Farmers Markets are back!

July 05, 2021
person at a farmers market

It’s July and, if you’re like me, warm weather means more than sunny days; it’s time for farmers markets!

Farmers Markets give us the opportunity to purchase fresh and delicious fruit and vegetables grown right in Massachusetts. Read on to find out the who, what, where, why, and how and how to best use your SNAP and HIP dollars.

Did you know the first farmers market in the United States was held in Boston in 1634! For centuries farmers markets have provided people like you and me, and farmers a way to benefit one another. They allow us access to healthy and local fruits and vegetables and it provides farmers a way to support themselves. Farmers markets are managed or run by cities and towns, organizations, farmers, and more.

two people examining fruits at a farmers market

You can always reach out to your local community to find a farmers market in your area but feel free to click on the link below to find a farmers market near you:

https://www.mahealthyfoodsinasnap.org/healthy-foods/farmers-markets

Farmers markets usually don’t run year long and, if they do, often change how they operate during the fall and winter months. When you go to a farmers market, they may have their own practices. For example, some would rather you choose your vegetables and others may want to do it for you. They’ll let you know. If you’re unsure, feel free to ask, they want to help!

Using your SNAP and HIP benefits:

Many farmers markets accept and encourage you to use your SNAP and HIP dollars to purchase fruit and vegetables. If you don’t already know, if you receive SNAP, you are automatically enrolled in HIP (Healthy Incentives Program). Not sure where and how to use your SNAP and HIP benefits? Click on the link below to learn more:

 https://www.mahealthyfoodsinasnap.org/healthy-foods/massachusetts-healthy-incentives-program-hip

If you participate in the Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC) you will receive coupons to use at participating farmers market. When at a farmers market, use your WIC coupons before using your SNAP benefits to stretch your dollars. For more information on how to use your WIC farmers market coupon click on the link below:

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/wic-farmers-market-nutrition-program

It’s almost strawberry season. Get them while the getting is good as the season is short (and sweet)

a father and his child looking at apples

Saving Money at Farmers Markets!

Yes, you can! Here are some tips:

  • When you arrive walk through and check everything out first. Farmers don’t all have the same prices or they may lower prices in order to move produce (maybe their zucchini grew like mad the past week!).
  • Ask a vendor if they have any ‘seconds’ or ‘B’ grade fruit or vegetables. That is fruit or vegetables that are almost too ripe and/or are simply unattractive. Just remember to enjoy them straight away and you walk away with some sweet savings!
  • Go at the end of the farmers market. Farmers want to leave with as little as possible it can be a good time to grab a deal.
  • Try to be flexible and leave your list at home. Which is the opposite of what we usually say to save money. Being flexible gives you more options. That kohlrabi might be far less than cabbage and you can make coleslaw with both.

rows of fruits and vegetables in wooden crates

This month, you’ll be able to find lots of different kinds of lettuces and don’t forget about those strawberries. To find out what is ripe when, check out this handy chart:

https://www.mass.gov/doc/produce-availability-chart/download

For tips on how to use farmers markets feel free to spend some time navigating our site for more information about keeping you and your family healthy!

www.Mahealthyfoodsinasnap.org

As always, thanks for stopping by, we enjoy the company!