The interlocking definitions of producer, agricultural product and agricultural arts make it clear that all of the fruits, vegetables and nuts sold within a Certified Farmers’ Market in the state of California must be California grown and must be sold by the farmer who grew the product.
The term “California grown” is defined in the state’s Food and Agriculture Code as “food or agricultural products that have been produced in the state or harvested in its surface or coastal waters” (California Food and Agriculture Coder 43100(a)(1) and the Code establishes penalties for “false, deceptive or misleading” use of the term. Assembly Bill 1871, passed in 2014, removed the phrase “deliberately misleading” from the state Code, suggesting that any misleading use of the term, even if not deliberate, could result in penalties.
This is important for all farmers’ market operators to be aware of. If a farmers’ market promotes itself as a source of California grown produce, it is responsible for ensuring that is true – essentially ensuring that the farmers within the farmers’ market are in fact selling only California grown produce.
California farmers prove that they are growing products within the state of California by applying for a “certified producers certificate” from their local county agricultural commissioner. This document lists the person or persons responsible for the operation of the farm, the location of each growing area from which the farm harvests products, the products grown, the estimated amount of each product grown or to be harvested, and the months in which the product is typically offered for sale. This certificate must be posted at the point of sale.