Farmers Market cooking demonstrations under a new MDARD License


An example of a farmers market cooking demonstration. Photo courtesy Alice Henneman.  (view larger image)

An example of a farmers market cooking demonstration. Photo courtesy Alice Henneman.

By Jude Barry, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems

Who doesn’t like the freebies? I’m guessing, but think most would agree, that tasting delectable food samples at a farmers market and learning how to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables are a very fun highlight for many attending a farmers market.

The demand for such activities has increased, and vendors and Farmer’s Markets are enthusiastic to offer safe samples and food preparation demonstrations. Cooking demonstrations enable consumers to become more aware of different products the farmer’s markets have to offer, improve healthy eating strategies for communities through nutrition education and support sales for local producers.

In response to this increase in demand, the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) worked collaboratively with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to create a new Food Establishment license for farmers markets that wish to host cooking demonstrations and offer samples of the food that is prepared. This license, implemented by MDARD in February 2015, is designed to improve food safety and help farmers markets in serving consumers.

More information on licensing cooking demonstrations at Farmers market can be found using the following resources:

1. MIFMA hosted an educational webinar on “Licensing cooking demonstrations at Michigan Farmers Markets” on May 14, 2015. The webinar featured a market manager who has completed the application for a new cooking demonstration license, MDARD and MIFMA and offered some of the new licensing options for farmers markets implementing cooking demonstrations. For the recording of the webinar click here.

2. The MDARD website offers many resources. Some include:

Food Sales at Farmers Markets: Frequently Asked Questions

MDARD Guidelines for Providing Safe food samples


Sources of information for this article were provided by MIFMA and MDARD. For more information on licensing cooking demonstrations at farmers market please contact MIFMA and/or MDARD.