Producer Verification & Sustainability

Texas Farmers’ Markets at Lakeline and Mueller are leadership-inspected, producer only farmers’ markets. All vendors sell only what they grow or produce. There is no reselling or repackaging of any products based on the definitions that follow at our markets.

Definitions

Producer only farmers’ market is a market at which producers, their family members or employees are permitted to sell direct to consumers items they have themselves produced.

An Agricultural Producer includes meat (excepting fish, fowl and feral animals) and produce that have been grown or animals born and bred from animals on the producers’ land (including leased land). Dairy products such as cheese and yogurt or processed meat products, such as bacon, jerky and sausage that are produced with vendors products or at his/her commercial kitchen, butcher or processing plant are also included.

A Non-Agricultural Producer is one practicing the culinary art of creating the product offered for sale.  This process includes changing the form, flavor, and/or the substance of raw products using as many local and market products as available to make that change.

An Artisan Producer is one using materials from outside the area of the farmers’ market integrated with other local products or when assembled by a local artisan.

These standards were developed to ensure consumers shopping at our markets are purchasing the best local products available.


FAQs

How are the vendors inspected?
The inspection includes completion of a standardized form, including photos of the fruit and vegetables or animals. Paperwork will be verified to ensure the food producer, farmer or rancher has submitted copies of insurance, certifications and any other required paperwork required of the state, city and market.

Who completes the inspections?
An annual farm/ranch inspection is made by our Director of Agriculture; verifying the products available at the inspection are from the farm or ranch, are grown for the market as well as the growing methods utilized. If any of theDirector of Agriculture’s questions remain unanswered, a follow-up visit will be scheduled with market manager and a verified farmer/rancher. A failure to comply fully will result in expulsion from the market/s.

How do I know which vendors are inspected?
Our Director of Agriculture currently inspects all agricultural producers, assuring shoppers at either Mueller or Lakeline Farmers’ Markets of the most “honest” markets in Texas. As the verified logo program launches, each farmer or rancher producer will receive the verified logo stamp to display at the booth and for marketing purposes.


Texas Farmers’ Market Definition of “Sustainable”

working the field_KPeditThe term ”sustainable” is a whole-systems approach to food production that balances environmental stewardship, social equity, and economic viability. It is an integrated system of plant and animal production practices with a site-specific application that will over the long-term: preserve and encourage biodiversity, enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base of the land, minimize use of nonrenewable resources, maximize use of on-farm resources, create as little waste as possible, engender the humane treatment of all animal life, and provide fair wages and working conditions to all employees. The goal of creating a sustainable agricultural system is to maximize positive impacts to the environment and community while providing a viable level of production and profit. In order for a vendor at Texas Farmers’ Market to market their business under the term “sustainable” they must meet the following criteria:

Produce and Cut Flower producers agree to practice water conservation, have proper nutrition management (e.g. cover cropping, low till and crop rotation), promote biodiversity, fertilize appropriately so as not to cause excess runoff (using on-farm nutrient sources whenever possible), employ a system of Integrated Pest Management, maximize best use of products approved for organic farming (e.g. items on the OMRI list), and use no synthetic products (e.g. Roundup, SevinDust) on products sold at market or surrounding plants on the property.

Meat producers agree to employ a pasture-based system of rotational grazing, provide supplemental feed that is organic and non-GMO or pesticide free when financially and logistically possible, maximize best use of products approved for use on pasture lands (e.g. items on the OMRI list) and if synthetic products (e.g. Roundup, SevinDust) must be used for the overall health of the property, grazing should be deferred from pastures where these products have been used according to the guidelines on the label (extended deferment is encouraged), not administer growth hormones, steroids, or antibiotics on animals brought to market for consumption (including animals that have had these products administered but are past the legal withdraw date), treat all animals humanely in life, give ample room to prevent overcrowding and process under either State or Federal inspection. Fish producers, in addition to the preceding requirements, must use a closed-loop, environmentally responsible water discharge system.

Dairy and cheese producers agree to provide feed that is organic and non-GMO or pesticide free when financially and logistically possible, maximize best use of products approved for use on grazing lands (e.g. items on the OMRI list), use no synthetic products (e.g. Roundup, SevinDust) on pasture or other feed or anywhere on the property, administer no growth hormones, practice judicious use of antibiotics when necessary (but the milk must test clear of antibiotics before being sold at market) and treat all animals humanely with ample access to shelter and pasture.

Eggs producers agree to employ a pasture-based system of grazing, provide feed that (if not certified organic) is non-GMO or natural/pesticide free, maximize best use of products approved for use on grazing lands (e.g. items on the OMRI list), use no synthetic products (e.g. Roundup, SevinDust) on pasture or other feed or anywhere on the property, administer no antibiotics, treat all animals humanely and if chickens are fed kitchen table scraps and the eggs are marketed as non-GMO, no more than 20% of their diet can come from those scraps.

Value-added vendors agree to use produce, eggs, meat, flours and other products from a farmers’ market vendor or local agricultural producer when available (price is not considered a factor in availability). Distinction for producers using what they grew themselves in value-added products.

 


Any vendors that do not meet the above criteria may still be allowed to sell at the farmers’ market, but will not be allowed to market themselves with the term “sustainable”. All agricultural producers that do not meet the above criteria must be completely transparent about their practices and have explicit signage at the market explaining their use of non-approved synthetic or other products and antibiotics to shoppers. Note: Texas Farmers’ Market based our definition of “sustainable” off of the USDA’s definition and then expanded upon it based on the needs of our community and the knowledge of our food producers.