Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
  • Performance is Guaranteed.

Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Produce Markets Rated Highest in Quality?

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a produce market that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified fruit and produce market. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated local produce market and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Santa Clara County – Produce Market CATEGORY

James Kozy is general manager of De Martini Orchard, a Diamond Certified company since 2010. He can be reached at (650) 720-5963 or by email.

James Kozy

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

James Kozy: Staying Fresh

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

LOS ALTOS — James Kozy spent much of his childhood hanging around his father’s produce market—mostly wreaking small-scale havoc, by his account. It wasn’t until later in life that he learned what it truly meant to reap the fruits of one’s labors…in his case, quite literally. “My dad, Craig, started this business in 1985, so I was pretty much born into it,” he recounts. “As a little kid, I used to hang around the market, just messing around and scaring the register girls. When I got a little older, my dad started having me trim corn in the back, and things progressed from there. Later, while attending San Francisco State University, I worked at a Whole Foods Market, where I was exposed to another side of the produce industry. After college, I returned home and started working for my dad’s business full time.”

Today, as manager of De Martini Orchard, James appreciates the opportunity to apply his college education to his family’s business. “As a communications major, I’ve enjoyed taking over the marketing here, which includes handling our social media accounts and print ads, among other things.” However, at the end of the day, James says his favorite part of his job is interacting with the market’s customers. “Sometimes people come in and are unsure of what they should buy or what’s in season, so I enjoy educating them and passing on the knowledge about what we do.”

A resident of Sunnyvale, James deems the Bay Area an ideal location for someone in his line of work—and anyone who loves fresh produce, for that matter. “California is basically in the heartland of the produce industry,” he says. “The diversity of the fruits and vegetables we have here is pretty amazing. I’ll get customers visiting from the East Coast who are totally blown away by all the items we have that they’ve never seen before.”

Outside of work, James spends the bulk of his time engaged in outdoor activities. “I really like going camping and mountain biking, and lately I’ve been getting into rock climbing,” he affirms. “Locally, I like spending time at the Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area, but when I get a chance, I love going down to Joshua Tree National Park.” Considering his profession, it’s no surprise that James also enjoys cooking at home. “With all the great foods we have around here, it’s fun to bring stuff home and tinker around in the kitchen, seeing what works and what doesn’t.”

In his life and career, James espouses a simple yet relevant philosophy. “Stay fresh,” he says. “The world is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay current with the times. I’m always looking for the next big thing, particularly if it’s something that will enrich my life and the lives of others.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite fruit?
A: Depending on the time of year, either a plum or a mango.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Jose Sharks.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: South America.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Hanamaru in Sunnyvale.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Broken-down bicycles. I like to tinker with them, take them apart and put them back together.

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The Benefits of Buying Local Produce

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LOS ALTOS — When it comes to selecting produce, one simple principle can optimize your eating experience: Buy local. Since local produce is always in season, it’s fresher and tastes better. Consumers tend to assume that most produce items are available year-round,… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Benefits of Eating Local Produce

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Complete Video Transcription:

LOS ALTOS — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you want to enjoy the freshest produce, support local commerce and shrink your carbon footprint at the same time, it’s time… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

meats
poultry
local juices
dried fruit
cheeses
eggs
nuts
mushrooms
berries
spices
fruits
vegetables
milk
flowers

wholesale produce
organic food delivery
organic meat
free range eggs
organic dairy products
farm produce
specialty foods
ethnic foods
gourmet local foods
organic produce
local produce
bulk food sales
farm fresh fruits & vegetables
farmers market stands

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Know What You Want
What to Ask Yourself Before Shopping for Local Santa Clara Produce Markets

Think about the types of produce, meats or dairy you and your family eat most often. Consider any changes you'd like to make in the types of food you eat, such as adding more organic, non-GMO, local or hormone-free foods to your diet. Finally, think about what services or attention you expect from your Santa Clara County produce market or community market.

