Looking for Pennsylvania: Selling Fresh, Unprocessed Vegetables and Fruit from Your Garden in 2024? Scroll down this page and follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above. If you are having a hard time finding canning lids, I've used these, and they're a great price & ship in 2 days.
Regulators do not consider fruits and vegetables to be processed if they have only been cut to harvest them, washed and refrigerated, or if they have merely had their leaves, stems, and husks removed. However, the moment a fruit or vegetable has been sliced, cooked, frozen, or mixed with other ingredients, it has been "processed" under the law.
Now, if you want to "add value" to the produce by preparing it, cutting it, etc. then Pennsylvania's Department of Agriculture has a category called "limited food establishments" that meet specific guidelines that provides flexibility once they're set up. There is a registration process with a $35 fee to register but some types of products require lab testing. A business plan and an inspection of the home is also required prior to approval. In addition, pets are never allowed in the parts of the home where the food establishment operates. See this page for more details.
You still need to check with your local authorities (city, county, HOA, etc.) to see if any additional local rules apply.
Philadelphia, for example, has laws that govern food safety and sales, specifically, to food preparation, rather than raw and unprocessed produce. But again, zoning and business laws may apply:
Commercial Activity License (CAL)
Gardeners are allowed to sell produce (uncut, whole) from their gardens without obtaining any other than a CAL from the Department of Licenses and Inspections before beginning sales. You can obtain a CAL for free. To get a CAL, you must fill out a license request form. You can do so online here or call 311 (215-686-8686) and speak to a representative at L&I, located at the Municipal Services Building, 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard - Concourse Level.
Vendor Licenses, Sidewalk Sales, and Sales in the Garden
Keep your stand entirely on your property. If you want to use the sidewalk or other public right-of-way areas for your sales, you will need to obtain additional licenses from L&I. And obviously, if you go beyond a temporary stand, such as setting up a permanent store, you will need to contact both L&I and the Department of Health.
most recent version of
the Ball Blue Book
most recent version of
the Ball Blue Book of Home Canning