The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Farmers Market Requirement

Aprea's picture
Aprea

Farmers Market Requirement

Does anyone else have a problem with breads that are sold at farmers markets being required to be sold in covered plastic bags?  My area is finally catching up with the times with farmers markets sprouting up across town.  


Friends have been trying to encourage me to sell my sourdough baguettes at one of the markets.  Although I could use the opportunity, I do not want to sell bread wrapped in plastic bags - it is like making the farmers sell their vegeys in plastic bags -condensation would spoil it!  In the case of the bread, it would ruin the crispness and freshness of the crust.


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

The rule is probably mandated by your state's health department and/or statutes for sanitary reasons.


I know the breads I've seen at the outdoor markets are all bagged.  I don't have a problem with that since one can always wash veggies, but you can't wash bread.


Check with the manager of the market to see if you can place your breads in paper bags - and if you need any special permits from the health department to sell baked goods to the public.


 

flournwater's picture
flournwater

You might also find that displaying a few loaves on a counter (wrapped) adjacent to a "taste test" display is enough to drum up business.  You might then be able to hold the loaves that you intend to sell in a container, unwrapped, "behind the counter" and package them up for each individual purchase.

Pjacobs's picture
Pjacobs

Anna M. I've found that if I allow the loaves to cool completely (1 hour to 90 Minutes, I do not have a condesation problem. You might want to give it a try.


Phil Jacobs

Aprea's picture
Aprea

It is not just the condensation thing - but ideally fresh baked bread is most appetizing in a paper type bag.  When I look at the displays of bread wrapped in plastic - it is a turnoff.  Plastic definitely softens the crust.  I use it to freeze bread - but when I thaw it I remove the plastic while it is still frozen.  Soft crust breads are different like challah or raisin - but that is not what I want to sell.  I want to sell earthy breads with no ingredients except flour, water, and salt.  These laws are designed to protect the public - but sometimes they unnecessarily stifle the artisan food creator.


 I was thinking about petrifying a whole bunch of loaves and putting them in a basket on the table - if people want to buy then I pull them from a large container with a paper bag - then put it into the shopping bag of choice.  

LindyD's picture
LindyD


Can one cook or prepare food at home to sell to the public?
Preparation of food for sale to the public must be in a facility in which there is complete separation of living quarters from food preparation facilities. The food preparation facility must be adequately equipped and fully satisfy all food facility requirements of Chapter 500, F.S., and section 5K-4, F.A.C.



I wouldn't worry about bags so much at this point as getting the applicable permits in place.


Florida law defines markets selling fruits and veggies as food outlets.  500.03, FL Statutes.

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

It all depends on your state's requirements. Here in MN the breads have to be wrapped PLUS we are required to have a canopy. I have seen plexiglas display cases at the market in Madison, WI where the breads are not wrapped but then placed in bags after purchase.

Aprea's picture
Aprea

in my opinion.  A table full of plastic wrapped baked goods outside in the humidity does not lend to impulse buying.  A basket full of fresh baguettes on the otherhand does. 


Regarding the commercial kitchen issue that Lindy brought up - that is a hassle too, but one that I could embark on if I knew I could display it in an appealing way.


I will probably have to continue to bake strictly for friends and family.  Thank you for your thoughts.

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

Again- check with your state. Here you don't need a commercial kitchen if you sell less than $5000.00 of something in a season.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I got some plastic bags from Mark Sinclair at Back Home Bakery that have small micro cuts in them. It allows you to put the bread in the bag while still warm and to some extent helps release the moisture and keep the bread fresh. Also keeps the bugs out. I don't know the source but I'm sure Mark would tell you if you asked. They were not expensive and seem to do the job.


Eric

Baker007's picture
Baker007

We don't have those requirements here (Australia). Most are out in the open. One of the stalls uses a large plastic display case - perhaps you could look into this option.


You'd still be able to display your breads and then place into a bag after purchase.


 


Lauren

gcook17's picture
gcook17

Can you take the loaves to the market unbagged and then bag each one as it sells?

BanachTarski's picture
BanachTarski

You're using plastic bags and using twist ties/ zipper bags to close them, yeah?  Can you leave them open to allow condensation to escape, then close them as they are sold?

ksax72's picture
ksax72

I sell strictly at farmers markets right now in Jacksonville, Fl. There is not a requirement by law to sell in plastic or paper, but the market itself regulates what is considered a food vendor vs a food artist. I fall under the artist category so I package every thing for consumption "off site". I understand your concern about placing crusty bread breads in plastic, and you can find paper bread bags at the local resturant depot. Personally i place all my breads in plastic the morning of the market. We are under a canopy all day so the bread is not in the sun, getting hot and sweaty, and I find it holds up just fine for the day since it is only 6 hours. If you want to know more about licensing or permits so you can sell at a market, please send me a message and I can give you a lot of information specific to our area.

Alpine's picture
Alpine

I do two farmers markets in Oregon each week. The Oregon Dept of Agriculture demands full data sheets on ALL FM vendors; this includes vendors selling such unlicensed items as art, cut flowers, potted plants, etc.

Why? The secondary reason is to enforce health standards; the PRIMARY reason is to collect current and back income taxes from FM vendors.

