California Market Regs

katydid85(8)December 13, 2012

I'm a smaller backyard grower who wants to get started in selling at the local farmers market. Its only 10 weeks in the summer, so I thought it would be a good starting point.

I've been trying my best to google/ask around what kind of permits or certs i need to legally sell my produce, and its sent me into a whirlwind of "non answers"

Any other californians out here that sell at market? What do I need to do to get started? (business license etc...)

I plan on selling fresh veggies and eggs. Any input would be GREATLY appreciated!

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Check with your local extension office. They either will know or be able to refer you. Around here, each county or town has different rules. You might also check with a local farmers market.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 9:10PM
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I cant get ahold of anyone this time of year for the local farmers market (really small town). I didnt know if it was standardized by state or???

In general, do I need a ficticious business name (tax purposes?) any california certificates, etc.

I'm just trying to be ahead of the game so I dont freak out a month before market starts, lol

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 9:49PM
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Hello, Katydid,
I am in southern California participating in a year round market and a few others here and there. I have produce and eggs.

You still need to check with your agriculture dept. they have the standards and certification authority and the market managers expect vendors to comply. We have an inspection of our farms once a year or more. They verify that you are growing what you are selling. That has cost me $135 per trip. If you don't need any of this the ag people can tell you. They are in most peoples experience, not bad to deal with at all.

It costs $130 a year to get my scale certified, but you don't have to have a scale if you don't sell by weight. I find it to be a good tool. Dept. of weights and measures does the scale.

I have 100 laying hens and sell the eggs, of course. I never sell them anywhere other than the markets with my certifications in hand. I don't know if I am certified to sell them elsewhere but I don't mess around with the eggs.
The local agricultural dept. gave me instructions on how to apply for an egg handlers license with the state of California. It was 15 bucks, I think I had to certify that I read their rules. No test was applied. You have to give them an affidavit regarding egg production.. Each year at some point they send out a bill to collect $.06 per thirty dozen eggs sold.

Most municipalities want you to have a business license. In some you don't need it if you are a veteran or they are lax about it which is what I see.

I did get a fictitious business name and a matching business checking account, but co-mingle household farm income and expenses with our family finances more than anything. I do keep track of all farm stuff and hold receipts. Taxes were easy, it is a one page schedule but check with your tax preparer. I don't do quarterlies or anything else. We are talking about not much money.

I hope that helps. I am busy tomorrow but will check back on the thread later.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 1:37AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Why does it cost you to have someone check you are producing what you sell? We have just had one visit from our coordinator to look at our crops.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 12:56PM
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Because this is Califonia, it costs something to sneeze.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 1:14PM
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Thank you for that advice! I at least have a starting point on what I need to look into. I don't plan on getting a certified scale my first year- and i might not ever with how small I am.

A couple of questions:
The annual $135 agricultural department fee... is this required by all market growers? I'm trying to gauge costs/benefits of doing a 10 week ($60 for the stand, plus $135 for an annual cert???) Seems like it might not be advantageous for me to do.

Also, the 0.06/30 dozen... is this through the ag department as well? Do you just keep a log of how many you sell, or just on average how many dozen on average you get through in a certain amount of time?

Thanks for taking the time to help me, its a little intimidating getting started, but its something that I fully enjoy doing, and might as well try to make a few extra bucks to pay for my ever expanding garden :)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 8:05PM
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The annual fee included a trip fee and I live in the boonies. This is for the 'Certified Producer' certificate that lists everything that I am growing plus the eggs. This is San Diego county, but I think the the state has built the template and counties follow.

It's a little tricky get the inspection done only once since you wouldn't be growing all things at the same time. I set my inspection up it for March so that I could have remnants of cool season plants and the beginnings of warm season plants. They certified pretty much anything I was growing(including in seedling trays), just finished growing, or even just planted seeds on my property as long as there was a label stuck in the dirt, plus the eggs. The people are nice to work with.

The costs are a drag. It's difficult being new at most anything though. When you get rolling they are all paid for quickly. The eggs fee is with the state. You can start learning about that here.

The money is nominal, .06 doesn't add up to much. I save all my load sheets from markets and will add them up when the bill comes.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 12:26PM
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