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Public Health - Seattle & King County

Farmers Market plan guide and food service permit application

Permits are required for temporary food establishments selling food at farmers markets.

The type of temporary permit you get will be based on the complexity of the food you are serving and the food handling occurs during your food service.

You may also choose to opt into an incentive based permit option. This enables you to attend multiple events for a lower cost if you are able to demonstrate and maintain good food safety practices.  Certified booth operator class completion and certificate is required for this option.

If you are a farmers market vendor selling produce in open-air markets or a market coordinator, download the items below as they pertain to your role.

Step 1 Farmers Market coordinator's information
List of responsibilities, fees, types of food served at Farmers Markets, FAQs and more
Step 2 Considerations for getting a farmers market temporary food permit

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What kind of food are you serving?

Three levels of permits based on how complex your food will be:

  • Minimal food handling
    Packaged potentially hazardous food made under permit; no handling of unpackaged food -- no sampling

  • Moderate food handling
    Unpackaged, potentially hazardous foods; includes sampling; not including raw animal products; reheating commercially made foods (USDA/WSDA); hot holding; no cooling

  • Complex food handling
    Food cooked from raw animal products; serving raw animal products; cooling steps -- any foods cooked and cooled in a prep-kitchen
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Are you going to one market, or will you go to more than one market in a year?

If one market, you should purchase a single event permit.

  • Submit an application and receive a permit for each market. Each permit is good for the entire market season.
  • Receive an inspection for each permit.

  • Minimal temporary food permit (single event)
    • No location information required
    • No Certified Booth Operator required
    • Only prepackaged potentially hazardous foods are offered
      • All foods packaged
      • No sampling of unpackaged foods

  • Moderate temporary food permit (single event)
    • May apply for additional single permits at any time
    • No Certified Booth Operator required

  • Complex temporary food permit (single event)
    • May apply for additional single permits at any time
    • No Certified Booth Operator required

If more than one market, consider these options:

  • Minimal unlimited temporary food permit
    • Can attend unlimited number of markets until the end of the calendar year
    • No location information required
    • No Certified Booth Operator required
    • Only prepackaged potentially hazardous foods are offered
      • All foods packaged
      • No sampling of unpackaged foods
  • Multiple permit and unlimited permit - voluntary incentive program
    For moderate and complex food handling permits, consider the permit package that incentivizes safe food handling with reduced fees

    • Multiple permit package - 5 months
      • Requires a Certified Booth Operator (additional food safety education) in every booth using the multiple permit
      • Allows unlimited event attendance for the price of less than 3 single market permits
      • This permit option available for moderate and complex food handling
      • Requires menu and location information for each market you attend
      • Will receive random inspections
      • Or buy single permits for each market with no Certified Booth Operator requirement

    • Earn an unlimited permit package
      • Requires a Certified Booth Operator (additional food safety education) in every booth using the unlimited permit
      • Allows unlimited market attendance for the price of less than 3 single event permits
      • Must complete a multiple (5) permit package before obtaining an unlimited permit
      • Requires menu and location information for each event you attend
      • Will receive random inspections

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Situations where you might not need a permit
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Voluntary Certified Booth Operator training

This training is for those vendors participating in the voluntary incentive permit program.

  • Multiple and unlimited moderate/complex permits require a certified booth operator in each booth at every market
  • Course fee is $95 per person
  • Certification lasts two years
  • Preregistration is required. Walk-ins will not be admitted to class.
  • To register for a class, please download the Certified Booth Operator Application form (fillable PDF format,) complete, and mail or bring to our offices
  • Current Tacoma-Pierce County Certified Booth Operator certifications are honored in King County

Course schedule (will be updated as courses are added):

  • July 14, 2016. 9:00 am – 11:00 am, Room 121 (ground floor), 401 Fifth Avenue, Seattle 98104
  • August 16, 2016. 9:30 am – 11:30 am, Eastgate Public Health, 14350 SE Eastgate Way, Bellevue 98007
  • September 13, 2016. 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, Room 121 (ground floor), 401 Fifth Avenue, Seattle 98104
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    Permit fees

    Permit Type
    Single Market Permit
    Multiple (5) Market Permit
    Unlimited Market Permit
    Minimal
    $120
    None
    $236
    Moderate
    $290
    $640*
    $750
    Complex
    $350
    $700*
    $850

    *An incentive program based on food safety practices. Read more about this option above
    *A certified booth operator is required. $95.00 course fee.
    Step 3 Farmers Market plan guide
    Step 4 Farmers Market permit applications

    After you submit your application, you will be contacted about the status of approval. If you would like a hard copy of the application mailed to you, please call us at 206-263-9566.