What is a Certified Farmers’ Market?
The certified farmers market concept is an effort to re-establish the traditional link between farmers and consumers in California. Put simply, certified farmers’ markets (CFM’s) are “the real thing”, places where genuine farmers sell their crops directly to the public. It is where the agrarian community relates to the urban community.
More specifically, a CFM is a location approved by the county agricultural commissioner where certified farmers offer for sale only those agricultural products they grow themselves. California Certified Farmers’ Markets are operated in accordance with regulations established in 1977 by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Only a handful of CFM’s were in the California direct marketing program back then. There are over 350 communities with Certified Farmers Markets in the State now and the number is growing every year.
Certified Farmers Markets provide multiple benefits for small farmers, consumers and the community. For farmers, the certified farmers markets provide an outlet especially suited to moving smaller volumes of produce, thus creating a marketing channel outside of the traditional large volume distribution systems. CFM’s also allow farmers to sell field run produce not restricted to pack and grade standards. This enables the farmer to sell tree ripened fruit which is too delicate for the packing and shipping process. It also increases profits for the farmers because of the cost savings.
Consumer benefits at CFM’s are considerable. The number one reason consumers shop at Certified Farmers’ Markets is quality. Fresh picked, vine and tree ripened quality produce continues to attract regular patronage at the CFM’s in California today. Cost savings is also attractive to customers. This is possible because the direct sales by farmers to the consumer eliminates the cost of middleman marketing.
Communities benefit from CFM’s in many ways. Certified Farmers Markets are non profit community service organizations which contribute to the social and economic welfare of the town or city they operate in. The markets produce a strong sense of community identity, bringing people from diverse ethnic and other backgrounds together. They also serve to unite the urban and rural segments of the population. This rare meeting of farmers and consumers serves as an educational experience whereby customers learn about their food sources, have access to nutritional information, engage in a multi-cultural experience and become aware of agricultural issues. CFM’s truly have become the face and spirit of the communities they serve.
Certified Farmers Markets in Oxnard:
Farmers Market – Plaza Park
(Every Thursday 9am-1pm)
“C” Street and Fifth Street – Plaza Park Downtown Oxnard
For further information call (805) 483-7960
Farmers Market – Channel Islands Harbor
(Every Sunday 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M)
3600 S. Harbor Boulevard – adjacent to Marine Emporium Landing Shopping Center
Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard
For further information call (805) 985-4852
California Federation of Farmers Markets [http://www.cafarmersmarkets.com/]