New London

Food stamps now accepted at farmers markets

QUAKER HILL, Conn. (WTNH)-- Teresa Schact and her husband run Hunts Brook Farm in Quaker Hill and sell a lot of their crops at the Waterford farmers market which accepts food stamps.

A move she says has brought in more people over the years.

"You know why do we farm because we want people to eat local and fresh and how to get more and get that to more people," says Teresa Schact "The program allows for that.

In addition to allowing food stamps through the USDA's SNAP program folks can bring their state EBT card to farmers markets just like they would at Fiddleheads in New London which boasts only organically grown produce.

At the farmers markets folks with EBT cards are given coins or coupons that can be spent with each farmer.

Schact says she has been able to really get to know her expanded customer base.

"Say they might look at their thing and like oh that's like four dollars and I only have three dollars left. I'm like go ahead take it it's fine," says Schact.

The program also helps farmers who have faced their own economic struggles. Warren Burrows of the Groton Family Farm chimed in from out of state.

"Wherever we can move our vegetables is terrific it's just one more avenue to do it yes," Burrows told News8 over the phone.

"People coming in they're just their hearts sing because the variety at the markets is very different than our local supermarket during the summer," says Schact.

To help local farmers become authorized to accept food stamps themselves the USDA is holding merchant sign up days this week and next and the state plans to do the same as well.

Merchant sign-up days are planned for Wednesday at the Middlesex County Extension Center in Haddam and on March 31 at Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby.

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