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. We recommend notifications of exempt from permit items be submitted within 14 days of the event.
  • Notification of an exempt food item does not require a fee

Food Sampling an 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.

If the foods being sampled are potentially hazardous and require temperature control, yes a permit is required to sample.

General requirements:

  1. Obtain a Washington State Food Worker Card.
  2. Have a temporary hand wash station set up at the booth. Find an example of this on the Food Vendor Information Page. (Hand sanitizer does not replace the need for a hand wash station)Use gloves, tissues, tongs or other utensils to prevent bare hands from touching the food.
  3. Do not use a grab bowl. Your customers may accidentally contaminate the samples used for other customers.
  4. If the food is potentially hazardous, only prepare enough samples to last 25-30 minutes. If any samples are left over after this amount of time, they should be discarded and other samples prepared for service.
  5. Use cutting surfaces that are clean and sanitized, free of cracks and in good repair.
  6. Use single service disposable utensils such as food papers, napkins, toothpicks, spoons or sample cups for all samples.
  7. Wear clean clothing. Keep hair restrained.

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.

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.
  • Notification of an exempt food item does not require a fee.

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.
  • We recommend notifications of exempt from permit items 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. However, all foods require safe food handling.
  • Notification is required. Notification of an exempt food item does not require a fee.
  • We recommend notification of exempt from permit items be submitted within 14 days.
  • 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.

No. All kitchens where food is prepared for service to the public must meet code requirements identified in the Washington State Retail Food Code. Residential kitchens do not meet these requirements. For this reason, a commissary kitchen must be used.

  • 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.