All posts by Emilie Knight

How to use SNAP at the Farmers’ Market

Using SNAP at Farmers’ Markets is Easy!

Gina at Waterville FM Info Booth

Shopping with your SNAP/EBT card at farmers’ markets in Maine is easy.  As a matter of fact, we hear from SNAP/EBT shoppers all the time, “I didn’t realize how easy it would be!” Shopping at the farmers’ market can be a little overwhelming if you are new to the scene. To make it easier, each of the markets that accepts SNAP (and there are now 35+markets that accept SNAP/EBT) have whats called an info booth, where you will find  a friendly person waiting  to welcome you and help you get started.

The simple how-to…

When you arrive 1) look for the info booth. If you can’t find the info booth, just ask a farmer or vendor. At most markets, you (like all other shoppers using any kind of card) will 2) receive a “shopping sheet”. With the shopping sheet in hand, you can proceed to 3) visit vendors and shop for SNAP-eligible products. With each vendor you shop at, they will write down the price of the food on the shopper sheet, which will be added up when you 4) return to the info booth.  Once back at the info-booth, the friendly staff will 5) swipe your EBT card and you’ll enter your PIN- just like at the grocery store.  You’ll receive a receipt back (which will state your remaining SNAP balance), and you may also receive Maine Harvest Bucks. Lastly, don’t forget to 6) enjoy your fresh, healthy and nutritious food!   If you’re not sure what to do with certain food items, find recipe and cooking resources here.

More affordable than a grocery store?

Grocery stores are the most popular place to find affordable food, which is essential when you’re on a limited food budget.  But, how do farmers’ markets compare? During a product’s peak season, you may find berries, eggs, fruits and vegetables that are just as affordable than what’s at the grocery store. It’s true that some local products, like dairy and meat, often cost more than their grocery store counterparts, but, the quality and freshness of local food is incomparable. To make local food even more affordable, many farmers’ markets accept Maine Harvest Bucks, which gives SNAP shoppers bonus bucks to spend on fresh produce. With Maine Harvest Bucks, farmers’ markets may be the best and most affordable place to spend limited SNAP funds.

Now get to the market!

Many markets have signs like this to help you find the info-booth.Now get to the market!  

Shopping with SNAP/EBT at farmers’ markets is very easy, and farmers are eager to welcome more SNAP shoppers to the market!  Find a market near you, and double-check the hours and location, on the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets website!