Appendix B: Recommended Equipment List

While every farmers’ market is unique and you will want to develop your own list of essential equipment to have on hand, this list provides a sampling of items that veteran farmers’ market managers have found useful to have on hand.

  • 10 foot by 10 foot pop-up tent. You should have a tent available to set up your own informational booth, or to lend to a farmer or vendor who might forgetten their own. Overhead canopies are required by county environmental health departments for all food sales. In addition, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) recommends access to shade for employees to cool down for at least five minutes for every hour they are working outside.
  • Folding table. 6-foot rectangular tables with folding legs tend to work better than card tables. Some will double fold to be around three foot by three foot square when fully folded which can help with storage. Other tables will have legs that can be adjusted to three different heights. Low-height tables can be good for children’s activity while high-height tables are easier on your back when standing at the table for long periods.
  • Table cloth. Select a table cloth which is big enough to cover the top and front legs of your table. This will allow you to store boxes or equipment under your table without them being visible to the general public. While some prefer plastic table cloths as they can be wiped down easily, the plastic tends to dry and crack after extended use. Others prefer fabric tablecloths that are machine washable as a more practical alternative.
  • Clear packing tape. This type of tape is very useful for hanging signs in and around the farmers’ market. Do not use duct tape or another type of tape that can leave a sticky residue behind. Over time that resident attracts dirt and destroys the look of your equipment. If you are affixing signs to the metal legs of pop-up tents, the residue can also build up on the tent legs making it much more difficult to open and close the tents.
  • Bungee cords. Bungee cords are essential tools for securing tents and hanging banners. Many home supply stores will sell packs with bungees in multiple lengths which can be helpful to ensure you have the right one for your needs.
  • Clips: Heavy duty clips can help to clamp signs to tables or tent legs. These can be found at home supply stores.
  • Weights or displays for papers displayed on tables. Some farmers’ market managers use painted rocks to hold papers on their tables which others prefer to purchase display stands from office supply stores. Binder clips can be helpful to keep stacks of papers together, too.
  • Clipboard: A simple clipboard is helpful to keep all your important documentation together and provide a hard writing surface as you move throughout the farmers’ market.
  • Garbage cans and garbage bags. If you need something portable, pop-up hampers work well. But be careful, garbage bags don’t always fit the pop-up hampers well so you may want to add clips to hold the bag in place.
  • Sandwich-board style signage. You can make your own signage with boards, plywood and hinges, or purchase professionally made signs that are wood or plastic. Some sandwich board signs are available with chalkboard or whiteboard surfaces so you can change your message as needed. If local laws allow it, these signs can be displayed outside the market to attract customers. Or you can use them inside the market to provide information to customers.
  • Fire Extinguisher. A fire extinguisher is a must-have safety item. Be sure that your fire extinguisher is inspected annually and that the current inspection tag is attached. Be sure to put the fire extinguisher in a prominent place so it is easily accessible in case of an emergency.
  • First Aid Kit. First aid kits range from simple ones with bandages and over the counter pain medicine to highly complicated kits that include a CPR barrier mask. Whichever one you choose, you need to be sure that it is restocked as items are used, that your onsite staff and volunteers are trained in how to use it, and that is it prominently displayed in the farmers’ market so it easy to access when needed.
  • Traffic cones. The ubiquitous orange cone is a very useful tool. It can be used to mark off a loading zone, to indicate a no parking or no through traffic area or to flag potential hazards. You can find these at construction supply companies.
  • Sunscreen. Even on cloudy days it is possible to get too much sun. The best long-term way to protect your health is to wear sunscreen whenever you will be outside for an extended period.
  • Water. The California Occupational Health and Safety Administration (Cal-OSHA) recommends enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least one quart per hour when working outside in the heat.
  • Emergency cleaning kit.  Have an emergency cleaning pack that includes rubber gloves, disposable towels, anti-bacterial cleaner and trash bags in case you need to clean the restrooms or clean up something unsavory in the farmers’ market.


A Guide to Opening Small Farmers' Markets in San Jose, California