The questions below will get you started as you begin your search for a good produce market in San Jose, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Milpitas, Palo Alto District, Cupertino, Gilroy, Campbell and Morgan Hill or your area of Santa Clara County.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified produce market that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
  2. Am I looking for specific fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products or artisan products?
  3. Do I want foods that are locally-sourced, organic, non-GMO, vegan, vegetarian, grown using biodynamic methods, or grown using sustainable farming methods?
  4. Is it important to me that the meats I buy are grass-fed, hormone free and/or free-range?
  5. Do I want to shop at a local produce market or community market that pays its workers and suppliers a living wage?
  6. Am I looking for a full-service produce market that can provide groceries as well as fruit baskets, cheese plates, deli products or other ready-made items?
  7. Do I have an expectation for how much assistance the staff should be able to provide, whether they can answer questions about the produce, and their customer service skills?
  8. How far am I willing to travel to visit a produce market in Santa Clara County?
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What To Ask In Person
What to Discuss with Local Produce Market Staff in Person

Most community produce markets are easy to navigate and operate much the same as other grocery stores. Still, you may have some questions about the unique Santa Clara County produce markets you visit or products you see on the shelves, whether you're in Milpitas, Palo Alto, Cupertino, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Gilroy or rural areas.

The questions below are just a few you may find helpful to ask before and during your shopping trip.

  1. Which fruits, vegetables, meats and other items do you offer that meet the criteria I'm looking for (non-GMO, free-range, grass-fed, pesticide-free, antibiotic-free, organic, non-spray, locally sourced, etc.)?
  2. How does your store label organic, non-GMO or pesticide-free foods?
  3. Does your store label local foods differently than those that travel a long distance?
  4. How do you select the products you sell in your Santa Clara County community market?
  5. Which seasonal products are the best buy right now?
  6. Do you sell items in bulk if I want to can, preserve or freeze fresh produce for use in the winter months or off-season?
  7. Do you offer bakery items, fruit baskets, nut trays, cheese trays or other pre-made items?
  8. Do you also sell artisan items such as homemade bakery goods, jams, candies or crafts?
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  • What To Ask References
    Learn From Customers and Suppliers of Santa Clara Community Markets

    All Diamond Certified companies, including local produce markets and community markets in Gilroy, Cupertino, Campbell, Palo Alto, Milpitas and the rest of Santa Clara County, have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass.

    If you want quality products from a produce market in Santa Clara County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified community market. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified produce market near you, you’ll probably want to do some research on your own. One step may be calling some customer or vendor references provided by your local produce market, especially if you are looking for specific produce items or business practices.

    Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by Santa Clara County produce markets are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. So if you do call references on your own, ask for a list of the company’s most recent customers or vendors. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    Questions you may want to ask include the following:

    1. How long have you been a customer or vendor of (local produce market name)?
    2. What do you like best about shopping at this local community market?
    3. Do you feel that this local market has the produce you are looking for?
    4. Is this produce market reliably stocked with good quality merchandise?
    5. If you are looking for non-GMO, organic, vegan, pesticide-free, free-range or all-natural foods, are you easily able to find these foods in your produce market?
    6. Do you feel the staff is well-versed in the produce sold at this market? Are they able to help you with selection of fruits, vegetables and meats if needed?
    7. Does this Santa Clara County produce market clearly label food that is farmed using traditional methods (including pesticides and GMOs) versus organic, pesticide-free, antibiotic-free, free-range or food farmed using special methods?
    8. Do you/would you recommend this Santa Clara County produce market to friends and family?
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  • Review Your Options
    Support Good Produce Markets in Santa Clara County

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Review the following questions to confirm that you have found the best produce market in Santa Clara County for you, including those in San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View and Milpitas, Stanford, Los Gatos, East Palo Alto, Holy City, Blossom Valley and Monte Sereno.

    1. Is there a produce market near you that offers the type of fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and other products you're looking for?
    2. Can this community market provide products that are organic, local, free-range, heirloom, pesticide-free, vine-ripened, free of antibiotics, or any other products that are grown in a way and location that's important to me?
    3. Does the Santa Clara County produce market have a convenient location and hours?
    4. Are the prices fair for the value and quality of the fruits, veggies, dairy products and meats that I purchase from this Santa Clara County produce market?
    5. Is that staff helpful and knowledgeable about the food and products available at the local community market near me?

    If the answers to the above questions are yes, then you've found a good community market that can keep you happy and eating healthfully.

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  • How To Work With
    Understand the Labels at Produce Markets in Santa Clara County

    Community markets and local produce retailers use many of the same terms you'd find in any good produce supermarket or grocery store. Still, some of these terms are misunderstood or confusing to customers.

    The glossary at the bottom of this page is an excellent resource to demystify some terms often used by produce sellers. The following article can also help you become a more savvy shopper at Santa Clara County produce markets, including those in Sunnyvale, San Jose, Campbell, Gilroy, Morgan Hill and beyond.

    What Natural Means to Santa Clara County Produce Markets
    Many people strive to eat more natural foods, but there is no set standard for labeling foods as “natural”. The general understanding is that products and foods marked “natural” or “all natural” are as close as possible to their natural state and have been minimally processed, if at all.

