Selling at Farmer's Market

Certified Farmers’ Market means a location certified by the County Agricultural Commissioner and operated pursuant to the Food and Agricultural Code and regulations.

farmers market
There are often two sections to farmers markets:

  • 'certified' section where agricultural produce and agricultural products grown by the seller are sold
  • 'community' section where other items such as drinks, food and crafts are sold.

Produce may only be sold in the certified section of the market by sellers who have a Certified Producer CertificateALL produce you intend to grow must be listed on your CPC. As of August 2019, Sonoma County fees are:

CPC online $35
CPC turned in at Ag Commissioner's $69
Amendments to CPC $35

Work with the market manager(s) where you would like to sell here is a list of certified farmers markets in Sonoma County

  • You might also be interested in this publication: The New Farmers' Market 2nd Edition by Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) 

If you also make value-added product from your produce you would want to sell your product in the certified section of the market as long as it meets the requirements for non-certifiable ag products listed below.

Certified Agricultural Products means agricultural products, which are certified under the jurisdiction of the county agricultural commissioner and include:

  • fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, shell eggs, honey, flowers, nursery stock, and farmed mushrooms

ALL items must be listed on your Certified Producer Certificate (CPC). These products MUST be sold in the certified section of the market. EXCEPTIONS: honey and nursery products may be sold in either section. 

Selling out of county: list additional counties you intend to sell in on the CPC. The CPC allows for sale of products listed in counties listed. The CPC is obtained in the county where the agricultural products are grown/raised.

Non-Certifiable Agricultural Products include agricultural value-add foods, livestock and dairy products and may be sold in the Certified section of the market when they meet the following requirements:

  1. Value-added food products made from agricultural produce grown by the seller listed on their CPC. 
    Note: the following additional requirements are ever changing:
    • Contain a limited number of ingredients or additives which act only as preservatives or are essential, like pectin for jelly and are granular
    • Products must be made in a facility with a health permit (i.e. Cottage Food Facility, Processed Food Registration)
    • Ingredients which are not essential, such as onion, apples, etc. must also be grown by the producer
  2. Red meat: livestock must have been raised by the seller and slaughtered and processed in a USDA facility(s) see Selling Meat at Farmers Markets.
  3. Poultry/Rabbit meat: must have been raised by seller and processed by an approved source, see Selling Meat at Farmers Markets.
  4. Dairy products must come from stock owned by seller and processed and stored in a CDFA licensed facility, see Selling Dairy Products.
  5. Farmed fish and shellfish wild fish & shellfish must be sold in the 'community' section.

*NOTE: Ranchers who raise their own livestock/poultry/rabbits and sell meat from these animals, may sell in the certified section of the farmers market as long as they meet the criteria above. 
If the seller is also selling meat from livestock raised by another or meat products (i.e. sausage, cured meats) that do not meet the criteria listed above, they must sell in the non-certified section of the farmers market.

Table 1 examples of the section of the market where non-certifiable ag products are sold:

Product Ingredients
Section of Market
Tomatoes and tomato sauce made with fresh onions, garlic and basil - ALL ingredients grown by seller
(other ingredients allowed are granular only)
Certified
Tomatoes and tomato sauce made with fresh onions, garlic and basil - NOT ALL ingredients grown by seller

Tomatoes: Certified only
Sauce: Community only

Sausage made from livestock raised by seller, seasoned with powdered ingredients Certified or Community
Sausage made from livestock raised by seller, seasoned with fresh ingredients NOT grown by seller Community only

Food Facility Permit

Temporary Food Facility Permit must be obtained when selling food products in the 'community' section. 

Contact Sonoma County Environmental Health & Safety (707) 565-6565 for the current cost of a permit.
This is summarized in Table 2 below. 

Load Lists

The Load List is an itemized list of all products sold at the CFM each market day which states the name of the certified producer, the identity of each product sold as it appears on the certified producer’s certificate, and the quantity of each product sold at the market.
The Load List’s are created by the market managers.  It is suggested that the Load List for produce show sales by variety or type (i.e. lettuce, peaches), total quantity brought to the market and total quantity sold and total revenue (i.e. XXlbs of apples, total sales of $XXX.XX). 
Table 3 Load List and food facility permit requirements.  The Load List is not applicable to sales outside of the 'certified' area. 

Table 2 summarizes when a Food Facility Permit or Load List is required.

Source of Agriculture Product --->
Certified & Non-Certified Ag Products* All Other Ag Products
Section of Market allowed to be sold
Certified Community
Food Facility Permit Not Required Required**
Load List Required Not Required

   *meeting criteria 1-8 listed above.   **For food products only.

Information on this page has been reviewed for accuracy by Sonoma County Agriculture Department and Sonoma County Department of Health Services, July 2016.