Have you ever gone to a farmers’ market and thought, ‘I’d like to do that.’? Here’s a beginner’s guide to setting up a market stall in Ireland.
Farmers’ markets in Ireland have created a growth sector, proving popular with consumers looking for additive-free (often organic) produce. From a farmer’s or producer’s perspective, the benefits are numerous. You can:
- Sell your product direct to the public with no middle man.
- Test your ideas out while enjoying low overheads and low risks.
- Increase turnover, again with a reasonably low impact on your pocket.
- have control over your pricing.
- Build your brand and increase customer loyalty.
How can I set up a stall?
Farmers’ markets are springing up all over the country, so it shouldn’t be a problem to find one near you. Visit Ireland Markets or Bord Bia for a full list. However, there are still a few more steps you should consider before setting up shop at a market.
- Chat to a trader
Due to the nature of their business, traders at markets tend to be an approachable bunch. Have a chat with a couple and pick their brains about what’s involved.
- Get the gear
Before opening for business, you’ll need to purchase, rent or borrow the various bits of equipment involved, such as a table, scales, bags, displays, cleaning materials and so on. Probably the most important item to get is your stall. You’ll need to decide between a pop-up gazebo, a market canopy/umbrella, or a mobile trailer.
- Get insured
Three types of insurance typically apply to market traders in Ireland. These are: (a) public liability (cover in case someone injures themselves interacting with your stall); (b) product liability (cover in case a consumer makes a claim, based on consuming your produce) and; (c) employer’s liability (protection in case someone you employ becomes injured while working for you).
- Register with your EHO
Before selling fresh food at a market, you will need to register with your local Environmental Health Officer as a food business. The EHO will advise you on what’s required to make sure your kitchen and equipment are in compliance with health regulations.
- Get a license
If the market is taking place on municipal land (a space looked after by a town, city or county council), you’ll have to approach the local authority for a casual trading license. It will want to see a current certificate of Public Liability Insurance, and that the details contained match your application.
If you are trading at a privately run event, it is (ordinarily) not necessary to apply for a casual trading license.
- Be safe
You must, of course, be compliant with all health and safety requirements. When selling food at a farmers’ market, the responsibility is with you to ensure your products are safe, and your stall is hygienic. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is the government body that looks after all of this. There’s an advice line on 1890 336677 and some very handy downloadable guides.
Some markets for inspiration
Ireland has some excellent farmers’ markets. Here are six top markets to visit for inspiration.
When: Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. 10am – 6pm.
What: Probably best known for its picturesque setting, Howth’s harbour market has also given locals and tourists much to be happy about, boasting an array of organic food, baked goods, hand-made jewellery and more. First started in 2005, the market has five permanent units outside of the primary market at the weekend.
Set up a stall. Here.
Abbeyfeale Farmers’ Market
When: Friday from 9am – 1.30pm
What: Located in the Square in Abbeyfeale, this market is the only one in Limerick to have been awarded the ‘Code of Good Practice Standard’ by Bord Bia in 2011. Take a chance on the nettle soup or support the local adult education centre by checking out one of its craft fairs.
Set up a stall: Email email@example.com or call 087 686 6450.
Boyle Origins Farmers’ Market
When: Saturdays from 10am – 2pm
What: Located within the historic surroundings of Boyle’s King House, visitors can enjoy a selection of locally produced goods – from gluten and wheat free bread to fresh fish and organic foods – while enjoying the grounds of this charming Georgian mansion.
Set up a stall: Una Bhan Tourism; call 071 966 3033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mahon Point Farmers’ Market
When: Thursdays from 9.30am – 1.30pm
What: Cork’s Mahon Point doesn’t have the same scenic advantages as some of those on our list. The market nonetheless distinguishes itself with its varied offering. It has won multiple awards such as the ‘Bridgestone Guide – Best Farmers’ Market 2015′.
Set up a stall: Here.
Dungarvan Farmers’ Market
When: Thursdays from 9.30am – 2pm
What: First opened in 2005, the ‘Dungarvan’ has developed a reputation as one of the finest farmer’s markets in Munster. Best known for its fresh fish. In recent times, the market has begun offering things like gluten free baking and local, organic lamb.
Set up a stall: Contact Siobhan La Touche at email@example.com.
Longford Farmers’ Market
When: Fridays from 9am – 2pm
What: Not to be left out, Longford’s farmers’ market has been building a real name for itself in the Midlands. Sugar-free jam is a local speciality.
Set up a stall: Call 086 604 7060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images from Shutterstock. ⊕