Two certificates growers need to obtain to sell at farmer's markets are the Certified Producer's Certificate and the Produce Scale Certification.
1. Certified Producer's Certificate
This is required by California if you plan to sell at farmers' markets. To obtain this certificate, complete CDFA's online certification Application for Certified Producer's Certificate. Certificates are issued based on the county that you are operating in, not the county where you are selling.
Note: Only certain counties are utilizing the online application system. If your county is not listed, visit the Ag Commissioner's Office in your county to obtain the certificate.
2. Produce Scale Certification
If you are using a scale to make sales at a direct-to-consumer sales point such as a farmers' market, the scale needs to be registered with the Weights and Measure Office. To register your scale for direct sales, bring it into the Yolo County Ag Commissioner's office. Scales must be registered annually. It currently costs $16 for an annual registration.
Yolo County Ag Commissioner - 70 Cottonwood Street - Woodland, California 95695 - (530) 666-8140
To register your scale for direct sales, bring it into the Sacramento County Ag Commissioner's office. Scales must be registered annually. It currently costs $12 for an annual registration.
Scales need to have a CTEP or NTEP certification and be tested by the county weights and measures department prior to using as a commercial device. Sacramento County Weights and Measures will test scales, brought into the office by appointment. If tested and sealed in Sacramento County you can use it to sell in other counties if it has a current year seal on it.
Sacramento County Ag Commissioner - 4137 Branch Center Rd, Sacramento, CA 95827 - (916) 875-6603
To register your scale for direct sales, bring it into the Solano County Ag Commissioner's office. Scales must be registered annually. Registration is free of charge if you sell for a period of less than 8 months out of the year.
Solano County Ag Commissioner - 2543 Cordelia Rd, Fairfield, CA 94534 - (707) 784-1310
Please see the UC Small Farms Program Farm Stand Regulations page for more information.
Here is a list of questions you could prepare yourself with before speaking with the county about regulations pertaining to farm stands:
- Where on the farm can you build a farm stand?
- Do you need a permit to build your stand? If so, who do you contact for a permit?
- Is a permit needed to sell fruits and vegetables from your farm? If so, where do you get it?
- Can you sell fruits/veg from other farms?
- Can you sell value-added products?
- Can you sell bottled water?
- What kind of scale do you need? Do you need to certify the scale?
- What are other regulations/permits that farmers should be aware of in regards to farm stands?
Contact the Zoning Administration of the Sacramento County Planning and Environmental Review Department.
Jessica Brandt, Senior Planner - firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Hardman, Principle Planner - email@example.com
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
You must register your CSA with the California Department of Food and Ag (CDFA) each year. CA CSA Law – AB 224 (2013) requires single-farm or multi-farm CSAs to be farm-based and for all farms involved to register with CDFA each year; CDFA set fee at $75 a year, each farm pays once a year. By registering, Environmental Health considers the CSA to be an “approved source” of food; federal law requires all food in commerce to be from an approved source. Everything in the CSA box must be from California farms.
The CSA box must have name and address of CSA on it and maintained in a manner that “prevents contamination of produce.” Traceability records required. Consumers must be informed where every item in the box is from either in print or electronically, and the CSA must retain these records. Shell eggs and processed foods that are included must follow laws on labeling. If a multi-farm CSA, the operator must have a produce handling license from CDFA, and if handling eggs from other farms, an egg handler license.
To register your CSA, visit the CDFA Certified Farmers' Markets page. Scroll down to the end of the page for the CSA Producer Registration and Remittance Form. The annual registration fee is $75.