A University of Kentucky study has shown that "when vendors offered samples at their farmers market booths, they saw an immediate effect on what customers purchased. [Their survey] determined that 55 percent of respondents purchased the sampled product the same day, though they had not originally planned to do so." Miranda Hileman, who worked on the study along with Dr. Timothy Woods, noted that some producers cited uncertainty about the benefits of sampling as a reason for not providing samples at farmers market. The study's findings may help incentivize those skeptical vendors to trial sampling their products at market.
Sampling at markets and stores can be a great way for new farmers to promote their product and gain recognition.
The U. Kentucky researchers have put together "A Practical Guide for Farmers Market Vendors: Best Practices for Sampling at Farmers Markets" which is available in its entirety online.
Londa Nwadike, UVM Extension's Food Safety Specialist, has put together a fact sheet on "General Food Safety Practices, Providing Samples, Selling Fresh Produce" as part of her "Food Safety for Farmers Market Vendors Series."
Note: The University of Kentucky publication references the need for a certification for providing samples at farmers markets, in Vermont no certification is required although certain food safety precautions are required and they are outlined in Londa's fact sheet.