Vegetable Growers Handbook

snappybob(SaTexas Zone 8)January 17, 2006

While searching the web (unsucessfully) for information on what I need to do or have, if anything, to sell vegetables at farmers markets and/or on the side of the road in Texas, I ran across this web page. I don't know why I had never run across it before but it has a lot of very useful information in it. It was written primarily for Texas growers but most of the info is pertinant just about anywhere. Here's the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Vegetable Growers Handbook

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huisjen(z5 ME)

For selling veggies as a somewhat commercial venture, most of what you need to consider is taxes. Maine doesn't tax food not intended for immediate consumption, but I have to think about paying a quarterly estimated income tax, both state and federal. I couldn't say what other things Texas might want of you. Contact your state department of revenue.

The other thing I have is a vendors license from the state department of agriculture. I think this comes through their quality assurance division, but I also think I only have it because I also have (had? need to renew...) a home kitchen commercial food processor's license, which also comes through them. (With that I can make cookies, cakes, granola, and other baked goods for commercial sale.) Otherwise, I don't think they'd notice me, There are any number of unattended coolers full of back yard eggs being sold at the end of people's driveways in Maine. Just take your eggs and leave your money in the can. I doubt most of them have any sort of vendor's license.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 12:33PM
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snappybob(SaTexas Zone 8)

Thanks for the response Dan. That's kind of how it is down here in south Texas. There are people all over the place selling vegetables out of the back of their pickup trucks. I guess I could just stop and ask one of them if there are any special permits needed to do that. Although I may not get much more that suspicious looks in the way of a response. Many of them may have alot more documentation problems than a venders permit. But the first time I try it without a permit I'll probably come home with a $1000 in fines.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 4:23PM
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snappybob(SaTexas Zone 8)

I went to the Department of Agriculture site and from what I can tell it looks like to be legal it will cost me almost $400 per year just to sell my excess veggies on the side of the road. If thats true it seems like the whole thing is structured to keep people like me from selling to the public. I would really like to hear from some of the Texas sellers on the board to see if this is really the case. I sent an email to the Ag dept. but haven't heard back yet. If I don't hear back in a few days I'll give them a call.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 1:58PM
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I know this is an old thread, but in case anyone else happens upon it and wonders...

It's legal in Texas to sell your own produce without a license so long as you only sell your own (that you grew yourself) and no one else's.

Here's the statute (emphasis added is mine):
Texas Agriculture Code - Section 101.003. License Required
§ 101.003. LICENSE REQUIRED. (a) Except as otherwise
provided by this section, a person may not handle perishable
commodities, as owner, agent, or otherwise, without a license or an
identification card issued by the department.
(b) This section does not apply to:
(1) a retailer, unless the retailer:
(A) has annual sales of perishable commodities
that comprise 50 percent or more of the retailer's total sales; or
(B) employs a buying agent who buys directly from
a producer;
(2) a producer who handles or deals exclusively in the
producer's own products;
(3) a person shipping less than six standard boxes of
citrus fruit in any one separate shipment; or
(4) a person who ships a noncommercial shipment of
perishable commodities.

Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 1252, ch. 388, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1981.
Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 917, § 1, eff. Sept. 1,
1985; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 269, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995;
Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 358, § 4, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Agriculture Code

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 8:41PM
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Thank you so much for posting this! I just happened upon it today and am thankful you posted it before I went out and spent the money to get a license that I don't need.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 9:09AM
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Oh, good! I'm glad I could help. I had never heard of a license to sell your own produce and was rather disheartened when I first read this thread. At first I thought it could be true since things change all the time, and it seems like sometimes the Texas gov't sure isn't on the side of the little guy. But I did some checking to make sure ~ glad I did.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 11:48PM
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snappybob(SaTexas Zone 8)

I thought that sounded a little bizarre also so I called, I think, the department of agriculture in Austin. They told me all about a special truck inspection, Background checks by two different agencies and a licence. I also called the organization that oversees farmers markets where they are required to only sell what they grow and they said it was true but you didn't have much trouble making your money back. The information from the website you provided and what I was told seems to conflict. Why am I not suprized. I guess what REALLY matters is what the person on the street who writes the citations THINKS the law is. Bottom line is, if you get cited it will cost you money for something even if you prove you were doing nothing wrong. There is always a fee for this and a fee for that. I guess if I am just going to sit on the side of the road by myself I won't worry about it. But if I plan to sell with other market gardeners I'll do what ever they do. They will require you to be in compliance with what ever they percieve the law to be anyway.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 12:08PM
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"The information from the website you provided and what I was told seems to conflict. Why am I not suprized." No kidding. Ah, the joys of dealing with a bureaucracy, huh? They uphold the law even when they don't know what it is. *sigh*

I figure I'll print out a copy of that law including the state website url and keep it with me whenever I'm selling to (nicely) hand to anyone who questions me about a license. Then they can give their own opinions all day long, but that doesn't matter a flip when the law says different.

"Bottom line is, if you get cited it will cost you money for something even if you prove you were doing nothing wrong"
You are so right. But that's what your state representatives are for ~ helping you deal with state agencies who are trying to give you the runaround. If you ever encounter trouble with this, I'd bet a call to your Rep. would get things straightened out without so much (if any) cost to you. It's helped me in the past. And it's sure nice to let him spend money and time fighting it instead of me.

I do agree that you have to be in compliance with whatever the farmers' market says, but maybe even they can be shown that law and convinced that individual sellers selling their own stuff only don't need a license? I hope so. Yeah, you can make that $360 back, but I know you know what I mean when I say that's a helluva hickey when you're barely making that much in the first place.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 10:11AM
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owlhollow(z7 NE Alabama)

In Alabama, if you sell your own home grown produce you only need a growers permit from the county where your farm is located. The permit is good to sell all over the state.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 2:28PM
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At a minimum in TX you must have liability insurance.

Each city and county have additional rules for selling produce. For example in the Houston city limits you must have a Produce License ($100) if you sell out of your truck or at an established place. It doesn't apply for door to door type sales of your OWN produce.

Basically, Texas is only trying to control the resellers of Mexican produce. & also processed stuff like cheese, milk, dried herbs, canned items, etc.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 8:44AM
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