    Meat products are the only items for which a definition of the word “natural” exists from the USDA. In these cases, natural meat is required to be free from artificial flavors, colors, chemical preservatives or other synthetic ingredients, but producers and farmers are left to their own honor for natural products, as the USDA does not verify these claims.

    The Real Meaning of “Local Food”
    Local foods, also known as the locovore movement, have become increasingly popular in Santa Clara County and the Greater Bay Area, including San Jose, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Milpitas, Palo Alto District, Cupertino, Gilroy, Campbell and Morgan Hill and other towns.

    Traditionally, local foods are those that were grown or raised near the point of consumption. That often translates into fresher food that has traveled a lesser distance, with may mean a smaller carbon footprint and more money remaining in the local economy.

    However, it is important to remember that there are no set standards for what “local” really means. Local may mean the immediate city, county, state, region or country, depending on the Santa Clara County produce market or seller making the claims.

    Many foods marked “local” in California do indeed come from within the state, since California is a verdant farming area with a moderate climate. You should talk with your community market staff, check labels or ask where individual products come from if eating locally is important to you.

    Why Choose Free-Range or Grass Fed Meats?
    Meats, poultry, dairy and eggs that are labeled free-range, grass-fed or pastured are preferred by some customers because the animals of origin may have lived healthier lives than those in factory farms.

    The term “free range” implies that the product comes from animals that were raised in open air environments with room to roam. However, it's important to know that free range claims are not regulated when it comes to eggs and red meats. The USDA does regulate free range claims on poultry, but it only requires that the birds have access to the outdoors for at least some time each day.

    Grass fed and pastured animals are those that have a significant percentage of their calories provided by pasture grasses. Their diets may be supplemented by grains, and there is no regulations as to the exact percentage or manner in which the grasses are fed to the animals.

    If it is important to you that your meats, dairy or eggs come from animals that had access to open air or free-range feeding, talk with the Santa Clara County produce market staff about their suppliers' standards for raising cattle and poultry.

    What is Organic and No-Spray?
    Purchasing organic foods can be confusing for consumers because of recent changes in the labeling and certification process. Technically, organic foods are those that are farmed in ways that restore and maintain the land, water and air. This reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides because the plants are healthier and can better resists pests and disease on their own. All fertilizers and other materials used in the growing process are low- or no-polluters that break down easily in the natural soil.

    The USDA's National Organic program seeks to certify all products that are sold with the organic labeling. However, some farmers choose not to seek organic certification because of the cost of certification, personal feelings about certification regulations and the time investment in becoming certified.

    Instead, many farmers in Santa Clara County and beyond practice organic and sustainable growing methods without using the certified organic label. These farmers may label their products as chemical free, no-spray, biodynamically grown, or even transitional organic in the event that they are in the midst of attaining their organic certification.

    How Heirloom and Heritage Produce Differs from Other Fruits, Vegetables and Meats
    Heirloom products are those that have been bred for generations, and carefully developed for their unique textures, colors and flavors. Many heirloom fruits and vegetables are quite different from their factory farmed cousins, and some consumers prize heirloom foods for their unique attributes.

    Similarly, heritage foods are carefully bred from rare or nearly-extinct breeds of animals and vegetables. These products also differ greatly from mass-produced foods in terms of colors, flavors, textures and variety.

    Heirloom and heritage products are often harder to find and may be more expensive than factory farmed alternatives because they generally produce smaller yields and are more delicate, so they are harder to ship long distances. Most heirloom and heritage plants and animals are farmed in the local area in which they are sold because of travel concerns.

    If you are interested in heirloom and heritage items, talk with local produce market staff in Gilroy, Cupertino, Campbell, Palo Alto, Milpitas and other areas to confirm that they can provide the items you're looking for.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be a Good Produce Market Customer?

    Being a good customer means having respect for and treating the staff at local Santa Clara County produce markets professionally. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when visiting community markets in Santa Clara County, including those in San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View and Milpitas and smaller areas including Redwood Estates, San Martin, Los Altos Hills, Alviso, Monte Vista and Los Gatos.

