Best Precautionary Practices for Selling Frozen Meat at The Farmers' Market

From Home to Market

Gloved hands adding ice packs to frozen meat in portable cooler.

The goal of COVID-19 precautions at the market is to spend as little time in close contact with others as possible and to limit touching of product.

At Home

Safely get the frozen meat from your home freezer to your coolers by using the same good handling practices as always. Use clean hands to load the cleaned and sanitized coolers with the frozen meat. Maintain meat as a solid frozen product at a temperature of 20° F or colder.  A freezer thermometer placed between the meat packages in the cooler will help you to keep track of the temperature.

At the Market

Wearing homemade cloth masks will help to keep you and your customers from spreading the virus if you are unknowingly infected, but feel fine and are not showing symptoms.

Do not allow customers to select the meat from your cooler. Only you will handle the packaged meat with clean hands.

Consider investing in high-quality product photos and displays with pricing or a large easy-to-read-from-6-feet-away poster with product listing and prices. In this way, customers will be able to tell you the product they want and you can take it from the cooler, place the meat in a clean plastic bag, and place it on a cleaned table, 6 feet away from your coolers, if possible, that they will pick it up from. They will also leave the payment credit card there where you can pick it up and step back to your product table to process.  Then return the card to them. 

Alternatively, use chalk or tape to mark 6 feet from your table and have customers stay there until you are ready to quickly deliver the product and take the payment. Only one customer can shop at a booth at a time. If a line forms please remind customers to leave 6 feet distance.

Have two staff members present: one for handling payments and one for handling food and bagging items. Remember, reusable bags cannot be used at this time.

Remove the signature requirement for credit card sales where possible. Encourage card use over cash. Consider adding virtual payment options such as Venmo, Cash App, PayPal. Consider customer prepay options so for these customers, the market is for pick up only.

After each food or payment transaction, use a handwashing station or hand sanitizer and clean surfaces and POS systems with bleach solution or other sanitizing solution or alcohol wipes.

Use social distance signage (scroll down to Ag Business). Limit one customer in the tent space at a time.

Bring small trash receptacles for disposing of gloves, wipes, etc.

If you have a FB page or other social media that you advertise on, share your product list and pricing early and often so customers can come prepared and will be able to limit time spent at your booth.


Mary Choate
Food Safety Field Specialist
Assoc Field Specialist
Phone: 603-787-6944
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824