No matter how much you keep up with the proper paperwork, maintain your records with your caseworker, or try to maintain your food stamp benefits there are times when food stamps may be denied.
If you want the freshest produce, there’s nothing better than a good farmer’s market. Locally grown, seasonal food is the main item on the menu at these privately owned food stands and markets. You can find quality food, and you can use food stamps to purchase vegetables and fruits that are free from pesticides. There are many farmers’ markets throughout America. Finding one close by can be a bit tricky if you don’t know where to look, but you can look online for a place that sells farm fresh veggies and fruits. Most of these locations should now accept EBT cards or food stamp debt cards. You can find locations for farmer's markets on www.localharvest.org or through the USDA.
Shopping at a farmer's market for food really depends on the price. You should have fun browsing for good produce. You should walk around the market first and make note of things that you definitely want to buy. You can look for things like price, color, and texture.
Some places are even apart of the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). This is a program under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The FMNP was established in 1992 and allows coupons to be used at farmer’s markets in addition to food stamp benefits. You have to contact a representative in your state to become a part of the program. You can find your agency located here, listed by state.
You need to bring your own shopping bags and containers. While some farmer’s markets will offer bags and boxes, it’s easier if you bring your own. Most farmers’ markets are focused on keeping a green atmosphere and promoting environmentally friendly practices.
Talk to the vendors when you see something unfamiliar. You can learn about different types of food, such as edamame or fresh soybeans simply by talking to vendors about their produce. Vendors and farmers can also tell you more about the growing process and give you some tips on how things are grown on their farms. You can also negotiate with vendors to get a good deal on produce.
One of the least known secrets is that if you arrive later in the day, you’ll be able to catch vendors selling their wares at cheaper prices. This is the best time to buy all of the produce that you really wanted but it was too expensive for your budget. Focus on getting vegetables that will last awhile and will help you prepare a large meal that you can save for a week.
Shopping at farmer’s markets allow access to your area’s best, freshest produce available. You are supporting local farmers as well as garden fresh vegetables and pesticide-free practices. The vendors will often be small, organic farms. The farmer’s market is their primary source of income. Remember that food stamps also allow you to purchase your own seeds. You can use these seeds to grow your own vegetables and may be even open a booth at a farmer’s market near you.