    • Be clear with the staff at Santa Clara County community markets. Let them know what you are looking for, what services you expect and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
    • Don't assume. Ask questions about the produce, dairy, meats and artisan items. Give the staff a chance to share with you why their products are different.
    • If you don't see what you want, ask. Let the produce markets in Santa Clara County know if you are looking for something in particular (organic foods, hormone-free meats, no-spray vegetables, local produce, specific heirloom products, or more natural foods, for example) and ask if they can special order items for you.
    • Consider buying locally whenever possible. Learn what Santa Clara County produce markets offer when it comes to produce, meats, bulk items, seasonal items, artisan products, pre-made foods, etc. and turn to them for these items when you can.
    • Pay for your produce promptly if you order bulk products or special order items.
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Check The Work
Review Your Purchases and the Cost of Each

As with any purchase, you're smart to watch the cashier total up the produce you've purchased to ensure that the prices being charged are what were listed for each item. You may also want to check over your receipt before leaving the store. That way you'll be able to ask questions right away if you notice any discrepancies, double charges, or charges for items that you didn't purchase.

Most produce markets in Santa Clara County will provide a receipt that includes the following

  • An itemized list of all items purchased.
  • The total cost for all items purchased.
  • An acknowledgment that your bill was paid in full.
  • The details and procedures of any return or warranty clauses on merchandise in the event that you're not satisfied.
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Written Warranties
Popular Items Available at Santa Clara County Produce Markets

There are thousands of items available at local produce markets in Santa Clara County, including those in Sunnyvale, San Jose, Campbell, Gilroy, Morgan Hill and other areas. However, some are more popular than others.

The items below are some that customers are more likely to seek out and buy at local produce stores.

There are thousands of items available at local produce markets in Santa Clara County, including those in Sunnyvale, San Jose, Campbell, Gilroy, Morgan Hill and other areas. However, some are more popular than others.

The items below are some that customers are more likely to seek out and buy at local produce stores.

Sustainable Foods
Sustainable foods, including fruits, vegetables and meats, are those that are grown using sustainable methods. This may include no-pesticides or low-pesticides, biodynamic growing methods, organic or non-GMO growing methods. Most sustainable foods are harvested, produced, processed, and distributed in ways that maintain or improve the quality of the land and air. Most sustainable growing operations are committed to paying workers a living wage for the growth, production, harvesting, handling and processing the food.

Local Dairy Products
Local dairy products are those grown locally. This may include farmstead cheese that is produced by the same farmers who raise the cows that provide the milk. Local dairy poducts may be non-GMO, organic and all natural. Local dairy products include local milk, cream, yogurt, ice cream, cheese and butter.

Organic Products in Santa Clara County
Organic fruits, vegetables, meats and eggs are those grown without the use of pesticides or other chemical agents. Organic products that are certified organic have undergone a rigorous testing process, but not all no-spray or non-certified organic products are certified organic, even if they may meet the same standards.

Local Produce / Fresh Produce
Local produce is fruits and vegetables that are grown, processed and sold locally. Local produce is more likely to be fresh than produce that's trucked or shipped in from out of state or another country. Most local produce in Santa Clara County comes from San Jose, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Milpitas, Palo Alto District, Cupertino, Gilroy, Campbell and Morgan Hill and other local areas, but may come from other counties within California, so ask how local each item is if buying local is important to you.

Artisan Products from Santa Clara County
Locally produced items that are made by hand and in small batches are considered artisan goods. These may include beverages such as beer and liquor, baked goods such as breads and sweets, and other items like jam, candies, cheeses, and non-food crafts. Many local produce markets sell some artisan products that are made in the local community from local items.

Local Meats
Meat that is farmed locally is known as local meats. This may include grass-fed beef and pork, free-range meats, non- GMO meat, heritage meats and other specialty meat, or may simply reflect animals that are farmed in the local area. Ask your retailer what “local” means to them.

Farm-Fresh Eggs
Farm-fresh eggs are traditionally those that come directly to the retailer from the farmer. However, the term “farm fresh” has become a marketing term, so it may not always reflect food that is farm-direct. Ask your retailer if the eggs you are considering purchasing are indeed farm-fresh and locally-sourced if that's important to you.

Free-Range Meat from Santa Clara County
Free range meats are those produced from animals that are allowed to graze or roam freely. The USDA regulates some free-range meat claims, however, it only mandates that the animals have some access to the out-of-doors, and does not regulate the amount of time they can roam. Free range or grass-fed meats may be healthier than those farmed using traditional methods, depending on the quality of pasture time and grasses fed.

Non-GMO Produce
Produce grown in Santa Clara County, including that in Milpitas, Palo Alto, Cupertino, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Gilroy, without the use of genetically modified organisms is known as non-GMO produce. Genetically modified organisms are those that have been modified by removing desired traits from the genetic structure of plants or animals and then implanted into the genetic structure of another plant or animal. GMO tampering is allowed in conventional farming methods.

