Second Certificates

The state of California allows one general exemption to the rule that the produce available for sale within a farmers’ market must be sold by the farmer who grew the crop. Farmers are allowed to sell agricultural products for no more than two additional California farmers through a process known as “second certificates.” The farmer who does not go to a farmers’ market but whose products are sold by another farmer  must have certified producers certificates listing the products that they grow as if they were going to the farmers’ market with their own product. Their certified producers certificate, and the certified producers certificate of the farmer who will sell on their behalf, must be cross-referenced. The name of the farm, the county of production and certificate number will appear at the bottom of the certified producers certificate of each of these farms.

Farmers who sell products through this “second certificate” program must have more of their own product than of the products from the second certificate at the beginning of the market day and must separate their own products from those sold through the second certificate at the point of sale.

While the state allows sales from second certificates, it also allows farmers’ markets to create rules that are more restrictive. As market operator, you can decide not to allow sales from second certificates or to limit sales from second certificates to certain products or times of the year.

Some farmers’ markets appreciate that the second certificate program can allow their farmers’ markets to offer products for sale that would otherwise not be available in their market. Other farmers’ markets feel that the second certificate program runs counter to the general goal of farmers markets to connect consumers with those who grew their crops, and do not allow second certificate sales at all. You must decide what will work best for your farmers’ market.

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