McAllen Farmers Market Rules & Guidelines
The purpose of the McAllen Farmers Market is to encourage the sustainable production and economic benefits of locally grown agricultural products, including fruits and vegetables, locally made food products and locally created artisan craft goods. We encourage and promote farmers and small-scale growers who utilize sustainable soil, water, health conserving and organic cultivation practices. We encourage both educational and cultural efforts which positively affect the health and well-being of our local community.
The McAllen Farmers Market Executive Committee, must observe both the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.
In addition, the McAllen Farmers Market is committed to maintaining a work environment where harassment in any form (sexual or non-sexual) is not tolerated. Harassment consists of unwelcome conduct, whether verbal, physical, or visual, that is based upon a person’s protected status, such as sex, color, race, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or other protected group status.
Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and/or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment in the McAllen Farmers Market is a form of sex discrimination. It is unacceptable behavior that will not be tolerated in any form or at any level.
WHAT DO WE CONSIDER LOCAL?
Market-Sold Items Must Be Sourced, Grown, Harvested and/or Crafted within the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) of South Texas. In certain cases, GO TEXAN products, other Texas-harvested/crafted and nearby regional products may be deemed acceptable, subject to pre- approval of the McAllen Farmers Market Executive Committee. The RGV is officially made up of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr & Willacy counties.
ITEMS WITH PROPER PERMITS WHICH MAY BE SOLD INCLUDE:
- Local produce vegetables, fruits, berries, herbs, nuts & seeds
- Locally made artisan baked goods, candies & dehydrated food products following the Texas Cottage Laws (priority given to use of local products and healthy alternatives)
- Local vendor-raised plants, native plants, herbs, shrubs, trees or regional, flowers grown from seeds, bulbs, transplants or cuttings
- Home style canned goods (preserves, pickles, vinegars, mustard, syrups) following the Texas Cottage Law and Texas Food Manufacturing Requirements http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/foods/foodmangen.shtm
- Local honey, bee & beeswax products
- Local grass-fed beef, pork, lamb & other meat products
- Local farm-raised eggs from cage free/free range chickens
- Regional shrimp & seafood gulf-harvested from the Vendor’s boat (with proper permit)
- Local made & healthy ready-to-eat food (with proper permits)
- Locally made soaps, lotions, bath products, toiletry Items, especially those using plant or animal (such as goat’s milk, honey or olive oil) and other local ingredients
- Locally made artisan craft goods (priority given to use of local materials)
- Locally made goods promoting gardens, habitat improvement & encouragement of care of birds, butterflies, bats & other creatures
- Local natural plant or animal fibers, wool, cotton, fleece or hand-spun yarn
- Local fair trade goods, (including herbs, spices & other products)
- Books & educational materials related to gardening, health & environment.
- Pre-approved community and/or sponsoring organizations, including related educational, cultural & health event materials.
PRODUCE & FOOD PRODUCT DISCLOSURE
All market produce vendors must disclose the growing practices used in their farming operations. All produce vendors must use natural farming practices and are subject to soil sample testing to verify farming practices. The McAllen Farmers Market will provide disclosure signage to clearly identify to consumers the produce sold in vendor booths. Food vendors must label and identify all ingredients in the products they sell on the individual packaging.
DESIGNATIONS WILL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
- LOCAL GROWN – ORGANICALLY/NATURALLY- PRODUCED
- LOCAL GROWN – TRANSITIONAL – PRACTICES (i.e. working towards organic production &/or the inclusion of local organically grown ingredients)
- REGIONALLY GROWN – ORGANICALLY/NATURALLY – PRODUCED
- TEXAS GROWN – ORGANICALLY/NATURALLY – PRODUCED
PRODUCE SALES & RE-SALE POLICIES:
- Farmers/gardeners/growers are only allowed to sell fruit and vegetables grown by them.
- In the appropriate space on the vendor application form, please list any other family members, employees or volunteers who may staff your market booth and represent your business.
- Meat (excepting fish, fowl and feral animals), that is from animals born and bred on the producers’ land (including leased land) and processed at a USDA inspected facility.
- All such products sold at The McAllen Farmers Market must be identified and follow McAllen Farmers Market rules and guidelines.
