HAE

Farmers' markets are a locations or events where local farmers sell their goods to the public. In addition to produce, you may find other products like honey, cheese, eggs, and meat at a farmers' market, each from vendors occupying a stall or booth. The Larimer County Food Safety Program works with the market managers and conducts inspections during the market season to ensure food safety and licensing requirements are met.

Cottage Food Requirements

2021 COVID Operating Guidelines-CFMA

Vendor Guidelines for Farmer’s Markets

The following procedures and guidelines apply to vendors operating at Farmers’ Markets in Larimer County.  Farmer’s Markets are considered special or temporary events if they are community markets where no admission fees are charged. Requirements for vendors are based upon the nature and extent of a vendor’s menu, equipment capacities, setup and the ability to handle and prepare food in a safe manner and to protect against public health hazards. 

Health Department Approval and Licensing Requirements

Not all vendors selling food at a Farmer’s Markets are required to obtain formal Health Department approval or hold a license.  Please read the following information carefully. 

  • Vendors selling whole un-cut produce – No formal Health Department approval or licensing is required.
  • Vendors selling cottage foods only – No formal Health Department approval or licensing is required.  Vendors must operate in conformance with Colorado’s Cottage Food Act (25-4-1614 CRS).  For specifics as to what foods can and cannot be sold and packaging and labeling requirements please visit the CPDHE website here
  • Vendors selling brewed coffee, tea, kombucha, beverages that do not include fresh produce or ice – No formal Health Department approval or licensing is required.
  • Vendors selling individually prepackaged foods that are prepared by a commercial food manufacturing facility or restaurant and do not require refrigeration or hot holding for food safety– No formal Health Department approval or licensing is required. 
  • Must operate from an approved commissary that is within 60 minutes or 60 miles of the market. Vendors must provide a written commissary agreement with their vendor application.
  • Food handling and preparation at the market must be limited to the service of pre-prepared baked goods, candy, jerky, dry roasted coffee or tea, dry pasta, or ice cream or vendors may conduct minor or limited preparation that is restricted to the service of cotton candy, popcorn, kettle corn, roasted nuts, snow cones, or shaved ice. 
  • To allow workers to wash their hands, a hand washing station must be provided within the food booth. A hand washing station that consists of a covered container filled with warm water, at least 5 gallons in size, fitted with a spigot capable of providing 'hands-free' continuous flowing water, a covered 5 gallon catch bucket for the collection of hand washing waste water, hand soap and dispensed hand towels. Containers with push button type spigots are not approved. Use of hand sanitizers is not a replacement for required hand washing.
  • Extra utensils such as tongs, spoons, knives, and cutting boards must be provided so soiled items can be changed out. All soiled utensils and equipment must be washed and sanitized at the end of the business day at the commissary kitchen. On-site ware washing in tubs, dish pans or buckets is not allowed.
  • Foods, utensils, equipment and single-use items must be protected from weather, dust, dirt, insects and customer contamination. Store items off the ground. Food display and assembly areas within the food booth need to be protected from customer contact and contamination. 
  • Sanitizer solutions must have chlorine residual of 50-100 or 200 ppm quaternary ammonia. Provide a test kit for checking and verifying sanitizing concentrations. 
  • A sufficient quantity of water must be provided to fill and refill hand washing stations and sanitizer buckets. Check with the market coordinator to see if potable water is available, if not vendors will need to bring extra water.
  • All liquid waste from hand washing and sanitizer buckets must be collected and disposed of in a sanitary sewer. Check with the market coordinator to see if a waste water disposal station is available, if not vendors need to take waste water back to the commissary kitchen for disposal. Waste water is not to be dumped onto the ground or into storm water drains.
  • Pet animals are not allowed inside the food booth.
  • Vendors selling only prepackage foods requiring temperature control such as frozen beef, bison or poultry or hot foods such as burritos or tamales are allowed to store and sell product from freezers, hard sided coolers or Cambro hot holding boxes that maintain the food frozen, less than 41°F or above 135°F. Thermometers must be provided in holding units so temperatures can be monitored.   
