Direct Marketing & Farmers Markets

Farmers, also known as producers, may sell their commodities directly to the public through certified farmers’ markets (CFM), restaurants, schools and institutions, community-supported agriculture (CSA), and agritourism venues. 

The Agricultural Commissioner, in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), inspects and certifies producers and farmers’ markets on a regular basis for the enforcement of the California Direct Marketing Regulations regarding the origin of produce sold at the markets.

A current schedule of Certified Markets can be found here.

Selling at a Certified Farmers Market

Farmers wishing to sell at a Certified Farmers Market must become Certified Producers by obtaining a current Certified Producers Certificate from the Agricultural Commissioner. There is an annual fee of $73.63 for this certificate.  

Want to become a certified producer? Download the Certified Producer FAQ document as well as the PDF or excel certificate forms (use the spreadsheet for diversified commodity lists) on this page, and submit to the agricultural department via email to our department. Once your certificate is approved, we will make an appointment for you to come in to have the certificate  issued. Issuance of a certified producers certificate does not guarantee acceptance into a certified farmers market. 

Be sure to read the information sheet and FAQ below for more information about market requirements.  Certified producers may also sell produce from a fieldstand or farmstand, see the next section for the requirements. The Agricultural Commissioner conducts regular inspections of certified producers to verify all growing grounds, ownership of products to eliminate fraud and to maintain standards of quality products.

Certified Farmers Markets

Certified Farmers’ Markets (CFM) must register annually with the county to receive a CFM Certificate. Any CFM application received that has complied with all applicable requirements will be approved.  There is no cost with this registration. A CFM also requires Community Development Permit from Planning, or equivalent City Planning Department; and a permit from Environmental Health.

Be sure to read the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Certified Producer Information Sheet (below) and the FAQ to understand what is required at a CFM; the manager of a CFM is required to uphold all applicable regulations.

Field Stands and Farm Stands

Nevada County Ordinances allow for two types of direct sales outside of a Certified Farmers Market.

Field stands are producer-owned and operated premises located at or near the point of production established in accordance with local ordinances and land use codes. Field retail stands are restricted to only selling fresh, farm-produced fruits, vegetables, nuts and shell eggs, grown by the producer on or near the site. Field retail stands are exempt from standard wholesale size and pack requirements and are exempt from the California Health and Safety Code. Field stands at the point of production do not require a certified producers certificate and no additional permits are required; off-site field stands require an ADP from Planning.

Farm stands are field stands, that sell or offer for sale California agricultural products grown or produced by the producer, and also sell or offer for sale non-potentially hazardous prepackaged food products from an approved source or bottled water or soft drinks. Farm stands allow farmers to sell fresh produce and eggs grown on their farm as well as Processed Agricultural Products made with ingredients produced on or near the farm, thus enhancing their income and the local economy.   Farm stands regardless of location require an ADP from Planning and a permit from Environmental Health.

County Direct Marketing Ordinance

Locations of field and farm stands are limited by zoning and land use codes. Specific ordinance requirements are reviewed in the application packet.  The complete county ordinance governing direct marketing can be found online or reviewed directly.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

The passage of Assembly Bill 224 (Ch. 404, Stats. Of 2013), now Sections 47060 through 47062 of the California Food and Agricultural Code (FAC), authorized the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to adopt regulations establishing a registration program for producers of Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs). It also required the Department, in consultation with the State Department of Public Health (CDPH) and local health offices, to post small farm food safety guidelines. These guidelines include safe production, processing, and handling of both non-potentially and potentially hazardous foods. Nothing in these sections shall be construed to remove the responsibility of a CSA from obtaining all required permits and licenses, including, but not limited to, a produce handler license or a cottage food permit.