For many, summer means fresh local produce at the farmers market. These markets are a great way to support small businesses and engage with your community. You can find them in many communities as well as some VA locations.

Veterans at the on-site market at the Aleda E Lutz VA in Saginaw, Michigan, love to stop by after appointments to have a chat with the local farmers while picking up some produce.

Farmers’ markets can be a great way to save money if you shop smart.

Fresh produce markets can be a great way to save money if you shop smart. Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) benefit holders in some locations can stretch their dollar further with the Double Up Food Bucks Program which doubles your money at many markets.

Women, Infants and Children program

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefit holders may qualify for the Supplemental Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.

Low-income Seniors may qualify for the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which strives to provide access to locally grown produce.

Other ways to save include:

  • Shop what is in season. Use the USDA’s Seasonal Produce Guide to help with your shopping list.
  • Choose oddly shaped or imperfect produce.
  • Buy foods you use frequently in bulk.
  • Build relationships with farmers.
  • Bad weather often brings better deals – fewer people at the market means farmers are more willing to sell at a lower price point.
  • Shop at the end of the day when sellers are antsy to sell what’s left.

Benefits of farmers markets for you and for your community:

  • Preserving farmland and promoting sustainability.
  • Stimulating the local economy.
  • Increasing access to fresh and nutritious foods.
  • Supporting healthy communities.

Check online to locate a farmers market near you. For more information about fresh, healthy eating, check out these recipes and videos.

If you’re interested in this or any other nutrition-related topic, contact your local VA to speak with a registered dietitian.

To read more blog posts on nutrition, visit https://news.va.gov/?s=nutrition.

By Erin Vaillancourt is a registered dietitian at the Saginaw VA. She is a specialist in diabetes management and has an MS in Nutrition from Central Michigan University.

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Published on Sep. 6, 2021

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