EBT users encouraged to visit state farmer's markets
Options are growing for EBT card users, as state officials spread the word that benefits can be used at local farmers markets. As our Lori Chung reports, the more people that know, the more local farms can recover from a difficult year.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "This year we actually we had a bad frost, that killed a lot of the blossoms" said Lucas Samascott, Samascott Orchards.
And, so for an orchard farm like Samascott, the big sell at the farmer's market this year is blueberries.
"Normally we'd have new apples coming in right about now, but they're not coming in too strong because of the weather," Samascott explained.
But here at Empire State Plaza, growers recovering from the strange string of weather over the past few months, may tap into a growing clientele.
"We're now accepting EBT food stamp cards here at this market and at markets statewide" said Heather Groll, spokesperson for the Officer of General Services.
It is part of the state's Fresh Connect program. EBT benefits can be used for tokens that can be spent just like cash, giving low income families access to fresh produce, often not found in their communities.
"Everything from say fruits and vegetables, to meats, to poultry, to plants, and those are all things that you can purchase with your EBT card" said Groll.
"We make all his babyfood so we want it with low sprays and as healthy as can be" said shopper Robin Ostroverkhov.
Officials said as word spreads, the more mothers there will be that can do the same. And, with figures that show farmer's markets took in more than $2 million in food stamp sales last year, the potential benefit for producers is clear.
"Oh yeah, it'll be an attraction" said Katherine Conbeer of Conbeer Farms.
"As soon as we start accepting EBT at any market, there's EBT tokens coming in" said Samascott.