The States and Feds intend to nail vendors for everything they can get for years of unpaid taxes. In Oregon, the ODA is contracted by the FDA to enforce federal FDA standards; all FDA vendor info is cross-referenced with State and Federal tax collectors.

When the FM organizers in my city complained the ODA was outside their juristiction requiring non-food, no license required vendors to register with the State and Feds, they were threatened with major crackdowns effectively ending FMs entirely.

I have little doubt flea market organizers are now required to keep data sheets on vendors to "combat the sale of stolen goods" (read: collect taxes).

It's all about money...period.

Aprea's picture
Aprea

So how do the authorities monitor your activity?  It sounds very cumbersome to me.  Do you spend a lot of time with these data sheets?  What percentage of your time do you have to deal with that?  What kind of info do they require?  Ingredients?  recipes?  


The regulators have made it impossible for the little guy - 


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I thought you ran a bakery.  You must have one heck of a work schedule!

Alpine's picture
Alpine

I do, but selling bread is as important as baking bread. At least I only have to work 1 hour on Sundays.

I also drive a delivery truck and stock shelves when required. I sometimes only make as much as my lowest paid employees. But, I get to invent new breads and put them into production...that's priceless.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

You're right.  The small business is the backbone of this country.  

rainwater's picture
rainwater

Watch the movie "Food Inc.".  It's about the political assassination of our food supply.  Monsanto and the Drug companies have total control over our FDA with their trillion dollar businesses.  They don't want the little artisanal guy to have a break, or the small organic farmer to get ahead.  Also.....we have become too obsessed with germs.  All this packaging nonsense.......especially at a farmer's market.  I shop in the open markets in Eastern Europe.....milk from the farm is poured from one container into another....often used plastic bottles.  Bread is often not packaged at all...until you buy it...then it goes in your bag that you bring, or you pay extra for a plastic bag.  Since the big chemical companies haven't gained total control, their produce is tastier, more seasonal, and cheaper.  If someone makes something at home and sells it....so be it.......and people there don't suffer any more illness than we do....probably less!   .........the whole food chain thing upsets me......we've lost our small farmer......our heirloom varieties with more flavor........and just about outlawed raw milk products, which are more available in other countries.  ......and they want to put your bread in a plastic bag!   What kind of environmental statement does that send????

Aprea's picture
Aprea

I agree wholeheartedly - that is the primary reason why I want to do the farmers market - so people can know what good food is again - I had a checkout  lady in the Publix supermarket tell me the other nite that she never had french bread before - politics aside - we need to do what we can to reverse these trends - by sharing our knowledge and supporting the smalltime food producers..  That is one of the benefit of the internet for right now.


 

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

Our market started out last August. We are still  small but are becoming known around the state as one of the good markets to go to. We are open year round and meet indoors in the winter months. We offer free educational classes during the year ranging from nutrition from fresh unadulterated foods, to food preservation so that people can store what they buy, to how to build a high tunnel. Customers are anxious for our classes to begin again. Every week I have been increasing my baked goods line and every week I am selling out earlier than the week before. I am at a point of really needing a second oven and a clone.


Some of our best market days have been those of horrible weather. This past winter one of our days fell on a day with a temperature of 25 degrees below zero. There were only a handful of us ( crazy) vendors inside the building but we sold out. The local customers are about 90% senior citizens but they said that they wouldn't miss the market as they were becoming dependant on the foods that we sell at the market. I am still amazed at those people who came out in that nasty weather, canes in hand, to buy eggs, baked goods, meats and winter vegetables. We took a count last weekend of customers at our market. WE had over 300 people which is more than the population of the tiny town we have our market in. We also gave back to the community by holding a cookie walk before Christmas and donating the money we made back to some needy families and to the volunteer fire department. I guess that my point here is that local farmers' markets can bring much more to a community then a large corporation ever could. We are bringing a dying town back to life with our market as people who stop at our market also stop at the few local stores that are left in the town to purchase things that we don't have at our market. We are not only growing a business, but we are growing a community as well.

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

If I'm too late in posting this I apologize.


You actually have options, depending upon how much you're willing to spend.


I'm guessing you know that there are plastic bags with perforations that won't make the crust soft.  They are ugly though, so I understand your reluctance to use them.


I have also seen bags that are mostly paper, but which have a long strip of perforated plastic that runs down the middle of the bag.  If you place a crusty loaf in there, you can close the end of the bag, staple it shut to show there's been no tampering, and I think you'll meet code.  I'm pretty sure that these are a comparatively expensive option, but they are attractive when compared to those flimsy all-plastic perforated bags.


Obviously you should check with your local inspectors and let them see a photo and catalog description of any bag just to be certain they won't second-guess you later.  If the place you're buying them from will offer you a sample or two, you could provide an example of what the wrapped product will look like to your inspecting agency.


I found a link here where you can see an example of what I'm talking about.  I'm not necessarily recommending the vendor, as I have no experience with them:


http://www.mrtakeoutbags.com/store/2nmf3025pw.html


http://www.mrtakeoutbags.com/store/bakery_bags.html?gclid=COrb9Zrh_ZsCFQRM5QodxlO_AA


--Dan DiMuzio

Aprea's picture
Aprea

I will check these out - great site.  This is much more attractive than buying something in plastic - I never would wrap a freshly baked baguette in plastic at home and I wouldn't want to sell/buy one like that either.