Heirloom and Heritage Products
Heirloom food items are those that have been passed down for generations. These are known for having colors, flavors and other properties not usually found in factory farmed foods. Heritage produce and meats are those derived from endangered and rare breeds of plants and animals.

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Top 10 Requests
Popular Items Available at Santa Clara County Produce Markets

There are thousands of items available at local produce markets in Santa Clara County, including those in Sunnyvale, San Jose, Campbell, Gilroy, Morgan Hill and other areas. However, some are more popular than others.

The items below are some that customers are more likely to seek out and buy at local produce stores.

Sustainable Foods
Sustainable foods, including fruits, vegetables and meats, are those that are grown using sustainable methods. This may include no-pesticides or low-pesticides, biodynamic growing methods, organic or non-GMO growing methods. Most sustainable foods are harvested, produced, processed, and distributed in ways that maintain or improve the quality of the land and air. Most sustainable growing operations are committed to paying workers a living wage for the growth, production, harvesting, handling and processing the food.

Local Dairy Products
Local dairy products are those grown locally. This may include farmstead cheese that is produced by the same farmers who raise the cows that provide the milk. Local dairy poducts may be non-GMO, organic and all natural. Local dairy products include local milk, cream, yogurt, ice cream, cheese and butter.

Organic Products in Santa Clara County
Organic fruits, vegetables, meats and eggs are those grown without the use of pesticides or other chemical agents. Organic products that are certified organic have undergone a rigorous testing process, but not all no-spray or non-certified organic products are certified organic, even if they may meet the same standards.

Local Produce / Fresh Produce
Local produce is fruits and vegetables that are grown, processed and sold locally. Local produce is more likely to be fresh than produce that's trucked or shipped in from out of state or another country. Most local produce in Santa Clara County comes from San Jose, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Milpitas, Palo Alto District, Cupertino, Gilroy, Campbell and Morgan Hill and other local areas, but may come from other counties within California, so ask how local each item is if buying local is important to you.

Artisan Products from Santa Clara County
Locally produced items that are made by hand and in small batches are considered artisan goods. These may include beverages such as beer and liquor, baked goods such as breads and sweets, and other items like jam, candies, cheeses, and non-food crafts. Many local produce markets sell some artisan products that are made in the local community from local items.

Local Meats
Meat that is farmed locally is known as local meats. This may include grass-fed beef and pork, free-range meats, non- GMO meat, heritage meats and other specialty meat, or may simply reflect animals that are farmed in the local area. Ask your retailer what “local” means to them.

Farm-Fresh Eggs
Farm-fresh eggs are traditionally those that come directly to the retailer from the farmer. However, the term “farm fresh” has become a marketing term, so it may not always reflect food that is farm-direct. Ask your retailer if the eggs you are considering purchasing are indeed farm-fresh and locally-sourced if that's important to you.

Free-Range Meat from Santa Clara County
Free range meats are those produced from animals that are allowed to graze or roam freely. The USDA regulates some free-range meat claims, however, it only mandates that the animals have some access to the out-of-doors, and does not regulate the amount of time they can roam. Free range or grass-fed meats may be healthier than those farmed using traditional methods, depending on the quality of pasture time and grasses fed.

Non-GMO Produce
Produce grown in Santa Clara County, including that in Milpitas, Palo Alto, Cupertino, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Gilroy, without the use of genetically modified organisms is known as non-GMO produce. Genetically modified organisms are those that have been modified by removing desired traits from the genetic structure of plants or animals and then implanted into the genetic structure of another plant or animal. GMO tampering is allowed in conventional farming methods.

Heirloom and Heritage Products
Heirloom food items are those that have been passed down for generations. These are known for having colors, flavors and other properties not usually found in factory farmed foods. Heritage produce and meats are those derived from endangered and rare breeds of plants and animals.

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Glossary Of Terms
Frequently Asked Questions About Produce Markets and Local Produce

The following questions are those often asked about and at local produce markets. While answers will vary depending on the produce markets you choose, the answers below are representative of those you'll get from most local produce sellers. Of course, you'll want to ask specific questions of the staff and management at the produce markets you are considering shopping at if you are seeking specific products or growing techniques.

The following questions are those often asked about and at local produce markets. While answers will vary depending on the produce markets you choose, the answers below are representative of those you'll get from most local produce sellers. Of course, you'll want to ask specific questions of the staff and management at the produce markets you are considering shopping at if you are seeking specific products or growing techniques.

