California Certified Farmers Markets
Certified Farmers Markets are places where the public can purchase a wide array of fresh and locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers that grow them. These markets are approved by the County Agricultural Commissioner and the Health Department. They are part of a statewide program meant to increase the sustainability of small farmers by connecting the consumer and the farmer. All farmers selling at a Certified Farmers market must have a Certified Producers Certificate from their local Agricultural Commissioner verifying that they grow the items that they sell. Farmers, nonprofit organizations or the local government usually operate these markets, which have developed into vital resources for communities that might otherwise lack a viable source of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Certified Farmers Markets also play an important role in enlivening communities, creating street life and increasing economic opportunities. Some markets also have other vendors outside of the certified section to complement the farmers produce, selling bread, meats and fish, dairy products, prepared food, and local crafts.
At a farmers market you can purchase fresh produce directly from the farm, eliminating the middleman or the long transportation routes between the farm and the consumer. Farmers Markets often offer quality produce at cheaper prices because the farmers can set their own prices and dont have to go through other people or grocery stores. When you visit a Farmers Market, you are helping to build community, because the markets are a hub of activity, providing a space for community members to interact. And finally, shopping at a Farmers Market allows you to connect to your food much more personally than you can at a larger supermarket. The big bonus of farmers markets is how fresh the produce is because it is picked and taken directly to the markets. At a Farmers Market, you buy from people who have a personal commitment to the produce you consume. Plus, customers are helping to support and sustain local family farms. You become more aware of the growing process when you personally pay a farmer who has grown the apricots or other fresh produce that he/she is selling you.