Farmers’ Market Record-keeping

In addition to financial records, you should also maintain records of load sheets and certified producers’ certificates.

Load sheets are a tool that the county agricultural department uses to determine if farmers selling in certified farmers’ markets are complying with the law which requires that they only sell items of their own production. The law requires that all certified producers complete a load sheet for each day they are in a farmers’ market and the market manager maintain the load sheets and make them available to inspectors upon request. A sample load sheet is included in Appendix E.

Certified producers’ certificates were discussed elsewhere in the guide. Every farmer who sells fruits or vegetables in a farmers’ market is required to possess and post at the market their certified producers’ certificate. This certificate is issued by the agriculture department in the county in which the farmer is growing his or her crops. It lists the items that the agriculture department has determined the farmer is growing, either by self-reporting from the farmers or by an on-site inspection, depending upon the local procedures. The farmer may only sell those items in a certified farmers’ market.

While it is not required in the law, it is a best practice to maintain a copy of the current certified producers’ certificate for each farmer in your farmers’ market. Farmers’ are also required to have an embossed copy of the certificate visibly posted at the point of sale in each farmers’ market. Failure to do so can result in penalties against the farmer as well as the market manager.

A Guide to Opening Small Farmers' Markets in San Jose, California