Sacramento, California - During National Farmers Market Week August 4-10, we encourage you to visit one of the 675 CDFA Certified Farmers Markets in California.
CDFA’s role at Certified Farmers Markets is to facilitate the sale of California-grown agricultural products while maintaining sufficient regulatory control to ensure they’re of acceptable quality, and that selling activities are conducted honestly and fairly.
What differentiates a Certified Farmers Market from other farmers markets? It is in a location approved by the respective county agricultural commissioner and its California-grown agricultural products are sold directly to the public by producers and certified producers.
Regulations once required California farmers to pack, size and label their fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables in standard containers to sell in markets anywhere other than the farm site. Then, in 1977, CDFA Direct Marketing regulations exempted farmers from these standardization requirements when certified producers directly market their California-grown agricultural products to the public at Certified Farmers Markets. Benefits include providing consumers the opportunity to meet the farmer and learn how their food supply is produced, as well as the ability for small farmers to market their products without the added expenses of commercial preparation.
Certified Farmers Markets are regulated by CDFA’s Direct Marketing Program of the Inspection and Compliance Branch in the Inspection Services Division, in collaboration with California’s 58 county agricultural commissions. There are currently 675 Certified Farmers Markets throughout California, and approximately 60% of them are seasonal. That equates to more than 28,000 annual marketing events. Certified Farmers Market inspectors conducted approximately 2,800 inspections and investigations this past year.
Click here to learn more about starting a Certified Farmers Market in your area, becoming a certified producer, or learning which certified producers already are in your county. There also is information about the Certified Farmers Market Advisory Committee, including dates of upcoming meetings as they’re determined, previous meeting minutes and how to apply to be a member of the committee, which is composed of six certified producers, six Certified Farmers Market managers, one public member, one agricultural commissioner and alternates.
Additional CDFA Connections to Farmers Markets
The California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP) in the CDFA Office of Farm to Fork (CDFA-F2F) encourages the purchase and consumption of California-grown fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts to CalFresh shoppers through a dollar-to-dollar match at Certified Farmers Markets. For every CalFresh benefit dollar spent, CalFresh shoppers receive an additional CNIP dollar that can be spent on fruits and vegetables at the market, within set parameters.
The CDFA Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides low-income seniors a $20 check booklet to purchase produce, herbs and honey at Certified Farmers Markets. CDFA encourages more certified markets and producers to participate in this program by applying for free, attending an interactive training and accepting the checks at their market/farm stall.