All About The Farmers Market Nutrtion Program

77291657During the summer and early fall, WIC participants who qualify for the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) are issued coupons for fresh Pennsylvania-grown fruits and vegetables.  The Farmers’ Market on Wilkes-Barre’s Public Square is one place where these coupons can be used, and a great place to take the family on a sunny day.

This year, the Farmer’s Market begins on June 20th, and happens every Thursday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

At the Wilkes-Barre Farmers’ Market, you can find many WIC-eligible products, like the fresh produce from Pennsylvania growers, as well as non-WIC items like breads, cider, candy and sweets, jellies and jams, eggs, soaps, candles, herbs, and flowers.  There is also face painting for children and different forms of entertainment each week.  August 1st is children’s day, which will bring a magician, music, fire safety and health department trailers, and a moon bounce.

The vendors will know what produce is eligible, and there will be signs showing which farmers accept the FMNP checks.  Products must be “Grown or Growable in Pennsylvania.”  No citrus fruits, tropical fruits, processed foods like jam, honey, cider, or baked goods.

Each year, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture determines which categories of WIC participants will be eligible for the FMNP.   Check with your WIC staff to see if you or your children are eligible for the current FMNP period.

Some great fruits and vegetables to try at the market are cherries, peas, spinach, and lettuce in the early summer, apricots, corn, mushrooms, watermelon, and tomatoes in mid-summer, and broccoli, apples, potatoes, and carrots in late summer and fall.

To find more information about fresh fruits and vegetables, you can visit the MFHS Farmers Market page, or:

www.ams.usda.gov/howtobuy/fveg.htm
www.5aday.com

If you are a farmer who would like to find out more about this program, call the PA Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program at 1-800-468-2433 or 717-772-2693 or write to: Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, Bureau of Food Distribution, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408.