- Reselling of any other produce is not permitted.
- Farmers/gardeners/growers are allowed to sell plants of vegetables, herbs, fruit, butterfly plants, native plants, native trees and shrubs with proper permits.
SUBJECT TO LOCAL MUNICIPALITY REGULATIONS
Food Safety is a priority for the McAllen Farmers Market. Current Food Handlers Permits are REQUIRED for any vendor or individual within a booth who handles food products or shares product samples with customers. This includes any vendor who processes, prepares or serves food items at or for the McAllen Farmers Market.
Please provide a copy of your current food handlers permit and/or any other health or industry related licensure or certificates required for your market products. Food Handler Permits and other certification documents are subject to inspection by the McAllen Farmers Market Management Team. Food handlers training and permits can be obtained through the City of McAllen and through other local municipalities.
Exemptions: Vendors who only sell whole, uncut produce or unshelled nuts and who share no samples are exempt from Food Handlers Permit requirements.
HEALTH & SAFETY REGULATIONS
Please make certain that you are familiar with all applicable health, safety and regulatory laws governing the particular items you wish to sell at local Farmers Markets. See links to new Cottage Food Production Operations regulations found at: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/foodestablishments/cfpo/
Only high quality items designed and executed by the vendor will be considered. No Re-Sale (cannot be a product distributor for a company, vendor must make the product itself and make it locally) of craft items or of items created in other regions will not be considered. Artisan spaces are limited in proportion to farm vendors and always per the Market Management Team’s discretion. Because we are primarily a farmers market, furniture, crafts, jewelry, health and beauty products (soaps & lotions), household decorations, and furniture are limited to one approved regular vendor per category. That limit remains in effect each year, which consists of October through September. Most value-added vendors carry over to the next year and no new vendors will be added unless the approved vendor leaves or an opening comes up for other reasons.
Artisans will be subject to a review of their product by the Executive Director and/or the appointed MFM team member before being allowed to sell at any market. The Executive Director or the MFM team member have the right to review any merchandise for sale at any market at any time. Inspection of artisan studios may be required. Photos of the work must be submitted with the application
The Market Management Team may at any time ask a vendor to remove any non-approved or other item(s) deemed inappropriate or unsafe for customer consumption or that is listed as a prohibited product under the Cottage Law. After receiving warning, repeat violators may be temporarily or permanently banned as vendors at the McAllen Farmers Market. If a violation is a serious health and/or safety concern and/or a behavioral issue, any vendors may be asked to leave without prior warning, at the discretion of the Market Management Team or by a member of the Executive Committee.
Please bring your own disposable bags for trash items and dispose of your trash.
Any market-related grievances must be made in writing and addressed to the Market Management Team outside market operation hours a copy of the grievance can be sent via email to: theMcAllenfarmersmarket@gmail.com.
NO SMOKING or ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION ALLOWED
Smoking is prohibited by vendors and/or their representatives. Please report any abuses to the Market Management Team.
CHILDREN OF VENDORS
Your children are welcome to join you on market days. However, vendors are responsible for supervising their children at all times. If problems arise concerning children, behavioral or otherwise, please address these concerns to the Farmers Market Management Team in writing, as for any other grievance procedure.
HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT
All vendors must read, sign, date and submit the McAllen Farmers Market “Hold Harmless Agreement”.
Hold Harmless Agreement (Please print a copy of the Hold Harmless Agreement & provide a signed copy of the agreement to a member of the Market Management Team or the Executive Committee prior to setting up).
MARKET TIMES, DAYS & LOCATION
Every Saturday Year-Round (Except Thanksgiving & other Major Holidays) 10 AM – 1 PM. All Markets held in the front McAllen Public Library, 4001 N. 23rd St., McAllen, TX 78504. In the event of inclement weather, vendors will set up inside the library’s reception area, when it is available.
McAllen Farmers Market meets year round, rain or shine, weekly attendance is expected 40 of 50 weeks minimum. If you cannot commit to that attendance and/or use of seasonal market products, please do not apply.
Vendors who continually miss the market will forfeit their rights to their booth space.
