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Farmers’ Market Opening July 1; Will Accept Ebt, Wic Benefits

The White Salmon Farmers’ Market returns July 1 and will continue every Tuesday through the summer from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Feast Market and Delicatessen. Around 10 vendors have signed up for this year’s market where SNAP and WIC benefits will be recognized along with Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits.

The White Salmon Farmers’ Market returns July 1 and will continue every Tuesday through the summer from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Feast Market and Delicatessen. Around 10 vendors have signed up for this year’s market where SNAP and WIC benefits will be recognized along with Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits. Photo by Amber Marra.

Those receiving food stamp benefits will be able to use them at the White Salmon Farmers’ Market when it opens on July 1.

As part of the Farmers Market Nutrition Program through the State of Washington Department of Health, White Salmon’s market obtained a device capable of accepting funds via Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT). The market will also be able to serve those receiving benefits through Women, Infants, Children (WIC) and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP).

“From a public health perspective there’s a big push to make sure fresh fruits and vegetables are available to everyone regardless of socio-economic status,” said Debi Budnick, co-manager of the White Salmon Farmers’ Market.

Food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) come in the form of a card, which will be swiped at the market. Beneficiaries will then be given tokens that are then used as currency at the market’s various vendors.

Budnick said the market will be able to match the first $5 a user spends in SNAP benefits at the farmers market, which will be held every Tuesday through the summer from 4 to 7 p.m.

“They’ll come and they’ll swipe their card and we’ll match the first $5, so with $10 they’ll get $15, if they ask for $20, they’ll get $25,” she said.

Expanding the “match program” that would give food stamp and WIC beneficiaries an extra $5 at the market hinges on fundraising efforts by the market. Budnick hopes to raise $2,000 for the market as a whole with $500 of that going towards the match program.

The rest could go to anything from promoting the market to paying the local musicians that play every Tuesday.

“We recognize that people want to be paid for their art,” Budnick said.

Individuals or businesses can volunteer or donate. Budnick points to the banners that Insitu donated as an example of the great things that can be done through community involvement with the market.

Anyone interested in donating to the White Salmon Farmers’ Market can contact Budnick at (509) 493-6234 or whitesalmonfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

Until recently, the hole next to Feast Market and Delicatessen, where the market is held, was of concern and prompted the Farmers’ Market Steering Committee to consider moving elsewhere.

That won’t happen, as a fence was erected by the City of White Salmon around the hole while Howard Kreps, who owns the property, continues legal proceedings regarding who is responsible for paying for the clean-up of soil contamination from previously buried oil drums.

“I appreciate the farmers market staying there and appreciate them having as much patience as they can,” Kreps said.

The only issue that remains, besides the continued presence of the hole, is the side of Feast’s parking lot that the market will have to occupy. The lot was never repaved following the removal of a 12,000-gallon tank previously used to hold gasoline when a service station used to occupy the property.

“In a perfect world I should have paved it and then moved on. My thought process was to do all the construction first and then pave everything at the same time,” Kreps said. “I am tapped out.”

Kreps has promised to bring in gravel to at least level out the parking lot so the market’s 10 or so vendors will have stable space to sell their goods, but repaving doesn’t appear to be an option anytime soon.

“The odds of getting it paved before the farmers market are limited. The odds of us getting some gravel in there and doing things to mitigate the dust and stuff, yes, I’ll do what I can,” Kreps said.

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