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farmersmarket_1A Certified Farmers’ Market can be operated only by a certified producer, a government agency, or a non-profit organization that is certified by the Agricultural Commissioner. Each Certified Farmer’s Market in Ventura County is inspected once or twice a year. Agricultural Inspectors arrive unannounced to verify that the growers selling fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables, eggs, honey, cut-flowers or nursery stock at the market are certified producers of these California locally grown products. This helps to ensure that consumers are getting what they expect and pay for which is fresh, seasonal produce and nursery products locally grown.

funding-farmersmarket_2The markets pay a fee for certification and inspection and each grower also pays a fee for inspection and certification. These fees help to support this program by paying a portion of the inspection costs. An inspector goes to the growing location of every applicant grower in the county to certify that the products he is selling at the market are actually produced by him or her. Each certified grower is issued a certificate by the Agricultural Commissioner which must be displayed in the booth at the market. This certificate is issued by the county of production and lists only those products that he/she is certified to sell. Fines may be levied on certified markets and producers for violations of California regulations that pertain to Certified Farmers Markets and Certified Producers.

funding-farmersmarket_3Only agricultural products may be sold or offered for sale at a Certified Farmers’ Market. The sale of nonagricultural products is not permitted in the area designated as a certified farmers’ market. There should be clear indications at the market, such as signs or a distinct separation between areas that identify the certified portions of the market from those that aren’t. This is important so that the consumer knows when he is buying fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs or honey that are locally produced in Ventura County or one of the neighboring counties, rather than product bought from a large distributor, which may have even been grown in a foreign country. Many products cannot be certified and those products must be sold in the non-certified section of the market. Non-certified products may include non-food items like clothing and jewelry, processed products, and baked items.

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