Matching funds for food stamps at farmers market in Keene

Customers with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (food stamp), benefits who wish to shop for local foods at the Farmers’ Market of Keene’s winter markets will find it a little easier to do so, thanks to a local business donation and the Cheshire County Conservation District.

From now until April or while funding lasts, customers will receive up to $10 in matching funds when they use their EBT card to purchase tokens that can be used to buy food at the market.

“This is a great way for people with low and moderate incomes to enjoy the flavor and benefits of great local foods all winter long,” said market co-coordinator Bill Fosher.

“And that extra $10 can really go a long ways at our market.”

The Farmers’ Market of Keene holds winter farmers markets on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month now through April at the Colony Mill Marketplace on West Street, right next to the Elm City Brewery, which donates the space for the market.

More than a dozen vendors are scheduled to participate in each market.

To claim matching funds, SNAP customers can swipe their EBT cards for whatever amount they wish to spend at the market.

The market then matches the first $10 of the amount swiped — a $10 swipe becomes $20 in tokens, or a $20 swipe becomes $30 in tokens. SNAP customers can use the tokens with most vendors to purchase anything that’s eligible for food stamp purchases. There is a limit of one matching purchase per customer per market.

Farmers are still producing vegetables, and have carefully stored others for use through the winter. Shoppers will find fresh greens, as well as classic winter vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, onions and other root crops.

Some of the market’s farmer-members also specialize in making preserves from the summer’s bounty, and are offering them for sale. The market also has a strong core of vendors who offer meats, milk, and cheeses all winter long, not to mention breads, granolas, maple syrup and candy, natural soaps and lotions, handmade fiber arts, and jewelry. Offerings change from week to week.

The Farmers’ Market of Keene is a producer-only market, meaning that all items for sale are either grown or made by the business offering them. Membership is also limited to producers in Cheshire County or the surrounding counties, so everything is locally grown or made.

Funding for the SNAP matching program is provided by Markem-Imaje of Keene and is administered by the Cheshire County Conservation District.

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