Fees, Rules & Regulations

Market Fees, Rules & Regulations

Mission: The Farmers’ Market at Poplar Grove was established to provide a retail outlet for local growers and producers to sell their goods directly to consumers, to educate consumers on local farm products and conservation practices, promote the use of local products, and serve the community through programming and activities.

The Farmers’ Market functions under the auspices of the non-profit Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc., and overseen by Suzette Cooper-Hawley, Director, at suzette@poplargrove.org.


1) Active Farmer. Persons who are the original growers and actively engaged in the planting, growing and harvesting of agricultural product on owned, rented, leased or share-cropped land.  this definition includes ranchers and dairymen.

a) Farm Products. Grown or raised by the farmer upon land that he/she controls through ownership, lease, rental, or other legal agreement. These products are fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, honey, eggs, herbs, flowers, meat, seafood and dairy products.

b) Meat & Dairy Products. Such meant and dairy products must be labeled as processed foods in accordance with state required for processed/packed/hazardous food products.

c) Seafood. Edible marine fish and shellfish raised or caught by the vendor in NC waters.

d) Processed Farm Products.  Farm products made from raw ingredients, a majority of which are grown and produced by the farmer & in some way processed, including cheeses, dairy, meats, viticulture, dried fruits and vegetables, juices, jam or other processed agricultural and livestock food products.

e) Nursery Products. Grown or raised by the farmer/grower upon land that she/she controls through ownership, lease, rental or other legal agreement.  Nursery products are fresh cut or potted flowers, bedding plants, seeds, perennials, annuals, trees or shrubs that are propagated from seed, cuttings, bulbs, plugs or plant divisions. 

2) Bakery/Chocolatier. Persons who bake breads, pastries, deserts or makes chocolate for sale at the Farmers’ Market.

3) Food Trucks.  Persons who sell food that is freshly made and available for immediate consumption on-site. 

4) Fine Arts & Heritage Crafts. Products designed, fabricated, hand-crafted and sold by the artisan, or its agent. Items must show evidence of manual skills obtainable through a significant period of dedication and experience. Because Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc. is an historic site, a variety of heritage art products, such as soaps, candles, basket, weaving, blacksmithing and needlepoint products shall be given priority and shall be well-represented by a variety of vendors. 

Preference will be given to southeastern North Carolina growers and producers, then regional producers and growers from the Piedmont and Western North Carolina areas.  We welcome vendors from outside of the state to participate as a guest vendor upon application approval.

Sellers/vendors must be the producer/artist, an employee of the producer/artist, and/or a family member to participate in the market as such agents are listed and designated on the Farmers’ Market Application. In the absence of the seller(s) so named, all other agents must be requested to participate in writing to the market manager and approved by the market manager prior to market day.

Example products that can be sold are:

  • Vegetables grown from seeds, sets, or seedlings by the seller
  • Fruits, nuts, or berries grown by the seller
  • Plants grown by the seller from seed, seedling, transplant or cutting
  • Bulbs propagated by the seller
  • Eggs produced from the seller’s hens
  • Meats from animals raised by the seller
  • Dairy products from animals raised by and made by the seller; exception:  locally-made ice cream, frozen custard/yogurt
  • Honey produced from the seller’s bees
  • Cut or dried flowers grown by the seller
  • Firewood cut by the seller
  • Straw baled by the seller
  • Preserves, pickles, relishes, jams, jellies and candies made by the seller
  • Baked goods baked by the seller
  • Locally caught seafood caught by fishermen of southeastern waters
  • Arts/Crafts made or crafted by the seller (see Arts/Crafts Guidelines)
  • Original books sold by the author

Any products not specifically addressed above will be reviewed on an individual basis by the Market Manager and Executive Director for eligibility. Sellers offering value added/processed products using ingredients produced by the seller or ingredients from local producers will be given priority over those who do not produce or use locally produced ingredients in their product.

Prior approval by the Market Manager is required to sell any product other than what was initially applied for by the vendor.

All products must be of top quality.

All prepared food items, meat, fish and cheese sold must meet state and local health regulations, including the inspection of the prepared foods seller’s kitchen by NCDA health inspectors and labeling in compliance with the regulations. Sellers must have a copy of their inspection form and any other required certification included on their application and on file with the market manager, as well as on site when selling at the Farmers’ Market. All items sold must meet county, state and federal regulations.