VENDOR SET-UP & PARKING
Vendors must set up booths prior to 10 AM and must be ready to sell to market customers at opening time. Members of the Market Management Team will be on hand no later than 9 AM to help facilitate market set up. Vendors are permitted to drive vehicles near their booths both to unload and reload goods at market’s end. To unload drive from the south to the north of the drive, stop, unload (but do not set up). After unloading, vendor vehicles need to be moved to the library parking lot by driving north exit. At the end of the market do the same thing, always making sure you have taken down and packed your products before driving your vehicle to your booth space. No driving within market boundaries is permitted 30 minutes before market open and until 15 minutes after the close of market.
Vendors are not required to set up under a covered canopy. Vendors may bring their own pop- up canopy shelters. This is allowed only and if:
- NO product advertisement/logos, etc. are printed on the canopy [except for the Vendor’s own market-based business]; and
- The canopy is securely anchored without using stakes. Tent legs may be secured by sand bags or weights, 30 lb weights must be securely affixed to each canopy leg at all times.. If tents do not have weights of some type Vendor may be asked to put down their canopy or tent.
- Vendors cannot reserve more than 1 space. side by side. Merchandise must be restricted to within the designated booth space and signage must not impede flow of shoppers between booth spaces.
VENDOR BOOTH ASSIGNMENTS
Vendor booth assignments are made by the McAllen Farmers Market Executive Committee. Preferential booth assignment is given to vendors who have paid in full for a minimum of four months, who have seniority with the farmers market and based on space availability.
ALL VENDORS must bring their own tables, chairs & non-electric table lighting.
- Copies of all proper permits, certifications, licenses, etc. must be received by MFM before a vendor can attend any market.
- Existing vendors are not guaranteed a continued space and may be removed as a vendor at any time during market year at the Executive Director’s discretion.
- New items (not included in the most recent application) must be submitted in writing via email and approved by the Executive Director or Director of Operations before sold at market.
- All items sold at market must be grown/prepared by the vendor within 150 miles of the market.
- Markets operate year-round, rain or shine. Vendors should prepare for all types of weather including cover for rain or sun and weights for winds. No refunds or discount in fees will be given in the event of inclement weather or lack of business due to the weather.
- Vendors are expected to be absent for no more than 10 days for each market they attend in the calendar year. If Christmas Eve or Christmas Day falls on a market day, closures will occur. The market will be closed any Saturday that the McAllen Public Library is closed. If a market is not designated as closed on a holiday, all
vendors are expected to attend or submit timely notice of absence. Vendors who exceed 10 absences, may lose their vendor space and be asked to re-apply which may mean that a new vendor might be added to fill that vacant spot.
- Smoking and vaping is not permitted in market territory. Vendors must leave market boundaries so that smoke or vape does not reach shoppers or other vendors. Cigarette butts must be properly disposed of in safe containers and removed by vendor.
- Only owners or agents (that means family member, employee) may sell at market. Agents must be knowledgeable, communicative, and project a professional presence at market and must have worked at the farm or ranch of the producer.
- One vendor per booth space. Booth sharing is not allowed. No sub-letting is allowed. Vendors who allow another seller to share their booth will be asked to leave the farmers market. They may forfeit their right to attend and participate in future farmer market events.
- Vendors must transport trash and recycling offsite, no dumping or usage of market dumpsters allowed. Vendors must completely clean their booth space at the end of market. Vendors who provide samples or prepared food must provide trash receptacles at their booth. Ice and water brought to the market should not be discarded on site.
- Booth locations are subject to change. Vendors’ booth locations may change week-to-week and vendors are expected to exercise flexibility in the event of relocation.
- Vendors may not bring pets to the market unless they use a service animal, or it is
previously agreed upon by the Executive Director.
- Intoxication from alcohol or illegal drugs will result in vendor expulsion from the Market.
- Vendors are required to comply with state and federal laws concerning firearms and may not openly display firearms while selling at the market.
- No disruptive or aggressive marketing is permitted at market.
- McAllen Farmers Market and/or any McAllen Farmers Market staff member is not responsible for product liability, fines, penalties or the paying of sales taxes for individual vendors.
