On Fridays, the North Berwick Farmers’ Market brings together an amazing variety of farmers and food producers for a great opportunity to buy delicious local food before the weekend.
B and SZP are challenging themselves to visit all 31 farmers’ markets of Rockingham, Strafford, and York counties in the 31 days of July, and share their discoveries along the way. Previous entries in this series.
First things first, the North Berwick Farmers’ Market is the only market in our area to currently accept SNAP/EBT, also known as food stamps. [Correction: Thanks to all our readers who’ve told us that the Sanford Farmers’ Market also accepts SNAP/EBT! ] (Seacoast Eat Local is on the job and hopes to have it running soon, but North Berwick has it up and going!) The enormous effort and work that it takes to get this program running at a farmers’ market, not to mention patience with a very bureaucratic process, means an insurmountable barrier to many markets organizers. But the passion the organizers of the North Berwick Farmers’ Market have put into this and all their work around the market deserves much praise and is seeing tangible results. The SNAP/EBT program has been running a little over two months and they’ve seen many new food stamp customers to the market. North Berwick has also instituted Market Match dollars using donations, fundraisers, and sponsorships, so that SNAP/EBT customers can have the value of their food stamps matched up to $10 to $20 at the market. For example, if someone wanted to use $25 worth of SNAP benefits at the market, they could actually make purchases worth $35 to $45 thanks to the Market Match programs donors. Studies show these incentives help get new SNAP/EBT customers to the market for the first time; never having shopped at a farmers’ market before is a barrier regardless of income. And yes, SNAP benefits are a national program, so New Hampshire residents can use their EBT cards at the North Berwick Farmers’ Market! Thank you North Berwick Farmers’ Market for working to improve access to fresh, healthy foods for all people!
There were over a dozen farmers and vendors the afternoon we shopped, including a really amazing selection of vegetable farmers. There were also eggs, breads, and fibers. Brookridge Farm had certified organic vegetables, milk, butter, and meats. Spiller Farm had strawberries and raspberries along with their vegetables, and Flying Goat Farm had some really nice goat cheeses, including one called Bloomy Goat with a nice bloomy rind and creamy center. Moondance Gardens had gorgeous heads of lettuce and many other vegetables, as well as a whole collection of recipes for customers, pictured at right.
All of this plus easy parking and great signs around town for the market make the North Berwick Farmers’ Market a great place for everyone to shop.
Farmers’ Market Count: 10 down, 21 to go!