Windfall gravsBushels of apples rotting in the ground in back yard orchards. Kids who can't eat the lettuce from their school garden. New county rules taking effect this month will help ease these situations.

Sonoma StampSmall farmers who seek the new "Approved Produce Gardener" Certifications, will have to abide by a set of Best Management Practices, but Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner Tony Linegar says they are not terribly burdensome.

muffinsHome-based food producers, or "cottage food operators" are blocked from selling meat pies or tamales under the state Health Department's regulations, as those are considered "potentially hazardous" food items. But it is possible to petition the state to make changes to their list of allowable products, says Christine Soskol, of the Sonoma County Environmental Health Department. She adds that the list of approved foods is lengthy.

Northern California
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