By Julia Howard
Connecting our community with locally produced food is a priority of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. While this connection supports the local economy, it also ensures that people of all economic levels have access to fresh, locally-sourced food.
With this purpose, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market has partnered with the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), FreshConnect program, and Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program for WIC participants and Seniors (FMNP).
“These programs are vital for providing our community with food while also supporting the livelihood of farmers and producers,” says Emily Meagher, the market’s administrator. “We are proud to offer these ongoing programs that encourage our community to shop local and eat healthily.”
At the farmers’ market, SNAP participants and veterans, service members, and their immediate families may use their Benefit card at the market information tent on Wednesdays and Saturdays where market staff can exchange EBT money for farmers’ market EBT coins. These coins never expire and may be spent directly with farmers’ market vendors. Vendors are not able to give cash change for purchases, however, they will make up any difference in product.
EBT coins may be used to purchase EBT allowable foods including fruit and vegetables, bread and baked goods, meat, fish, and poultry, dairy products, honey and maple products, and value-added foods like soup mixes, sauces, and jams and jellies. Herb plants and plants that produce food may also be purchased with EBT coins.
In addition to participating in the SNAP program, the farmers’ market also offers FreshConnect coupons. For every $5 a customer spends with their EBT benefits, they will receive a $2 FreshConnect coupon to spend at the farmers’ market.
Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (WIC and Senior) coupons may also be used to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables at the farmers’ market. FMNP senior coupons are given to individuals age 60+ who are living on a limited income. The Saratoga County Office for the Aging will be handing out booklets of 5, $4.00 FMNP coupons (limit one per person) to eligible seniors on Monday, July 27, 2-5 pm, at the Clifton Park Farmers’ Market and Wednesday, August 5, 3-5 pm, at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. No proof of income or identification is needed; individuals simply sign a paper attesting that they are over the age of 60 and their income is under the limit.
This week’s recipe: Steak or Lamb Kebabs with Summer Vegetables