Farmers markets

Why shop at a farmers market?

Farmers markets benefit consumers shopping for fresh produce, as well as the community. 

Here are the some of best reasons to shop at a farmers market:

A customer uses a credit card at a farmers market stand
  1. Freshly picked fruits and vegetables taste better. Farmers market produce is fresh and at peak flavor because it was recently picked from a nearby farm or community garden. Unlike some grocery store produce, farmers market produce wasn’t transported from thousands of miles away.
  2. You can buy straight from the source. Farmers are experts on their own products. When you shop at a farmers market, you get information on how your food was grown straight from the source. Growers also can tell you the best ways to prepare different foods and give you their favorite recipes.
  3. Farmers markets offer opportunities to try something new and different. Farmers markets feature a vast selection of different varieties of produce that are often not available at conventional grocery stores.
  4. You can get the kids involved. Farmers markets provide great environments for kids to learn and explore. The less-structured, open-air atmospheres of farmers markets offer more freedom and opportunities for children (and adults) to ask questions and try something new than do grocery stores.
  5. Farmers markets are good places to interact with your neighbors. The Farmers Market Coalition found that people who shop at farmers markets have 15 to 20 social interactions per visit compared with 1 to 2 social interactions at a grocery store. Farmers markets provide spaces to meet and greet. Many markets also feature activities such as kids’ crafts, live music, cooking demos and food sampling.
  6. You can use your credit, debit, or EBT card. Many Minnesota farmers markets now accept all forms of “plastic payment.” What’s more, you are eligible to receive a $10 match in Market Bucks at participating farmers markets if you use your EBT card every time you visit the market! The Twin Cities Mobile Market — a grocery store on wheels that brings fresh produce, meat, and groceries to 25 locations throughout the Twin Cities — also accepts SNAP/EBT and offers Market Bucks. See when it will be in your neighborhood.
  7. Farmers markets provide public value. When you shop at a farmers market, you help stimulate local economies; preserve farm or urban growing land and associated livelihoods; increase access to fresh, nutritious food; and support healthy communities.

How to use SNAP/EBT at the farmers market

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How do I find a local farmers market that accepts EBT?

View the SNAP/EBT map on the Minnesota Hunger Solutions website.

You can also check the website or Facebook page of your local farmers market to see if it accepts EBT cards. Find lists of Minnesota farmers markets accepting EBT cards on the following websites:

How do I use EBT at the farmers market?

  1. Locate the EBT booth. Booths often have a sign that says “EBT/Credit/Debit Accepted Here.”
  2. The terminal manager will swipe your EBT card for the amount you want to spend. Enter your PIN. You will receive wooden tokens or some other type of scrip to purchase eligible items.
  3. Use your scrip to purchase eligible items from any vendor that accepts EBT. Eligible vendors will display signs indicating they accept EBT in their booths.

How do I know how much to spend?

Option 1: “Window shop” at all of the vendors’ booths to create a list of the goods you want to purchase and their prices.

Option 2: Before shopping, determine an amount to spend at the market based on your budget.

  • Because individuals are able to use both EBT and credit or debit cards at a farmers market, a market will issue two different types of scrip — one for EBT users and one for credit and debit card users; see the wooden token examples at right. Two types of scrip are necessary because EBT scrip can only be used for eligible items, and no change is given for EBT scrip.
  • Please note that some farmers markets only accept “food benefit” not “cash benefit” from EBT cards.

What can I purchase at a farmers market with my EBT card?

The following items can be purchased with an EBT card:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, fish, eggs and dairy products
  • Honey and maple products
  • Jams, jellies, pickles and sauces
  • Baked goods
  • Seeds and plants that produce food

What can't I purchase at a farmers market with my EBT card?

The following items cannot be purchased with an EBT card:

  • Food items intended for immediate consumption at the market, such as coffee or prepared hot foods.
  • Non-food items, such as crafts, clothes, or flowers.
  • Produce that is intended for ornamental purposes only, such as gourds or carving pumpkins.