FAQs about Farmers Markets, Bazaars, & Temporary Events

produce at a farmers market

Clark County farmers markets and events offer many opportunities year round for food vendors to sell their products. Below you will find answers to questions concerning markets and outdoor events.

If you cannot find the answer to your questions, we are here to help!  Call Clark County Environmental Public Health at 564.397.8428 and ask to speak with an Environmental Health Assistant.  They can answer your question, or guide you to an Environmental Health Specialist who can. 

Coordinating Food Vendors at Events

  • Ensure your food vendors provide you documentation from our office of their permit status.
  • Be sure all vendors have appropriate hand washing set ups if they will be serving or sampling their foods.
  • Be sure there are restrooms with hand washing facilities present at the event.
  • If your event occurs 3 or more consecutive days, a 3-compartment sink will be required.

Contact the health department with any questions ahead of time. 564.397.8428.

  • All foods served to the public require notification to the Health Department, and usually a permit.
  • Find out which foods require a permit versus which foods require only notification by reviewing the Permit Type Cheat Sheet for Vended Foods and Exempt from Permit list.
  • Submit your application or provide notification via the Permitting Information page.
  • Applications must be submitted within 14 days of the event to avoid a late fee. Notifications of Exempt from Permit or Not a Food Establishment sales should also be submitted within 14 days of the event.
  • No fee is required for notifications of Exempt from Permit or Not a Food Establishments food service.

Food Sampling and Booth Requirements

  • All persons handling food must obtain a Washington State Food Worker Card.
  • If working under a Temporary Food Establishment Permit, there must be at least one person with a Washington State Food Worker Card present at all times.
  • Training certificates (ServSafe, Person-in-charge, etc) and other state trainings may not be substituted as a food worker card.
  • Additional information about Food Worker Testing can be found here: https://clark.wa.gov/public-health/food-worker-testing
  • If the foods being sampled are potentially hazardous and require temperature control, yes a permit is required to sample.
  • All foods served to the public require notification to the Health Department, and usually a permit.
  • Find out which foods require a permit versus which foods require only notification by reviewing the Permit Type Cheat Sheet for Vended Foods and Exempt from Permit list.
 

General requirements:

  • Contact Clark County Public Health to determine if a permit is required for sampling your product.
  • Obtain a Washington State Food Worker Card.
  • Set up a temporary hand wash station.
  • Wash your hands frequently and always use glove, tissues, tongs other utensils when preparing samples. (no bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods).
  • Use clean utensils and cutting boards that are in good repair.
  • Always pre-portion you samples into individual servings. Food papers, napkins, toothpicks, spoons or sample cups are acceptable These should not be re-used and a waste bin should be provided for customers.
  • Do not offer samples in a bowl or bag where customers can touch food with bare-hands.
  • Fresh produce to be sampled must be washed and stored in a clean container prior to the event or purchased ready-to-eat/use/enjoy.
  • Only display enough sample to last 30 minutes. Discard any samples that have not been used within 30 minutes.
  • Wear clean clothing and keep hair restrained.
  • Find more information on booth set up and food service on the Temporary Food Vendor Requirements handout.

No. This is not an approved method of hot holding at outdoor events. Instead, use a steam table, barbeque or grill.

A thin, metal-stem, digital thermometer is required for most food establishments.

Yes, sampling foods from the exempt list is allowed. Please notify Clark County Public Health with an Exempt from Permit Application and follow the guidelines in the Temporary food vendor requirements pamphlet.

No. All cold food must be kept 41F or below and all hot food must be 135F or above. Leaving food at room temperature is not OK at events. Time as control is only allowed for restaurants with advanced approval.

Selling Food at Events

  • All foods served to the public require notification to the Health Department, and usually a permit.
  • Find out which foods require a permit versus which foods require only notification by reviewing the Permit Type Cheat Sheet for Vended Foods and Exempt from Permit list.
  • Submit your application or provide notification via the Permitting Information page.
  • Applications must be submitted within 14 days of the event to avoid a late fee. We recommend notifications of exempt from permit items be submitted within 14 days of the event.
  • No fee is required for notifications of Exempt from Permit or Not a Food Establishments food service.

Cost can vary based on complexity of the food service and length of event. Please view our current fee schedule to determine permit costs.

  • Applications for temporary events must be submitted within 14 days of the event to avoid a late fee.
  • You will receive a phone call the week of the event to discuss details. The permit will be hand delivered during the inspection.
  • Notifications of Exempt from Permit or Not a Food Establishment sales should also be submitted within 14 days of the event.
  • For annual permit Plan Reviews please refer to our Plan Review Process Summary.

Please visit our Permitting Information page to either apply online or in person.

  • Yes, there is a state-wide list of foods that are exempt from permit. Notification is required. Notification of an exempt food item does not require a fee. See the Exempt for Permit page for more information.
  • The sale/service of some foods do not meet the definition of a Food Establishment. Notification is required. Notification does not require a fee. Your notification will help inform Event Coordinators that the food is approved for service to the public and will minimize our interactions with you during the event. See the Exempt from Permit page for more information.
  • Notifications of Exempt from Permit or Not a Food Establishment sales should also be submitted within 14 days of the event.
  • Please review the Permit Type Cheat Sheet for Vended Foods to see if your foods require a permit.

Note: Non-potentially hazardous baked goods are exempt from permit ONLY when sold/served by non-profit organizations.

Yes. A state and local license are needed when selling taxable food items. In addition, each city requires permits. Contact the Washington Department of Licensing and the city where the food will be sold.

No. A license from the Washington State Department of Agriculture is required to sell produce at a location other than where it was grown. A state business license and local business license may also be required.

Residential kitchens do not meet the requirements for the Washington State Retail Food Code

  • A commissary kitchen is a kitchen that meets facility and access requirements identified in WAC 246-215.
  • Public kitchens that rent out their space can be used for a commissary kitchen. Some churches and grange halls hold public kitchen permits.
  • Some permitted food establishments are willing to rent space
  • The complexity of foods prepared in a commissary kitchen must not exceed the permit complexity level of the commissary kitchen. For example, you cannot prepare raw chicken in a facility that is not permitted to use raw proteins. Refer to the fee schedule for definitions of permit levels.

If you have questions about whether or not a kitchen meets the requirements, contact Clark County Public Health at 360-397-8428.

Yes, as long as there is a designated food preparation sink on-site to properly rinse the produce before use.

Yes, it is legal to sell raw-milk in Clark County. A permit with Clark County Public Health is required.

It is required to also post signage stating:

  • "WARNING: Raw milk or foods prepared from raw milk may be contaminated with dangerous bacteria capable of causing severe illness."

Clark County Public Health does not have requirements for vendors selling non-food items.