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Fresh Bucks: A Fresh Taste of Summer for EBT Cardholders

As the summer months bring warmer weather, many residents look forward to adding a stop to their morning routine. They get a fresh taste of summer at the farmers market. If you ask Margaret, a regular farmers market shopper, she can’t wait to indulge in the wide variety of fresh produce at her local farmer’s market. These days, Margaret can more easily afford fruits and vegetables.

“I look forward to Sundays because I know it’s market day here in West Seattle and I can spend Fresh Bucks,” says Margaret.

The Fresh Bucks program provides a dollar-for-dollar match on Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) purchases by low-income shoppers at farmers markets. With Fresh Bucks, EBT shoppers can purchase a variety of fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables with no added salts, fats and/or sugars.

There used to be a daily limit on Fresh Bucks purchases, but no longer. Margaret used to visit the market weekly but has recently experienced mobility challenges that make it difficult for her to walk around in her older apartment building.

“This year, with no cap on Fresh Bucks matching, I don’t have to stress about getting my EBT benefits matched every week to maximize my Fresh Bucks benefits,” Margaret said. “I can spend as much as I want with my EBT when I am able to come to the market, which allows me to make fewer trips and still purchase the fruits and vegetables I need, within my budget. I’m grateful to not have to push myself physically on days I’m just not feeling up for it. Most importantly, Fresh Bucks don’t expire until December.”

Fresh Bucks is managed by the City of Seattle and is available at 32 farmers markets and market stands, as well as six neighborhood grocery stores in Seattle and King County.

“Being a part of this community is so special,” says Sam Kielty, West Seattle’s Market Manager, who knows all about the Fresh Bucks program and welcomes Margaret with a smile. “I want to make everyone’s shopping experience great and Fresh Bucks really allows shoppers to take full advantage of the market. Shopping here is the perfect opportunity to support local farmers, connect with your neighbors, and discover produce you may not otherwise be familiar with—like fresh fava beans or delicious beets!”

This week, Margaret was up for a stroll around the neighborhood. She may even try a new recipe, recommended by Sam. Her shopping list includes parsnips, golden beets, and artichokes.

For more information about Fresh Bucks or to find farmers markets in Seattle and King County, visit www.FreshBuckSeattle.org.

Contributor Narita K. Ghumman is a Food Access Outreach & Engagement Specialist at the City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE). She invites readers to follow OSE on Facebook and Twitter as well as their Greensapce Blog, and provided the farmers market recipe that follows.


Roast Chicken with Parsnips, Golden Beets, and Jerusalem Artichokes

Originally published in Bon Appetit magazine, now available on Epicurious.com

Ingredients:

  • One 4-pound to 4½-pound chicken
  • 4 large fresh sage leaves
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 2¼ teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • Three 2½-inch diameter golden beets
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1½-inch pieces
  • 8–10 ounces Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup lager or pale ale

Click here for directions.

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