  • Vendors with full service operations that conduct cooking or reheat unpackaged foods for hot holding or for immediate service, or assemble orders such as making sandwiches or prepare and serve items that include uncooked produce such as fresh squeezed and blended drinks are allowed to operate with an approved temporary event set up consisting of folding tables, outdoor cooking equipment, tents and other amenities or can operate from a licensed mobile food truck/trailer or cart, provided they operate under the conditions outlined in the Rules and Regulations and within the conditions of approval at the time the mobile food truck/trailer.     
  • Vendors must obtain and hold a current Special Event Retail Food Establishment license issued by Larimer County Health Department or hold a current Retail Food Establishment license issued by Larimer County Health Department or another local Health Department. To obtain a Special Event Retail Food Establishment license from Larimer County a vendor must submit a Farmers’ Market Vendor Application to the Health Department with required fees.  
  • Vendors must operate from an approved commissary that is within 60 minutes or 60 miles of the market. Vendors must provide a written commissary agreement with their vendor application. 
  • Preparation of food at the market site is to be limited to the service of pre-prepared foods, simple assembly of prepared foods or cook and serve only. Advanced, multi-step food preparation that includes cooking and cooling or complex assembly, is to be conducted in the operation’s commissary kitchen. 
  • Produce used at the market site must be pre-washed in the commissary kitchen. Washed produce must be placed into clean food grade containers. Storage of washed produce, such as lemons, potatoes, or apples, in cardboard boxes is not allowed.  Except for a single cut or slice to pre-washed potatoes, lemons, limes, oranges and apples, all slicing, chopping, peeling, dicing, shredding, and mixing must be done at the commissary kitchen. 
  • Foods requiring temperature control must be maintained at safe temperatures, below 41°F or above 135°F. Foods must be transported to the market below 41°F or above 135°F. 
  • Foods are not to be left out at room temperature even if frozen. Equipment capable of holding food at safe temperatures, and in sufficient numbers, must be provided for transport, storage and service of food items. No cooling of hot foods is to be conducted on site. Hot food leftover at the end of the business day is to be discarded. Use of Sterno for hot holding, and Styrofoam coolers is not allowed.
  • A food thermometer for checking and verifying food is at safe temperatures must be provided. A simple digital food thermometer with a range of at least 0°F to 220°F should be used. 
  • To allow workers to wash their hands, a hand washing sink must be provided within the mobile food truck/trailer or on the cart. Vendors operating with a temporary event set up must have a hand washing station that consists of a covered container filled with warm water, at least 5 gallons in size, fitted with a spigot capable of providing 'hands-free' continuous flowing water, a covered 5 gallon catch bucket for the collection of hand washing waste water, hand soap and dispensed hand towels. Containers with push button type spigots are not approved. Hand washing sinks must be supplied with both hot and cold running water dispensed through a combination faucet, dispensed hand towel and hand soap.  Use of hand sanitizers is not a replacement for required hand washing.
  • Extra utensils such as tongs, spoons, knives, and cutting boards must be provided so soiled items can be changed out every 4 hours. All soiled utensils and equipment must be washed and sanitized at the end of the business day at the commissary kitchen. 
  • Foods, utensils, equipment and single-use items must be protected from weather, dust, dirt, insects and customer contamination. All foods, utensils and paper goods must be transported in clean, covered containers. Hard sided coolers, used by carts, must be equipped with drains so packaged food and beverages can be stored in drained ice.
  • Sanitizer solutions must have chlorine residual of 50-100 or 200 ppm quaternary ammonia. Provide a test kit for checking and verifying sanitizing concentrations. 
  • Vendors with full service operations must hold a current food safety managers certification.  A copy of the certification must be on site.

Vendors requiring Health Department approval and licensing must submit Vendor Applications prior to operating. Vendors wanting to operate multiple booths or points of sale must complete an application for each. Vendor applications must be submitted to Larimer County Department of Health and Environment with the required license fee(s) 14 days prior to the event.

Vendors not required to obtain Health Department approval or to hold a license do not need to submit a Farmer’s Market Vendor Application to the Health Department. Service of free, bite size samples of food products is allowed without Health Department approval.  

If you have any questions concerning these requirements, please contact the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment for assistance.