, non-potentially hazardous salad dressings made from commercial mixes, condiments, non-potentially hazardous sauces, and salsa, either served in single service cups or as a spread on an exempt food item (cracker, bread, etc.)
  • Dried herbs/spices, including bulk and/or packaging
  • Nachos made with commercially canned cheese sauce


  • “Ice” drinks with non-potentially hazardous ingredients (snow cones, shaved ice, slushies, slurpies, fruit granitas, Italian ice, sorbets, etc.) in single service or commercially made “edible” containers
  • Precooked sausages including Hot dogs, as defined by USDA
  • Corn dogs, commercially prepared or hand dipped from commercial prepared mix
  • Root beer floats, ice cream in commercially prepared single service bars or pre-dipped in approved facility
  • Corn on the cob
  • Caramel apples made by vendor
  • Chocolate dipped ice cream bars/fruit, dipped in booth, commercially prepared single service bars
  • Cut fruit or vegetables, except melons
  • Cookies baked on-site from commercially prepared, frozen dough
  • Popcorn with syrup flavorings, and Kettle Korn
  • Pretzels
  • Pancakes, waffle, donuts, funnel cakes, elephant ears made from commercial mixes, non-potentially hazardous fillings, toppings, condiments
  • Fresh squeezed/prepared high acid beverages
  • Strawberry (or other berry) shortcake, commercially prepared ingredients (whipped cream from cans only)
  • Commercially prepackaged of Frappuccino
  • Farmer processed cheeses from WSDA, USDA, or FDA facilities
  • Espresso Coffee drinks
  • Deep fries Twinkies
  • Roasted shelled nuts with salt, sugar, cinnamon, etc. toppings that are non-potentially hazardous
  • Roasted Peppers
  • Churros (commercially prepared dough with non hazardous toppings to include canned whipped cream)

Definitions of Types of Foods Served at Farmers’ Markets

  • Commercially prepared and packaged: These are non-potentially hazardous foods that may be sold without a permit. They do not need to meet any food code requirements, as long as they are sold in their original packaged form (examples: canned pop, wrapped cookies, bagged chips).
  • Commercially prepared means food prepared in a commercial kitchen site approved by US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and/or Public Health – Seattle & King County. Home canned products are not allowed. For further information in Seattle-King County, contact your district Health Department office; for information from WSDA, call Denise Curette at 360-902-1876.
  • Vendors selling commercially prepared and packaged food must still meet the requirements for dishwashing and hand-washing, etc.
  • Commercially packaged dairy products may be sold in intact cartons kept under appropriate temperature control. This includes milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc. A vendor may take orders either at the market or at the dairy during the week and have it available for pickup at the market. The vendor must keep a log sheet of the order. Raw milk products must be properly labeled and have appropriated warnings.
  • Properly labeled eggs kept under temperature control may be sold. Contact Washington State Department of Agriculture for proper labeling requirements. If ice is used for cold holding, eggs may not come in contact with the ice or melted water.
  • Meat, poultry, rabbit, or seafood may be allowed with restrictions and if public health concerns are met. Contact the Alder Square MPRAF compliance officer for more information at 206-296-4708.
  • Bulk Foods: Foods sold in bulk, like coffee beans, dried beans, lentils, granola, whole grains, dried fruit, etc., may be sold bulk if hand-washing is available. If the foods are self-serve, utensils must be available for the public to use.
  • Sampling: Sampling may take place provided the vendor has hand-washing in the booth, protects the samples from contamination, and provides the samples with single service utensils such as toothpicks. Potentially hazardous foods can be sampled as long as they are kept in the correct hot or cold temperature zone, and utensils are used. Disposable serving utensils like toothpicks are to be used for the public. The server’s utensils need to be changed or cleaned at least once every two hours in appropriate dishwashing facilities. Permits will be dependent on the type of food sampled. A coordinator may obtain a permit to provide a demo booth for the whole market, and will then be responsible for meeting all the permit requirements.
  • Temporary Full Food Service Permits: These can be obtained if the vendor meets the temporary permit guidelines. Contact your local Public Health – Seattle & King County for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions for Selling at the Farmers’ Market

Q. I want to sell food in a farmers’ market. Are there foods I can sell for which I don’t have to have a temporary permit from the Health Department?

A. Yes! If you have “commercially prepared and packaged, non-potentially hazardous foods” you are exempt from the code. That’s a “legal” term for foods that are made in a kitchen approved by FDA, USDA, WSDA, &/or PHS&KC, then wrapped in that kitchen, opened only by the buyer, and don’t require refrigeration. This includes foods like wrapped bread and commercially canned foods such as salad dressing or bottled fruit juice. Farmers selling produce or other farm products they have grown but have not been processed in any way (cut, turned into jams, etc.) are also exempt from the code.

Q. What if I want to sell something simple like baked goods, hot dogs, and pop?

A. There are lots of foods you can sell that don’t require a permit, but do require that you have certain facilities like hand-washing, or cold and/or hot holding equipment. Foods that require facilities for hand-washing only are those unwrapped but at low risk for causing foodborne illness, such as baked goods, whole produce, and beverages like coffee and tea. Hand-washing facilities in your booth means having warm water, soap, and paper towels. You may use a picnic jug with a spigot and a bucket underneath to catch the wastewater. In addition to hand-washing, higher risk foods, like hot dogs, do require the booth plan be reviewed and a “plan review” fee paid, but a permit is not required. In order to prevent foodborne illness, we need to be certain that hands will be washed, and foods will be kept hot and/or cold enough. Whether you need a permit or not, we do stop by your booth, and are required to close your operation if the safe food regulations are not being followed.

Q. I want to sell packaged dairy products like cheese and yogurt. What do I need to do?

A. You will need a temporary permit, and a way to keep the products below 45° F.

Q. I am thinking of fixing foods like salads, ribs, and maybe egg rolls. I’ll make them at the market. Can I do that?

A. To prepare and cook foods at the market, you will need a permit. The more extensive the preparation, the more safe food handling facilities you will need. The PH-SKC will limit the amount of cooking you do if we determine there is a too great a risk for foodborne illness. Any preparation must be done in a kitchen licensed by PH-SKC before coming to the market. If you buy supplies ahead, you must store them in an approved kitchen, not at home. We do not allow any home made foods. Any food left at the end of the day must be thrown away. Ask the market coordinator for a permit application.

Q. Are there other things I need to know?

A. If you are selling (or giving away) food that needs a permit, you need to get your application into the PH-SKC office at least 14 days before you plan to begin operating. You will have to pay a late fee if the application is received within 14 days of operation. However, be advised that if you get your application in after the 14 day limit, and/or the foods are considered high risk, you may not be given the permit on your time schedule. The Health Department needs adequate time to work with you to assure that safe food handling processes are in place. If you are selling unwrapped foods, you will need a Food Worker Card. This card is needed whether or not you need a permit for your booth. To get your card you need to take a short class and pass a written test. For more information on where, when and how to get your Food Worker Card, call the Hotline (206) 296-4791.