The Payson Farmers Market opens Saturday, May 27. Organizers have partnered with the Arizona Department of Health, Pinnacle Prevention and the USDA to offer four federally funded programs to help low-income shoppers.
The programs include WIC (women, infants and children), SFMNP (Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program) and SNAP/EBT benefits and the newest addition: the Double UP Food Bucks Arizona program.
“We are excited to announce the addition of the Double UP Food Bucks Arizona program,” said Lorian Roethlein, who founded the market with her husband, John.
“Double Up Food Bucks matches your SNAP spending dollar for dollar, up to $20 per day, with tokens you can use for Arizona grown fresh fruit and vegetables; that’s up to $20 of free produce each week.”
For more information, visit www.doubleupfoodbucksarizona.org or the information booth in the middle of the market.
The market is open from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday through Sept. 16 at Sawmill Crossing Plaza, 816 S. Beeline Hwy. in Payson.
For more information, visit www.PaysonFarmersMarket.com or call 928-468-0961.
The website https://www.nutrition.gov/farmers-markets and The Spruce (https://www.thespruce.com/farmers-market-shopping-tips-4067698) offers these suggestions:
• Freshly picked, in season produce is at its peak in flavor and nutrition. Check out the Seasonal Produce Guide at the website above to learn what fruits and vegetables are in season.
• Fresh fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients, things essential to good health.
• It’s a great way to get your kids involved. Let them pick out something new to try, and then they can help prepare a meal or snack using their selection.
• You can try a new fruit or vegetable! Have you ever tasted gooseberries or rhubarb? Many farmers markets offer lesser known fruits and vegetables.
• Embrace Whole Vegetables: Root vegetables like carrots, beets and radishes are sometimes sold both whole, with greens attached, and trimmed, as merely a bunch of roots. Always opt for the whole version. They’ll last longer than the trimmed roots, for one thing, but more importantly, the greens are both edible and delicious.
• Know Your Produce: The produce at a farmers market is usually going to be different than at a grocery store. Learn how to pick out the tastiest heirloom tomato, even though they all look equally deformed. Learn to scour the bins of Brussels sprouts for the tightest, smallest ones. Learn to snap a green bean between your fingers to see if it’s ripe. Learn to smell a melon.
• Try Weird Stuff: Your market is likely home to products you can’t find at the grocery store. So why not try them out? Instead of a standard deep purple eggplant, why not a tiny globular Thai or a long pure white eggplant? Instead of red radishes, why not watermelon or French breakfast radishes? Instead of salmon, why not porgy or sand dab or pickerel?
• Bring Big Bags & Small Change — Some farmers market vendors offer bags, but they tend to be thin and flimsy plastic ones that groan under the pressure of any substantial produce purchase.
• Plan for Spontaneity — Yes, you’ll fare better if you plan your trip to the farmers market. However, you need to leave a bit of wiggle room for those strawberries you didn’t know would be at market so early, or the zucchini blossoms you’ve never tried before.
• Talk to the Farmers! — If you find a vegetable that’s new to you at the farmers market and want to give it a try, ask the farmer how to prepare it. For the best tips ask how they like to eat it.
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