About Certified Farmers' Markets
Under California law, farmers may only sell directly to consumers — rather than middlemen, retailers or resellers — only at the point of production or in an area certified by a county Agricultural Commissioner for sale of farm products: a Certified Farmers' Market.
Only California-grown agriculture may be sold in a Certified Farmers' Market. These agriculture products include fruits, vegetables, greens, nuts, herbs, berries, eggs, flowers, nursery stock and honey.
Most Farmers' Markets also have an adjacent area in which complementary items are sold. These are typically food products such as breads, pastries, sauces, and prepared foods. These areas are not under the control of the county Agriculture Commissioner, but are instead regulated and inspected by local health authorities.
California law also states that Certified Farmers' Markets can only be operated by local governments, certified producers (farmers) or nonprofit organizations like PCFMA.
In addition to being great sources of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, farmers' markets are also community gathering places — places where neighbors can stroll, chat with one another, pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables, and feel connected to their community. Many communities use farmers' markets as the centerpiece of larger community gatherings that may also incorporate music, children's activities, or arts and crafts.
Farmers' Markets are an essential part of California's agricultural economy. Farmers' Markets provide outlets for California's small family farms to sell the fruits of their harvest. Many of the farms selling in farmers' markets do not sell through any other outlets. These farms are the employers and economic generators of their rural Northern and Central California communities.
Farmers' Markets are also good for the environment. They support locally-grown products, rather than those grown overseas and transported to the Bay Area via ship, road or rail. Small California farmers have also been at the forefront of the organic movement, protecting soil and water quality through the restricted use of chemical agents.
The markets also support agricultural diversity as the small farmers in the market tend to grow a more diverse selection of crops including heirloom varieties of many products, including tomatoes, peaches and apples. These heirloom varieties are often better-tasting than hybridized varieties that tend to be favored by major grocery retailers.
When you shop a Certified Farmers' Market - like those operated by PCFMA - you know the fresh products you're buying are all California Grown, and sold to you by the very farmers that planted, nurtured and harvested the crops!
To learn more about farmers' markets in Caliornia, visit the California Federation of Certified Farmers' Markets or the State of California's Department of Food and Agriculture.