Saturday, January 14, 2017

Check Out Winter Farmers' Markets

New Yorkers should remember that dozens of farmers’ markets are open across the state through the winter season.  

Winter markets provide shoppers the opportunity to buy farm-fresh foods and other products while supporting local farmers. 

For a second year, 14 winter markets are also issuing FreshConnect Checks, which allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to increase their buying power when they shop at farmers’ markets. 

Additional markets are encouraged to join the program to provide a greater number of FreshConnect checks to people and families in need.

“This is a terrific time to shop at your local farmers’ market and enjoy all they have to offer," said Richard Ball, commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.  "Despite the cold weather, New York farmers have plenty of fresh produce and high-quality products available during the winter. Our FreshConnect Checks also provide an added benefit for those in need and I encourage additional markets to join the program this season.”

There are more than 150 farmers’ markets, farm stands and mobile markets across the state that are open now, with additional markets set to open later this month and one scheduled to re-open Feb. 1.  

The markets operate on varying days and times throughout the week and weekend to fit a variety of schedules. They provide consumers with a wide selection of fresh vegetables and value-added goods such as craft beverages, all-natural skin care products, wool products, maple syrup and honey. 

Fourteen winter farmers’ markets are also participating in the FreshConnect program and additional markets have the option to join the program at any time. These markets issue FreshConnect Checks, which provide a $2 incentive for every $5 in SNAP benefits spent, increasing the purchasing power of SNAP recipients by 40 percent. 

For the first time last year, low-income families had the opportunity to use these checks 12 months a year. Previously, the checks were only available at participating markets during the spring and summer. Although the checks are issued at select markets, they may be redeemed at any of the more than 150 markets currently open, or the more than 750 farmers’ markets and farm stands open throughout the year.

Find a complete list of farmers’ markets, farm stands and mobile markets across New York state at this link. Check their operating months to find those open during the winter.

The following winter markets are participating in the FreshConnect Checks Program: 
Capital Region
Empire State Plaza Farmers Market (Albany County)
Saratoga Farmers Market (Saratoga County)
Schenectady Greenmarket (Schenectady County)
Veggie Mobiles Markets (Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady Counties)

Central New York
CNY Regional Market (Onondaga County)
Syracuse Farm Fresh Mobile Market (Onondaga County)

Finger Lakes
Brighton Farmers Market (Monroe County)
Rochester Public Market (Monroe County)

Beacon Farmers Market (Dutchess County)
Cold Spring Farmers Market (Putnam County)
Kingston Winter Farmers Market (Ulster County)
Rhinebeck Farmers Market (Dutchess County)

Mohawk Valley
Oneida County Public Market (Oneida County)

Southern Tier
Broome County Regional Market (Broome County)

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