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Farmers Market & Home Based Vendors

Farmers' Markets are locations or events where local farmers sell a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other farm products to the public. In addition, to produce, you may find other food products like honey, ciders, cheese, eggs, and meat at a farmers' market each from local producers. The Porter County Health Department Food Service Division works with the Market Masters and conducts inspections during the market season to ensure food safety and permitting requirements are met. Vendors offering only whole, uncut fruits and vegetables, honey and syrup, and other very low-risk foods are exempt from permitting as a Retail Food Establishment.

Home Based Vendors

On July 01, 2022, the Indiana State Legislature passed the House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1149 (PDF), which takes the place of the previous HEA 1309. In HEA 1149, Home Based Vendors (HBVs) offering applicable foods for sale are excluded from the definition of a "food establishment". A Home Based Vendor may prepare and sell certain food products that do not present a significant public health risk without permitting or inspection. The Home Based Vendor must practice proper food safety procedures, including proper hand washing, sanitation of food contact surfaces, and safe storage of food products, including protection during display and service. Porter County Health Department may inspect food products and labeling to ensure that the Home Based Vendor is maintaining their exemption status and may inspect the Home Based Vendor’s home kitchen in case of a complaint.

Home Based Vendor Overview

  • A Home Based Vendor may only sell their food products directly to the end consumer-NO WHOLESALE, NO RESALE.
  • Home Based Vendor foods may now be sold at a roadside stand-visible and no more than 100 feet from the side of the road, markets, farmer’s markets, events, fairs, and festivals, and advertise online to offer pick-up, delivery, or shipment within the state of IN only.
  • The production area of a Home Based Vendor is required to be in the vendor's primary residence and will not be routinely inspected, but may require inspection in the event of a consumer complaint.
  • ALL Home Based Vendors must obtain a Food Handler Certificate from a certificate issuer that is accredited by the American National Standards Institute. Upon receipt of the certificate, a copy shall be provided to the local health department where the Home Based Vendor resides.
  • The Home Based Vendor cannot commingle the activities of a Home Based Vendor and those of a regulated food establishment. If the Home Based Vendor sells food products other than those produced in the home, such as commercially prepared foods, then it becomes a "food establishment". A vendor must be designated as either a Home Based Vendor or a food establishment – not both.
  • All home-based vendor food products must have proper labeling which states:
    • Producer's name and address
    • The common name of food product
    • Ingredients of food product
    • Net weight and volume
    • Date food product was processed
    • The following statement in at least 10 point type: "This product is home produced and processed and the production area has not been inspected by the State Department of Health. NOT FOR RESALE" Note: This labeling must be present with and/or on the food at the point of sale regardless of whether or not the food is packaged. Unpackaged food, such as some baked goods, will be considered labeled when there is easily readable signage accompanying the food product stating all of the above-listed items. Labeling is not required for whole, uncut produce.

The table below provides some examples of foods that may or may not be produced and sold under the home-based vendor exemption.

Examples of Foods that May Be and May Not Be Sold by HBVs

Food Type Foods That May Be Sold Foods That May Not be Sold
Baked Goods Cookies, cakes, fruit pies, cupcakes, bars, yeast bread, fruit bread, baguettes Foods that contain meat, poultry, aquatic animals, non-dairy (cheese, butter, yogurt), non-baked egg-containing products, and whole eggs
Candies and Confections Caramels, chocolate fudge, peanut brittle, chocolate-covered fruits, bonbons, buckeyes, chocolate-covered nuts  
Fruits and Vegetables Unprocessed, whole, and uncut items such as cherries, blackberries, cranberries, grapefruit, strawberries, oranges, blueberries, plums, tomatoes, corn, lettuce, green beans, peppers, etc.
Fruit-based jams and jellies (made from strawberries, blueberries, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, etc.) Fermented pickles do not require acidification and do not require refrigeration.
Canned products that are shelf-stable and in hermetically sealed containers such as salsas, chutney, chow-chow, and canned vegetables.
Pickled vegetables (beets, pickles) that are shelf-stable
Cut tomatoes and cut melons
Garlic in oil mixtures, herb and oil mixtures
Raw seed sprouts
Fruit butter (i.e. pear, pumpkin) "low sugar" or "no sugar added" jellies and jams
Meat, Poultry, and Seafood None identified. Canned products that are shelf-stable and in hermetically sealed containers such as canned vegetables, canned meats, and canned seafood.
Tree Nuts and Legumes Peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, etc.  
Syrups Honey, molasses, sorghum, maple syrup  

Market Masters

A Market Master is an individual or group of individuals that are responsible for coordinating and organizing the Farmers Market. Market Masters must register a Farmers Market with the Porter County Health Department Food Service Division at least 30 days prior to the first date of operation. The registration must include a list of all food vendors participating at the farmers' market, including not-for-profit organizations, farmers, and home-based vendors. This registration allows the Food Service Division to ensure that the food vendors participating at the market are aware of local permitting requirements, state and local food codes and guidelines, and exempt food vendors following food safety guidelines. There is no charge for registration. Click here for a Farmers Market Registration Application packet (PDF).

It is the responsibility of the Market Master to ensure their food vendors obtain approval from the Health Department prior to operating at their event. Food vendors meeting the definition of a "food establishment" are required to obtain a food permit by the Porter County Health Department, and the application must be made at least 7 days prior to operating at the Farmers Market. A home-based vendor is not required to obtain a food permit but still needs to register with the Market Master and must be included on the food vendor list. We request that you inform all food vendors participating in the event to contact the Porter County Health Department Food Service Division, at 219-465-3525 option 4, for information on food permitting and food safety requirements and guidelines.

For additional food code and permitting requirements for regulated food establishments operating at farmers' markets, refer to the Temporary Event and Mobile Unit and Pushcart webpages.

Farmers' Market and Home-Based Vendor Regulations. Guidance Documents, and Rules & Regulations

Farmers' Market Contact Information

  • Porter County Health Department – Food Service Division
    (219) 465-3525
  • Board of Animal Health
    (317) 544-2400
  • Indiana State Egg Board
    (765) 494-8510
  • Indiana State Department of Health – Food Protection Program
    (317) 234-8569
  • Purdue University Food Science
    – Product Testing

    (765) 494-7997
  • Porter County Purdue Extension
    (219) 465-3555
  • USDA Agricultural Service
    (260) 563-7486