By Marie Sova
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is for everyone, and through a variety of state and federally-funded programs, the market makes it possible for everyone to benefit from healthy foods from local farms.
Those who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can purchase $1 and $5 tokens with their EBT card. With every $2 purchased, they’ll also receive $2 in FreshConnect coupons. While the coupons expire on December 31, the tokens never do. Shoppers not only double their money but also can budget their SNAP benefits around seasonal foods.
Meat, fish, baked goods, dairy, fruits and vegetables, flowers, plants, and hand-crafted artisanal foods can all be purchased with EBT tokens and FreshConnect coupons.
While vendors cannot give change in the form of cash, they can and will complete the balance of the purchase with additional items.
In the summer months, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market also accepts Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons. These $5 coupons give shoppers over the age of 60 with limited income an opportunity to buy local, fresh produce.
The Saratoga Office for the Aging will distribute FMNP coupons to eligible seniors at the market on the following dates: Saturdays, July 8 and August 5, from 9 am to 1 pm, Wednesdays, July 19 and August 16, from 3 to 5 pm, and at the Clifton Park Farmers’ Market on Mondays, July 24 and August 14, from 2 to 5 pm.
The market also hosts the food-distributor Comfort Food Community every other Saturday during the summer. As part of a partnership with healthcare provider CDPHP, Comfort Food Community distributes $5 coupons to CDPHP members that can be spent at the market on most foods. This coupon is for certain CDPHP members who qualify for the produce prescription program. It is not open to all members.
In addition, market vendors share their bounty with the Franklin Community Center and Comfort Food Community food pantries. In the final minutes of each market, market staff, interns, and volunteers collect donations from vendors. The vendors give about $200-$500 a week, according to Himanee Gupta of Squash Villa Farm, who helps facilitate the donation collections.
“As a farmer, I want to help feed my entire community,” says Gupta. “I appreciate how the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, FreshConnect coupons, and other initiatives help make that possible by allowing many customers to stretch their dollars further.”
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park in downtown Saratoga Springs. Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.