Farmers markets offer fresh, fairly grown local produce | House and garden

The farmers markets are open! Are you looking for fresh, delicious food? The Jefferson County Local Food Guide (in print or available at (http://ccejefferson.org/local-foods)) points you to the freshest, best-tasting foods—grown and produced by your neighbors. Shop at the locations listed and help preserve them Your grocery dollars circulate in our local economy! In addition to the Farmers Markets, CSAs, Farmer Stands and retail stores we typically list, this year we have a section for restaurants, Breweries and wineries that use local ingredients.

Many of our local farmers and farmers markets accept food aid resources. If you’re not sure, just ask! If you think you qualify for one of these resources, give our office a call and we can help guide you in the right direction for access.

■ SNAP/EBT — Participating farmers’ markets that accept SNAP/EBT as a whole have a central token stand where the EBT card is swiped for payment and in return wood tokens are issued to customers for use as payment. For every $5.00 spent in tokens, a $2.00 FreshConnect voucher will be awarded. SNAP tokens can be used to purchase SNAP-enabled items from vendors in the market, including fruits, vegetables, plants that produce food, eggs, bread, honey, meat, etc. Individual vendors at a farmers’ market can also SNAP/EBT accept So look for the signage or ask the seller if they accept the SNAP benefits.

■ Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program Coupons – Use these coupons (in $4.00 increments) to purchase local, fresh fruits and vegetables at a participating farmer’s booth or vendor. Look out for the signage or ask the farmer if they accept FMNP at their stand!

■ FreshConnect Coupons/CNY Health Bucks – Use these coupons ($2 increments) to purchase SNAP-eligible items from any vendor at the Farmers’ Market. Farm stands and vendors at farmers markets do not need special approval to accept these coupons as long as SNAP-eligible items are purchased! SNAP-enabled items include fruits, vegetables, plants that produce food, eggs, bread, meat, etc.

Using these food resources and/or other forms of payment supports the following reasons for buying food locally.

1. You know where your food comes from and have direct contact with the producer (farm/farmer).

2. Seasonal products are often cheaper than those in the supermarket, especially when bought directly from the farmer.

3. You improve your diet by eating more vegetables and fruits.

4. Locally grown produce is fresher and lasts longer in your fridge.

5. Experience the world from your local farmers market. Small breeders often sell unusual heirloom strains that are hard to find elsewhere.

6. Help the planet by reducing your carbon footprint. Less packaging means less plastic waste. Fewer food shipments from distant locations save fuel.

7. Support small businesses! Keep your dollars local by shopping at local farmers and farm stands.

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