How to start a vegetable business? | Everything you need to know

How to start a vegetable business

Selling fresh fruit and vegetables as a farm can be a seasonal business or a full-time operation if you live in a more temperate region. Not only do you make money from selling what you grow or acquire from local farmers, but you also provide customers with the fruits and vegetables they need to put healthy meals on their tables. Starting a vegetable business is a job that requires serious planning, needs a lot of thought, and should be taken seriously. How to start a vegetable business?

How to start a vegetable business?

You need some documents and licenses before you can start selling. The most important of these is PACA. The documents and permissions you need for this vary according to the size of your business.

What is PACA license?

The PACA license is essential for ensuring that traders fulfill their legal contractual obligations. Fruit and vegetable buyers and sellers must follow the PACA’s fair trading practices. Otherwise, they risk having their license suspended or revoked. This includes meeting contract specifications, paying all contracts on time, and keeping trust assets in good condition.

A person who knowingly operates a produce business without a license may face a monetary penalty of up to $1,200 for each violation, plus an additional $350 for each day the violation(s) continues.


How to start a vegetable business?

Who Needs a PACA License?

In general, anyone who buys or sells more than 2,000 pounds of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables in a single day is required to obtain a PACA license. This category includes wholesalers, processors, truckers, grocery wholesalers, and foodservice companies.

On the first transaction, a person who negotiates the sale of fruits and vegetables on behalf of another person must be licensed.
A person in this position may be referred to as a commission merchant, broker, or growers’ agent. A broker who only handles frozen fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, is exempt from PACA licensing requirements until the invoice value of total negotiated sales exceeds $230,000 in a calendar year.

How to apply for a PACA license?

To apply for a PACA license, you have to call Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, 1-800-495-7222.

The other documents you need to start a vegetable business depend on the country and state you are in. For documents other than PACA, please contact your Ministry of Agriculture.

How to find vegetable suppliers?

There are several options for getting the fruits and vegetables you need. You can grow them yourself on land or in a greenhouse. If you choose this route, make sure you have the space and equipment needed for the job. Consider the cost of soil, seeds, garden tools, building materials, mulch, and soil testing equipment. You can also opt for starter plants, which are more affordable but have a higher price tag. Visit garden organizations and nurseries in your area to keep costs down. Many have plant and seed sales in the spring. You can also check websites like Craiglist and eBay for discounted gardening supplies.

To find USA-based fresh vegetables suppliers and manufacturers, visit

If you are looking for Europe-based fresh vegetable suppliers, you can visit or

What Equipment Do You Need?

As I mentioned before, starting a vegetable business is a job that requires serious planning. The equipment you need depends on the size of your business. You need to make a good business plan. However, the main requirements are a vehicle, such as a van or truck, and a wheelbarrow to transport the produce and make deliveries. Containers are also necessary to protect the product from damage during harvest, in storage, and during transportation. Tables, an umbrella, or some kind of shade are required if you sell in outdoor markets.


How to start a vegetable business?

The location is crucial

The next important step is the choice of location. The most important thing is whether the plants get enough sunlight, so shady groves are rather unsuitable. But protection from strong winds and frost can also play a crucial role in the plants’ good growth. What temperatures can vegetable plants tolerate? Temperatures around 20 °C ensure optimal development for vegetables with medium heat requirements, below 7 °C and above 30 °C they stop growing.

The right variety

It is almost always the case that when we are new to a job, we make mistakes. Mistakes are human and we learn from our mistakes. Of course, with proper planning, we can minimize the mistakes. Especially for beginners in the bed, it is particularly important to choose the right plant varieties. For starters, the most suitable varieties are robust and easy to care for and can survive one or other mistake without immediately dying. These include almost all lettuces, radishes, beans, peas, and onions. But also zucchini or carrots are relatively easy to grow. Varieties that you also like to eat yourself are best: If you can look forward to your favorite food, gardening is twice as much fun. However, you should not overestimate yourself. Start first with a small selection of varieties, if you like it, you can increase your garden year after year.

What vegetables sell best at farmers markets? Top 20 fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S. 2021

“These charts provide an overview of the most popular fruits and vegetables purchased in 2021, based on the percentage of primary shoppers buying in the U.S.”

1. bananas – 63%

2. strawberries – 56%
3. grapes – 55%
4. apples – 55%
5. watermelon – 50%
6. oranges – 47%
7. blueberries – 41%
8. lemons – 41%
9. peaches – 39%
10. avocados – 38%
11. pineapple – 36%
12. cherries – 36%
13. cantaloupe – 33%
14. raspberries – 33%
15. pears – 27%
16. limes – 27%
17. blackberries – 26%
18. clementine – 24%
19. mangoes- 23%
20. plums – 22%



potatoes – 62%

2.tomatoes – 61%
3.onions – 57%
4.carrots – 51%
5.bell peppers – 46%
6.broccoli – 44%
7.cucumbers – 45%
8.salad mix – 44%
9.lettuce – 43%
10.celery – 40%
11.mushrooms – 38%
12.corn – 38%
13.garlic – 36%
14.spinach – 35% beans – 34%
16.cabbage – 34%
17.sweet potatoes – 33% onions – 31%
19.cauliflower – 30%
20.asparagus – 28%

Is vegetable business profitable?

We can’t give you exact numbers here. It depends on which country and area you live in.

If you have questions, leave a comment and let us know.

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