- Other standards and conduct: Vendors should be knowledgeable about products, how they are used, grown or produced and be able to communicate these things clearly to the customers. Products should be displayed in a sanitary, presentable and attractive manner. Vendors are expected to be courteous, professional and presentable at all times. Inappropriate language or behavior, clothing, harassment or abuse toward anyone at any market will not be tolerated and may be reason for expulsion.
No vendor may leave the market early unless excused for valid reasons, such as illness or selling out of market produce/product. Early break down is permitted only with approval by and at the discretion of the Market Management Team. Safety and consistency of market times are our two concerns here.
VOLUNTARY SALES DISCLOSURE
At the end of each market day, we need to keep an estimated tally of total market sales. Sales disclosure is not mandatory for vendors. However, the statistics collected will help our market keep tabs on estimated sales and get a better sense of the market’s financial health throughout the seasons and from year to year. Voluntary sales disclosures from individual vendors will be kept confidential and will not be shared outside of the Market Management Team. However, total market sales figures will be used for the purpose of publicity, funding, grant writing, reporting and strategic planning by the McAllen Farmers Market Executive Committee.
VENDOR FEES: BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 2016
Please note that if an approved vendor fails to show for more than 2 weeks after being approved, their vendor spot will be reassigned. The vendor will have to re-apply. If there is no current opening they will be put on a wait list.
Three tier membership:
- Premium ($30 per month with purchase of 4 months paid in advance). The total of $120 due the first Saturday of the month. Designated assigned booth space is provided with the premium membership.
- Regular: $40 monthly table fee. First come, first serve on non-designated assigned booth.
- Farmers: Pay a discounted fee of $5.00 each Saturday. Farmers who sell valued added items in addition to produce (fruit, vegetables, dairy & eggs) will pay the regular weekly fee $10 if the value added items comprise more than 50% of their market day offering. ($20 per month).
NON PROFIT AND COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS
- Based on booth availability and approval from the Executive Committee, non profit and community based organizations who are providing a service during the operating hours of the McAllen Farmer’s Market can set up at no cost and are limited to once a month participation. Non profit and and community based organizations can not sell any products nor solicit donations at the McAllen Farmer’s Market with the exception of sponsor and partner organizations and the approval of the Executive Committee.
- Every effort is made to provide an environment where customers and visitors of the McAllen Farmer’s Market feel welcome and comfortable. We respect the diverse community we live in and therefore will not allow political or religious organizations to obtain booth space at the McAllen Farmer’s Market.
Please carefully read all McAllen Farmers Market Rules & Guidelines and apply online. Vendors must allow the Market Management Team adequate time to review and approve completed Market Vendor Applications. Vendors must be officially notified of their approval status well before market set up time and will not be reviewed and/or approved at the beginning of or on a market day.
The McAllen Farmers Market does not offer exclusive rights to any one vendor to sell any one product, other than in the value added categories. Market customers typically benefit from having a choice. However, in the event there are vendors on a waiting list; or, the same or similar products is excessive, duplicate product vendors may be denied entry.
All financial statements of the McAllen Farmers Market are privy to the Executive Committee and The McAllen Farmers Market Management Team. If a vendor has a question regarding their individual vendor account they may inquire about the status of their account with a member of the Executive Committee.
Fees collected from vendors and from sponsors pay for the following operational costs:
- Website registration, maintenance and associated costs
- McAllen Farmers Market Coordinator position
- Chef Demonstrations
- Educational Activities
- Live Music Performances
- Media promotions
- Supplies & Equipment
The McAllen Farmers Market Executive Committee is comprised of individuals who represent the different categories of vendors at the farmers market and community.
Any and all formal complaints, grievances or inquiries regarding issues concerning the McAllen Farmers Market must be in writing and submitted via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All formal complaints, grievances or inquiries will be reviewed by the Executive Committee. Any decision made by the McAllen Farmers Market Executive Committee is final.
However, the statistics collected will help our market keep tabs on estimated sales and get a better sense of the market’s financial health throughout the seasons and from year to year. Voluntary sales disclosures from individual vendors will be kept confidential and will not be shared outside of the Market Management Team. However, total market sales figures will be used for the purpose of publicity, funding, grant writing, reporting and strategic planning by the McAllen Farmers Market Executive Committee.