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Selling by the Pound

State Requirements

The following information was provided by the Sonoma County Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures.

If you plan on selling commodities or produce at a local establishment, at a farmers market, swap-meet or at your local farm stand, please be advised that there are some requirements you need to be aware of prior to selling your commodities.  State laws regulate how items may be sold to consumers in retail and non-retail locations. 

The same weights and measures laws apply to direct marketers of farm produce as they do to all other retailers. Scales must meet standards for commercial scales set by the National Bureau of Standards. The law in all states is that liquid commodities shall be sold by liquid measure and non-liquid commodities shall be sold by weight. The law permits other methods of sale, such as by piece, only where the method is in general use and does not deceive the consumer. One exception is eggs. They are sold by both count and size. 

The Sonoma County Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures Division regulates and monitors these requirements for Sonoma County.

See also Alternatives to Sales by Weight.

For More Information

If you have any additional questions about commercially approved scales, organic certification, the certified producer program (CPC) or the farmers market program, please call or stop by the Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures office:

Dept of Agriculture
133 Aviation Blvd, Suite 110
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
(707) 565-2371

M-F 8:00am-12:00am & 1:00pm-4:00pm

Example: commercial scale
Example: commercial scale


If you sell your commodities based on weight, you must use a “commercially approved” scale to determine the value of the commodity. 

  • The scale must be registered with the Sonoma County Weights and Measures Office and it must be tested and certified by a Weights and Measures official prior to its use. 
  • The scale must be of an appropriate design for the type of commodity being sold. 
  • It must be clearly visible to the customer purchasing the item and it must start on “zero” prior to determining the weight of the commodity being purchased. 

If you intend to purchase a scale to sell your items, make sure you are purchasing a “type approved scale” that has been approved for commercial application.  You can find reputable scale companies in your local phone book that sell commercial scales to fit your needs.


If you intend to sell produce in a container, a package or a bag, you will be required to observe federal labeling laws.  Your packaged commodity must be clearly labeled with what is commonly referred to as the IRQ label description.  The label must include:

  • Identity” of the item in the package (walnuts)
  • Responsible” party that packaged the item (Bill’s Produce)
  • Quantity” (1.5 lb.) of the item in the package. 

Labeling laws include label and font size requirements.  Some exemptions exist for certain packages and commodities.  Most packaged commodities require specific units of measure dependant on the product in the package.  This is with the intent of permitting the consumer the opportunity to compare packages of the same commodity. 

If a local producer has aspirations to sell produce at a retail market please review the following publications regarding correct labeling from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST):

These publications have and easy check box format for labeling review. They are easier to read than plowing through California Code of Regulations.


(Fees as of March 2019). If you will be selling at farmers markets and obtain your Certified Producer Certificate before certifying your scale, you save half off the scale fee (not including the $1.10 state processing fee):

Scale Type Fee Fee with CPC
Hanging $121.10 $61.10
Computing $124.10 $62.60