Permission to carry a product will be determined during the application process and on a case by case basis. In the case of product that is grown or produced by a market vendor, preference will be given to the vendor growing or producing rather than to the vendor applying to “carry” the product.

All products must be clearly labeled with the producer’s name and location of production. The Market Manager reserves the right to request receipts of “carried” products and/or contact the source of any “carried” product to verify origin. All carried items must meet all eligibility requirements for products that can be sold at the market. Vendors “carrying’ products requiring inspection and certification must provide a copy of the original producer’s inspection, license and/or certification. Fine Arts and Heritage Craft vendors are not allowed to carry items made by others.

Prior approval is required to sell any product other than what was initially applied for by the vendor.

All items sold as organic must meet the requirements of the National Organic Program. Sellers of organic items must have a copy of their certification on file with the market manager as well as on display when selling at the Farmers’ Market. Only certified organic growers may display signs using the words ‘certified organic.’

Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc. reserves the right to conduct a farm/business inspection of any market vendor.

Hours, Fees &  Membership Status Farmers’ Market

The market will operate from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Wednesdays.

Please remove your vehicle (if applicable) off the market site and have booth set up by 9:00 AM, before making sales. No vehicles may be moved within the market area between 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM. This is both for the safety of participating vendors and for the guests visiting Poplar Grove.

Vendors fees are based on your participation category. 

All participating vendors shall receive a receipt of payment (including membership fee and daily fees). Cash payments are common, and such exchanges require documentation on the behalf of both parties. Please immediately notify Caroline Lewis, Executive Director, if a receipt was not issued.


The market will operate rain or shine. Coastal weather is vivacious! Scattered rain showers are not indicative of rain across the entire county(ies). Therefore, vendors are required to attend unless in the event of inclement weather. Inclement weather is defined as adverse weather conditions that will impact vendor product, the safety of one another, and/or pose a public hazard. Under such conditions, the market will be cancelled.

Participating vendors are required to remain on site for the entire duration of the market. Early breakdown is not permitted due to safety and liability concerns, and will result in a verbal warning to immediately cease and desist. 

Vendors must give 24-hour notice to the Market Manager if they will be unable to attend on a scheduled day.  

Booth Space ♦ Displays

Due to the nature of the market, maximum vendor booth space is approximately 10′ x 10′; some spaces will accommodate vehicles (east perimeter) and some will not (inner and west perimeter spaces). Sellers may reserve and pay for up to 2 booth spaces. Booth spaces are determined by the membership status of the vendor and assigned in consultation with the vendor, Market Manager, and Executive Director. 

  • Full-time vendors have permanent booth assignments.  Booth layouts will be emailed on the Monday before market Wednesday.
  • Part-time and guest vendors are assigned on a first come/first serve basis on the morning of market day for order, uniformity, and continuity. No booth spaces are reserved for part-time and guest vendors, except for farmers and some heritage crafts that require special consideration regarding direct sunlight.
  • Vendor booths must be well organized, professional and easily accessible for the customer. Vendors provide their own tables and displays. Tents, canopies or umbrellas are encouraged but must be firmly secured/anchored.
  • Each booth space must have a sign indicating the name and location of the farm or business.
  • Vendors must, by NC Department of Revenue law, prominently display their Certificate of Registration.
  • Prices must be posted for all products, or individually priced. Descriptive signs for products and photographs are also encouraged.
  • Scales used must have a current state certification sticker visible.
  • No Smoking within vendor booths, or on the market site, as both a courtesy to our visitors and to fellow vendors.
  • Vendors are responsible for cleaning up their spaces at the close of each market day. All trash must be deposited in appropriate receptacles.
  • Vendors may not sublease their space.
  • Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc. reserves the right to monitor vendors, booth spaces and the products sold to maintain quality, variety and aesthetics.

To note, vendors are considered small business owners, many of whom participate in multiple markets throughout southeastern North Carolina.  It is therefore assumed that vendors are fully capable of the management, required regulations, promotion and advertisement as well as any conflict resolution with the public regarding their products, record-keeping, labeling, communications, and set-up/break-down.

Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc. does not guarantee vendor sales, but shall strive to adequately advertise to the public market operating hours through print and social media.


No live animals for consumption may be sold or given away for at the market.

Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc. does not offer exclusive rights to any one vendor to sell any one product. Farmers’ Market customers generally benefit from having a choice. However, Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc. reserves the right to limit entries to avoid excessive replication/duplicate products in any one category.

During the appropriate season, a variety of growers/producers selling the same or similar products are encouraged to participate as part-time or guest vendors. Competition ensures quality, and the grounds of Poplar Grove provide enough space to feature in-season fruits, vegetables, honey, seafood, plants and herbs, etc.

Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc. encourages the participation of other non-profits to have an information booth during the Wednesday morning market hours of operation.


Members must comply with all applicable laws, ordinances and regulations of the USDA, State of North Carolina, Pender County and Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc.

Members and agents of members pledge to comply with the By-Laws and Fees, Rules and Regulations of the Farmers’ Market at Poplar Grove. Violations may be grounds for suspension and/or expulsion from the market.

Members shall protect the integrity of the Farmers’ Market by not engaging in unfair business practices. Members shall strive to reflect the highest principles of honesty, integrity and fairness in all of his/her dealings with other members and the public.

Pricing of goods at the market is the sole responsibility of the individual vendor. However, vendors are expected to be aware of and maintain fair market values. Radical price cutting of quality produce or “dumping” is prohibited. Poor quality or overripe products labeled as such may be sold at a discounted price. Advertised prices must be maintained throughout the market day.

Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc. has a strict policy on providing a physically and emotionally safe environment for its guests, visitors, volunteers, vendors, and staff.  Any vendor or vendor agent who verbally or non-verbally creates and/or poses a hostile and intimidating work environment will be first given a verbal warning by the market manager; second a written notice by the Executive Director, and upon third grievance, expulsion from the market for the duration of the season.


At all times the safety of any persons on the grounds of Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc. and at the market is to be of the highest priority.  Pedestrians always have the right of way and drivers should err on the side of caution.

The safety of and courtesy to guests, volunteers, customers, vendors and staff is essential at all times. Please report any hazards or disruptive behavior to the Market Manager immediately.

In the interest of public safety, vendors are to have patience and use common sense when pulling out of and into the market area. No vehicles may be moved within the market area from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Wednesdays.

The consumption of alcoholic beverages or the selling, distribution or possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia is prohibited at all times and will be grounds for immediate removal from the Farmers’ Market and the grounds of Poplar Grove.

Market Management

The Market Manager is responsible for day-of management of the market and has the authority to implement and enforce market policies, rules and regulations, as well as booth assignments, set-up and breakdown of the vendors, parking, and market day complaints/issues. Any questions or concerns should be first addressed directly to the Market Manager or other Poplar Grove staff member.

The Market Manager is responsible for the general operations of the market, communications, marketing and advertising, book-keeping, and booth assignments. In the absence of the Market Manager, you may contact the Executive Director for immediate assistance or questions/concerns.

Under the direction of the Executive Director, the Market Manager will review and update as necessary Fees, Rules and Regulations and By-Laws, and review and process all applications to the market to ensure quality, variety and standards. 

Conflicts between vendors and customers must be brought to the attention of the Market Manager immediately. Do not engage in an argument, but rather seek out the Market Manager for initiating steps to a peaceful resolution. Vendors shall not be subjected to hostile or threatening behavior from customers or other vendors.

Grievances between vendors must be: 1) brought to the attention of the Market Manager immediately. Please do not engage in an argument, either publicly or privately during operating hours, most especially; 2) if a resolution is not achieved verbally, a formal grievance must be submitted in writing for review and resolution.

Formal grievances must be submitted in writing to the Market Manager, and include the date and time of incident, a brief and factual description of the issue at hand, and signed and dated by the vendor. In the absence of the Market Manager, or in the case of a complaint against the Market Manager, formal written grievances shall be submitted to the Executive Director for review and resolution.

Poplar Grove Foundation, Inc. retains the right to make final decisions on all market matters for both expediency and conflict resolution.

For more information, see Market By-Laws.