California Bill Aims for Quality Control at Farmers Markets
A California bill to police the standards of farmers markets throughout the state has passed through the state Assembly and is now up for consideration by the state Senate. If the bill passes, certified farmers market vendors will be subject to an increased daily stall fee of $2, up from 60 cents according to The Los Angeles Times.
Agricultural products sold by market stalls — including fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, honey, livestock, or “any other fresh or processed product produced in California” — that are found to be “false, deceptive, or misleading” may lead to fines between $100 and $3,000, up to six months imprisonment, or both.[related]
Since the late ‘90s, the number of farmers markets in California has reportedly grown from 300 to 800. And although new markets have provided more access for farmers and shoppers alike, “they have also cannibalized existing markets,” says The LA Times.
The advent of profitable buzzwords like “fresh,” “local,” and “organic” have inspired other businesses to take advantage of the cachet, and instead of farmers providing direct access to consumers, groceries and restaurants have taken on the role of providing farmers market produce.
Only recently did Los Angeles county’s agricultural commissioner begin a serious effort to police unsavory practices, like market stalls that resell produce purchased from elsewhere.
If passed into law, the bill will raise an estimated $1.35 million, which will be used for local and state quality control efforts.
Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.