Could that beloved farmer at your farmers market possibly be lying to you, passing off supermarket produce as locally grown?
California's state officials seem to think so. Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law that will raise a million dollars to deploy a small army of inspectors to farmers markets around the state. The inspectors will check for signs that farmers are selling fruits and vegetables that they didn't actually grow themselves, but instead picked up wholesale.
There have been some well-publicized cases of fraud. In 2010, an investigative team from an NBC affiliate in Los Angeles followed one farmer's truck to the LA wholesale market, where he picked up a load of produce, including Mexican cantaloupes. That produce, according to the report, was later sold at farmers markets.
In response, Los Angeles County dispatched a few inspectors to look for evidence of mislabeled produce. According to the Los Angeles Times, 19 vendors were fined in 2013 for misrepresenting their products.