Q: Why choose Diamond Certified produce markets?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a local produce market with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only produce markets rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified produce market near you.

Q: What makes produce markets different than grocery stores?
A: Grocery stores usually sell items that are grown and produced across the country and world. There is usually several degrees of separation between the growers and producers and the final sale. Local produce markets usually sell more local items, and may focus on organic or sustainable growing practices. Produce markets may also work more closely with food producers, local artisans and local farmers and may be more likely to support the local community or keep the sale proceeds in the local economy.

Q: What types of products will I find at local produce markets?
A: Most local produce markets in the Greater Bay Area and beyond carry a variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, cheeses, breads, dairy, and locally made foods, such as honey and jam, that represent California and the local micro-climates. You may also find a variety of local products, artisanal products, heirloom and heritage foods, organic products and farm-fresh foods. The range of produce may differ from week to week as different vegetables and fruits come into season. Call your local produce markets and ask about their selection if you're looking for something in particular.

Q: How do produce markets decide which products to sell?
A: Different produce markets sell different products. Some stock local foods, while others specialize in organic or no-spray fruits and vegetables. Some deal directly with farmers and local artisans. Some produce markets are dedicated to locally-grown, locally-sourced, locally-processed foods, while others accept products from other areas. Ask your produce market about their policies for accepting foods if that's important to you.

Q: How are produce markets different from farmers markets?
A: Farmers markets are those that often set up in temporary locations (usually on the weekends or one or two days a week) and sell fruits and vegetables seasonally. Many farmers markets are open areas in which farmers, artisans and other growers sell their own wares at booths. Produce markets are usually open year-round or every day of the season, and they are usually permanent storefronts. Most produce markets sell products for local farmers and producers.

Q: Will my choices vary or be limited based on the time of year?
A: Peak harvest time is usually summer and early fall, so you may find more fruit and vegetable options at produce markets during those months. However, because California has such a temperate climate, many plants produce fruit year round. Many produce markets are open year round and supplement their offerings with foods from local, regional and country-wide locations. Many things, such as eggs, dairy, bread, meat and artisanal products are available year-round.

Q: Are fruits, vegetables, meat and other products at produce markets fresher and healthier than produce at supermarkets?
A: Fruit, vegetables, dairy, eggs, cheese, bread, artisinal products, meats and other items at local produce markets are usually more locally-sourced than items at traditional supermarkets, which may mean less travel time and fresher products. Produce markets may also source organic, no-spray, no-pesticide or earth-friendly foods. This may mean the produce is healthier and fresher than mass-produced foods that have traveled a long distance to a seller.

Q: Why should I shop at local produce markets? Can't I find local and organic foods at grocery stores?
A: Produce markets may be more likely to offer fair prices to the farmers who sell the foods. You may also be able to ask more questions about the food you're buying than at conventional grocery stores. Customers who want to buy heirloom varieties, local artisanal products, heritage vegetables or meats, and guaranteed local or organic foods may be happier with the selection from local produce markets. Some customers also feel that buying at a local produce market lets them share in a community experience of buying food. It is also usually true that more money spent at community markets stays in the community.

Q: Will I pay more for food at local produce markets?
A: Studies have shown that products sold at farmers markets and local produce markets are priced competitively with those sold at conventional grocery stores. Most local farmers and artisans price their products so that they cover the cost of production and still are reasonably priced for consumers. Of course, organic, heirloom, heritage, biodynamic and small-batch foods may be a little more expensive than factory-farmed foods because they cost more to produce and often have smaller yields than foods made at large-scale growing facilities.

Q: Is more of my money likely to go to local farmers or stay in the local economy if I buy produce from local produce markets?
A: Most local produce markets have close associations with farmers and food growers, and the person who grew or made the products is often from your local community or area. That means that more of your purchase price stays in the community. Local businesses generate money and jobs for the community, and many produce markets are serious about paying a living wage to employees and producers. Ask your local produce market management about the percentage of money that stays in the local community and their employment living-wage commitment if that is important to you.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Associations and Agencies Dealing with Local Produce Markets

The following agencies and associations may have more information about local produce markets, the type of produce you can expect to find at local markets, and how to shop smarter.

The following agencies and associations may have more information about local produce markets, the type of produce you can expect to find at local markets, and how to shop smarter.

Produce Marketing Association (PMA) (www.pma.com)
Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) (www.farmersmarketcoalition.org)
California Farmers' Markets Association (CFMA) (www.cafarmersmkts.com)
Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association (PCFMA) (www.pcfma.com)

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