Certified Farmers' Market Program FAQ
1. Who is a Certified Producer?
A producer authorized by the County Agricultural Commissioner to sell certified agricultural products, produced by practice of the agricultural arts upon land which the certified producer controls, directly to consumers or to individuals, organizations, or entities that subsequently sell or distribute the products directly to end users, at a certified farmers' market.
2. How do I get a Certified Producer's Certificate (CPC)?
A producer may become certified by applying to the Agricultural Commissioner of the county where the producer's farm is located. A producer who farms in more than one county must be certified in each county where he/she produces certifiable agricultural products for sale at a certified farmers' market. If you are farming in Santa Barbara County and are interested in becoming a Certified Producer, follow the steps below.
• Fill out an application form online and we will be contacted by the State or complete an application
and contact us at one of our office locations.
• An inspector will review your application and arrange for a site visit.
• Review the California Small Farm Food Safety Guidelines.
• During the site visit, the inspector will verify the information shown on your application including the commodity and variety, estimated yield, estimated production, and seasonal availability. They will also inspect storage areas and review any additional requiements that pertain to you. If you do not own the land on which you are farming you will be asked to provide a notarized lease agreement.
• The inspector will contact you about when to pick up the CPC at one of our office locations.
• During pick up, you will be required to pay the certificate fee, and sign the CPC. You will be provided with embossed photocopies which will serve as your valid certified producer's certificate.
3. How long is my CPC valid?
Your certificate is valid for one year and must be renewed annually.
4. Does the CPC guarantee me a place at the Certified Farmers' Market (CFM)?
No, Market Managers make that decision. However you must have a CPC to sell at a CFM. Some of the CFMs are very popular and may have a waiting list. Therefore, it is highly recommended you contact the Market Manager before submitting your CPC application.
6. What commodities can be listed on my certified producer's certificate?
Only certified agricultural products can be listed on your certified producer's certificate. Agricultural products include fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables, shell eggs, honey, flowers, and nursery stock.
Non-certifiable agricultural products include all certified agricultural products that have been processed from any tree, vine or plant and their flowers, livestock (including rabbits) and livestock products, and fish and shellfish produced under controlled conditions in waters or ponds located in California. Though non-certifiable agricultural commodities cannot be listed on your certificate in their processed form, the raw products from which they were produced must be listed on the certified producer's certificate. Therefore, they must have also been produced or derived from plants or animals raised or produced by the producer.
Processed products may include, or have added to them, a limited number of ingredients or additives which act only as preservatives or are essential in the preparation of the product. Examples include pickles and cucumbers in a brine or vinegar solution for curing or pickling, natural smoking of meat or poultry for drying and preserving, flavorings such as smokehouse, hickory, or jalapeno added to shelled nuts which do not change the visual identity of the product, sulfites added to dried fruits and vegetables, and sugar, fruit juices, and pectin added to fruits to make jams and jellies.
7. How do I make an amendment to my CPC?
If you need to make an amendment to your CPC, please submit an application form with a list of commodities/varieties to be added or removed from your CPC. For each commodity/variety to be added, please list the amount/acreage of production, harvest season (in months), and estimated production. An inspector will contact you to verify the production of the commodities to be added. Once the inspector has completed the amendments, you can stop by the office and pick up embossed copies. There is no fee to amend your CPC.
8. I want to make processed products in my kitchen and sell them. What should I do?
For information on Cottage Food Act and becoming a Cottage Food Operation, please visit these websites:
California Department of Public Health / Santa Barbara County Public Health Department
9. How can I become a vendor at a Certified Farmers' Market (CFM) in Santa Barbara County?
If you have a CPC and would like to sell at a particular market in Santa Barbara County, please contact the market directly.
10. How do I start a CFM in Santa Barbara County?
If you are interested in starting a certified farmers' market in Santa Barbara County, please fill out the online application and provide all the required information. An inspector will review your application and contact you with any questions. Once your application is approved, a Certified Farmers' Market Certificate will be issued to you or your organization. You will be required to pay the associated fee when you pick up your copy of the certificate at our office. Your certificate is valid for one year and must be renewed annually.
Please read the below regulations to understand your responsibilities as a Certified Farmers' Market Operator.
§ 1392.9. Direct Marketing, Compliance Requirements for the Operator of a Certified Farmers' Market.
11. How do I file a complaint against a Certified Producer or a CFM?
If you would like to file a complaint against a certified producer or certified farmers' market, you can fill out the online complaint form and submit it to CDFA or to our office. You can also call our office and ask to speak to an inspector who will take the complaint information from you.