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Home > Consumer Protection Division > Program and Services > Certified Farmers' Market Program

Certified Farmers' Market

Last modified: 10/31/2014 5:05 PM


Certified Farmers' Markets (CFM) allow certified producers to sell their agriculture products directly to consumers.  A CFM may only be operated by one or more certified producers, by a nonprofit organization, or by a local government agency.  Both the market and the certified producers must be certified by the State of California through the County Agricultural Commissioner.  There are approximately 35 CFMs that operate in the County of Santa Clara and each market is permitted and inspected by the Department of Environmental Health (DEH).
To start a CFM, contact the County of Santa Clara Department of Agriculture to obtain the proper Certification.  You must operate pursuant to the laws and regulations of the Food and Agricultural Code and all State and Local Laws and ordinances.  Once your market is approved by the Agricultural Commissioner's office, submit your permit application and applicable fees to the DEH at least 2 weeks prior to the market start date. 
CalCode defines the CFM itself as a community event.  It allows Temporary Food Facilities (TFF) to operate as a separate community event (also referred to as a Temporary Event by this department) adjacent to and in conjunction with a CFM that is also operated as a community event.  It requires a separate permit to be obtained for the temporary event if there are two or more TFF operations.

  1.  Permit Applications and Fees:
       a.  For the CFM permit:
          i.  Submit a permit application and applicable permit fee for the   
              CFM permit at least 2 weeks prior to the event start date. 
              Include a site plan showing locations of producer
              booths, food booths, toilet facilities, all waste disposal 
              locations, etc.
       b.  New Requirement:  For the Temporary Event adjacent to the
            CFM (food booths, mobile food facilities) the market manager
            must obtain a CFM Coordinator permit.
          i.  Submit a permit application and applicable permit fee for the 
              CFM Coordinator permit at least 2 weeks prior to the event
              start date.
          ii. New Requirement: Collect application packets and applicable
              fees from TFFs and submit them at least 2 weeks prior to the
              event start date.
2.  Provide a list of any Mobile Food Vendors at your market, including
     their business name and Santa Clara County DEH permit number.
3.  Ensure food vendors and certified producers have the required
     permits and/or certifications and follow all food safety requirements.
4.  Provide greywater disposal systems (new requirement) and garbage
     receptacles on-site for TFFs and certified producers.
5.  Provide toilet facilities for food vendors and their employees. One
     toilet per 15 food handlers is required within 200 feet of food
     operations. This includes the certified producers.
6.  Submit your event packet (applications, forms, site plan, list of Mobile
     Food Facilities, and payment) at least 2 weeks before your event to:

     Department of Environmental Health
     Attn: Certified Farmers’ Markets
     1555 Berger Drive, Suite 300
     San Jose, CA. 95112-2716

Certified producers may sell their certified agricultural products only at CFMs with approval from the market manager.  Individual certified producers are covered under the market manager’s CFM permit and are not required to obtain a separate permit from DEH.  However, processed agricultural products sold by a certified producer may require review and permitting from the DEH.

An annual TFF permit is required of any person or organization that sells or gives away food at a community event approved by this Department (festivals, swap meets, fairs, circuses, public gathering, or CFMs).  All TFF operators must submit a completed permit application, permit fee, and any other required documents to the Market Manager.  The Market Manager must submit them to DEH at least 2 weeks before the start of operation.  Each TFF permit is issued to a specific CFM location and is non-transferable to other markets or individuals.  Permits are categorized by Risk Categories (RC).
TFF RC 1 includes: 
    o Prepackaged, non-potentially hazardous foods (non-PHFs), or 
    o Prepares only non-PHFs.  Examples include prepackaged
       foods/beverages, kettle corn, candies.

TFF RC 2 includes:
    o Food that is for same day service to customers (hamburgers, hot
       dogs, crepes etc.). 
    o Food that is prepared/cooked onsite and served with limited hot or 
       cold holding of potentially hazardous food (PHF) after preparation.
    o Food that is prepared in advance of the event (potato salad, pot
       pies, and tamales) at an approved facility permitted AND permitted
       and inspected by our Department.
    o Cooling of food is not allowed on site. 
    o All prepared food is to be discarded at end of day.

TFF RC3 includes:
    o Food that is prepared in advance of the event (potato salad, pot
       pies, and tamales) at an approved facility not inspected by the
       County of Santa Clara DEH.
    o Extensive menus with the handling and preparation of raw
        ingredients or complex preparation which includes cooking, cooling
        and reheating.
    o Food that is prepared for multi-day use.
Note:  A processor of general food commodities (e.g. baked goods, noodles, processed fresh vegetables, seafood, snack foods, dietary supplements, etc.) must obtain a Processed Food Registration (PFR) from the state Food and Drug Branch.  The PFR is needed prior to obtaining a TFF permit from the DEH.  For more information, visit the state website: Processed Food Registration 

Selling food without the necessary permits may result in immediate closure of the food facility, issuance of a misdemeanor citation, possible fines and denial of future permits.
Description Applications and fees received at least 2 weeks before event Late submittals less than 2 weeks before event
CFM (for the certified producers) 1-20 Certified Producers $847.00 $1,058.75
> 20 Certified Producers $1,139.00 $1,423.75
CFM Coordinator Permit (for the food booths) 1-10 TFF’s $172.00 $215.00
11-20 TFF’s $252.00 $315.00
>20 TFF’S $343.00 $428.75
Temporary Food Facility TFF, Annual RC1 $99.00 $123.75
TFF, Annual RC2 $202.00 $252.50
TFF, Annual RC3 $241.00 $301.25
                                                                                          Effective 7/1/12

For more information or questions regarding CFMs contact:
Christy Kaufman, REHS - Senior Environmental Health Specialist
(Tuesdays through Fridays) or (408) 918-3478