In 1976, on Governor Jerry Brown’s recommendation, the Direct Marketing Code was developed and put into state regulations by Rose Bird, California’s agriculture director. In the intervening 35 years, direct marketing of agricultural products has grown rapidly in California. There are now almost 800 farmers’ markets, over 300 CSAs, and an uncounted number of farm and field stands where consumers can buy directly from farmers.

The original idea of a direct marketing exemption was to free such direct sales from requirements that produce be in standard packs and to allow farmers going to farmers’ markets to avoid inspection points that existed at that time. Direct market sales are not exempt from other state laws, such as quality standards in marketing orders that cover particular crops or groups of crops.

In recent years, specific laws governing farm stands, CSAs, urban gardens, and farmers’ markets have been enacted in California. The brochure “Direct Marketing in California” discusses all of them.

Direct Marketing in California: A Guide for Farmers

This resource explains to farmers who want to participate in direct marketing in California the various laws and regulations that govern the different marketing channels in layman’s terms. The publication also provides some best practice examples and resources for increased market success.