The California Farmers’ Markets Association (CFMA) hosts certified Farmers’ markets for the community, farmers, and producers. The markets serve as a marketing arm bringing thousands of visits of the primary trade on a regular basis to a business district.
The California Farmers’ Markets Association is a mutual benefit corporation providing Certified Farmers’ Markets for the Bay Area since 1994 and is known for its ability to create an atmosphere of community in a marketplace.
The California Farmers’ Markets have been voted by the readers of the San Jose Mercury News, Mountain View Voice, Walnut Creek Magazine, and other local newspapers as the “Best Place to Buy Produce”, and has won National, state and regional awards by the American Farmland Trust in America’s Favorite Farmers’ Market.
The California Farmers’ Markets are known for their ability to showcase high quality, trend setting fruits and vegetables which have provided a source of education for numerous food editors and writers around the country who come to the Farmers’ Markets just to learn about the new explosion of varieties that are offered. In this sense the farmers’ markets have been a trendsetter in introducing new varieties into the marketplace.
The California Farmers’ Markets have an extensive special event and promotion program. These include annual fruit festivals, the monthly comparative tasting events, cooking and gardening demonstrations, and annual Harvest Festivals and the Foliday Harvest Celebration Fairs. The Association serves to promote the nationwide 5-A-Day healthy eating program for children and has alligned itself with the Let’s Move program fighting childhood obesity.
Since 1993, the California Farmers’ Markets Association has been managing certified farmers’ markets throughout the San Francisco Bay Area: San Leandro at Bayfair Mall, San Francisco at Fort Mason Center, San Francisco at Crocker Galleria, Daly City at Serramonte Center, Blossom Hill at Princeton Plaza Mall in San Jose, the Villages in San Jose, Mountain View, Saratoga, Morgan Hill, Rossmoor in Walnut Creek, and Diablo Valley in Walnut Creek.
“Certified Farmers’ Markets” and “Certified Producers” are certified and regulated by State of California law. It is illegal for farmers to buy and re-sell agricultural products at a Certified Farmers’ Market. A Certified Farmers’ Market is a location, certified by the Agricultural Commissioner, where a producer sells only thier own fruits and vegetables directly to consumers. A Certified Farmers’ Market may only be operated by a local government, a certified producer or a non-profit organization. Certified Producers enjoy the exemptions of certain State regulations that require strict packing, labeling, size and grading standards. These exemptions foster the freshness and product availability that enjances every Certified Farmers’ Market in California.
Each farmers or other agricultural producer must carry in transit and post at the Certified Farmers’ market a copy of his/her Certified Producer’s Certifiecate, which is provided by the farmer’s production county agricultural commissioner.
Benefits of Farmers’ Markets
There are over 700 Certified Farmers’ Markets in California. California Farmers’ Markets Association’s system of 14 markets serves over 26,000 households each week. The markets are outlets where consumer’s benefits include:
- Obtain farm-fresh fruits and vegetables that travel a shorter farm-to-table trip.
- Purchase directly from a family farm.
- Obtain cultural/specialty fruits and vegetables not easily available in supermarkets.
- Purchase of local products, which strengthen the local economy while decreasing the demand on transportation from outlying areas.
Farmers’ Benefits include:
- Access to outlets where tree-ripened and vine-ripened produce is in high demand.
- Access to immediate cash payment.
- A place to sell heirloom and antique and/or specialty crops (such as thin-skinned high moisture Babcock peaches that cannot withstand the stress of shipping, sweet potato leaves used for stir-fry, etc.).
- A place to sell smaller quantities not usually accepted on the shipping channel(s).
CFMA reserves over 700 stalls for farmers each week during the peak agricultural season throught its system of 14 certified farmers’ markets. An additional database of over 3,000 certified growers and an active “referral” system supported by our member growers assist the CFMA in supplying the markets. The market product mix is pre-determined each year by the annual reservation system.
The addition of specialty food purveyors to the certified farmers’ markets origniated year back when markets wanted to add “non-certifiable farm products”, direct from the producer, to their product mix at the market. These items include honey, cut flowers, dried nuts and jams. Since then, most of these items have become certifieable and are included in the “certified area” of the markets.