How to Become a Vendor
Thank you for your interest in participating in Countryside Farmers’ Markets!
Applications for the 2020 Howe Meadow season are open through February 27th
Applications for the 2020 Highland Square season will open on February 14th and close on March 27th.
Since 1999, Countryside has connected people, food, and land throughout Northeast Ohio. Our programs re-establish farms in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, run farmers’ markets in the greater Akron area, and educate citizens about the importance of local food and farming. We also help up-and-coming farmers find land, and connect local growers to chefs and consumers.
As a partner of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, we assist in managing the Countryside Initiative program, with farms located within the boundaries of our National Park. These farms are committed to sustainable agriculture and work hard with their park partners to be good land stewards. Together, the farms and Countryside bring over 100,000 visitors to the valley each year and have an economic impact of millions of dollars.
As an outgrowth of the Countryside Initiative program, we began managing farmers’ markets in 2004. The markets collectively serve over 50,000 customers each year, and in 2014 the vendors reached a collective milestone of over $1M in annual sales. 2020 is our seventeenth season in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and our sixteenth season in Akron.
The purposes of the Countryside Farmers’ Markets are three-fold:
- Provide a venue where local farmers, producers, artisans, and artists can sell their high-quality products directly to the consumer.
- Connect consumers with a wide array of locally grown and produced foods and goods in a setting that allows them to interact directly with the grower or producer, thereby re-connecting them directly to the source of their food.
- Create a space that allows for community interaction and enjoyment, informal public education and civic engagement.
1. Download and Read Guidelines: Vendors interested in joining the market for the first time should download the Countryside Farmers’ Market Vendor Handbook. Please read the guidelines thoroughly. All essential information on market fees, vendor acceptance criteria, and market rules is explained in detail in this document. If there are remaining questions after reviewing this information, contact Serena Jones, Farmers’ Market Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Apply: Applications will be accepted electronically via Farmspread. Visit farmspread.com to create your profile. Once complete, search for Countryside and apply to your desired market. (Note: Your profile and application are representations of your business and products. We encourage you to complete both persuasively to “sell” your business to the market.) Applications for Howe Meadow will be available until February 27th and application for Highland Square will be available until March 27th.
3. Follow-Ups//Schedule Farm Visit//Submit Samples: After an initial application review, prospective vendors will be contacted by market management with additional questions and/or schedule a farm visit or request product samples.
4. Applications are Reviewed: Applications will be reviewed in accordance with the criteria outlined in the Countryside Farmers’ Market Vendor Handbook.
5. Notification: Prospective vendors for Howe Meadow will be notified of decisions by March 13th. Prospective vendors for Highland Square will be notified of decisions by April 17th.
6. Remit Market Membership Fee and Submit All Required Paperwork: If accepted, Howe Meadow vendors will be required to submit all necessary paperwork by April 17th and Highland Square vendors will be required to submit all necessary paperwork by May 15th. Vendors will not be permitted to participate in the market until all necessary fees and paperwork are received.
7. Market Begins: Prior to the markets’ opening day, market management will contact you with detailed information on arrival and set-up procedures.