Farmers’ Market Week – A Time to Celebrate Certified Farmers’ Markets
We’re celebrating certified farmers’ markets during National Farmers’ Market Week (August 7 thru 13). In fact, we’re celebrating for the whole month of August!
PCFMA operates only “certified” markets and has over 30 farmers’ markets in the Bay Area. We proudly provide for and support a direct marketing source for over 200 farmers who are certified to participate in our markets. PCFMA markets served over 1.5 million shoppers in 2021, supporting more than 200 California farmers, and over 150 food artisans.
Statewide, there are more than 650 certified farmers’ markets operating in 53 of California’s 58 counties. As might be expected, our most populous county, Los Angeles, has the most farmers’ marketat at 138. The six Bay Area counties in which PCFMA operates have a total of 119 farmers’ markets.
PCFMA’s Executive Director, Allen Moy, says that the state law certifying farmers’ markets is only a part of what makes California’s farmers’ markets special. “In many states, cold wet winters or hot dry summers limit farmers’ markets to only a few months of operation. We are fortunate that California’s varied climate regions and vast acres of productive farmland allow our state’s farmers’ markets to operate year-round with an abundant variety for fresh products for hungry customers.”
The fresh produce you buy at your local farmers’ market stimulates local economies, helps preserve farmland, and increases access to healthy and nutritional food. Farmers’ markets also play an essential role in their communities by creating space for community connections and actively foster more resilient and equitable local food systems. Our Certified Farmers’ Markets provide a great opportunity for small farmers to market their products without the added expenses of commercial preparation. This increases their net income and makes it possible for them to stay in business.
What does it mean to be a certified farmers’ market and why is it so important that you shop ‘certified?’ In short, it means that the produce is delivered to the market directly from the farm and from the growers themselves. In California, only California-grown produce may be certified for sale in our state’s farmers’ markets.
Country agricultural inspectors visit and certify participating farms who are growing crops locally. They also inspect farmers’ markets and review each farmer's documents for accuracy, thereby certifying that the farmers are only selling what they have grown. Every county has their own Agricultural Commissioner's office providing certification for farmers in their counties and inspecting the farmers selling in the markets operating in that county.
It’s important to shop certified because you are assured that the produce you are buying comes directly from the farmers who grew it and that it has been inspected and certified as such. It’s also important to put your money toward those local certified growers who provide their produce for your table each week.
Celebrate Farmers’ Market Week with us by stopping by your local certified farmers’ market and thank your farmers for bringing you the best quality produce they can grow.