F-M area farmers markets grow in size and accessibility for 2018 season
FARGO — With sandals on your feet, sunglasses on your head and dirt under your fingernails, you reach for an unfamiliar yet appetizing green vegetable, placing it in your canvas bag.
Like clockwork each summer, farmers, families, foodies and hungry folk gather at open-air markets around Fargo-Moorhead to buy their week's groceries.
In 2018, farmers markets in the Red River Valley have grown to include more locations, entertainment and produce. Consider visiting one of the six area markets this summer.
Dilworth Farmers Market
Whistle Stop Park, 103 4th St. NE, Dilworth, Minn.
3-7 p.m. Thursdays, July 5 through Sept. 27
Located behind Dilworth's historic locomotive, this market includes vegetables, fruits, jams, jellies, local honey and handmade items like jewelry. Open Thursday evenings until Sept. 27, Dilworth Farmers Market will host a special Arts in the Park event on July 26.
For more information, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/DilworthFarmersMarket.
Farmers Market and Beyond
Rustad Recreation Center parking lot, 601 26th Ave. E., West Fargo
3:30-6:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, July 6 through October 5
This year, the growing West Fargo's Farmers Market will be at its new location at Rustad Recreation Center. In its 11th year, this farmers market sponsored by the West Fargo Park District will include produce, flowers, bulbs, jams, jellies, dairy products, meats, herbs and berries. Rain or shine, this market will be open. As a member of the North Dakota Farmers Market and Growers Association, this market works to connect local growers with West Fargo residents.
For more information, visit wfparks.org/activities/farmersmarket or call Matthew at 701-433-5360.
NoMo Pop-Up Farmers Market
Junkyard Brewing Co., 1416 1st Ave. N., Moorhead
2-6 p.m. one Sunday per month, June 24 through September (weather permitting)
This smaller outdoor market features eight to 10 produce vendors. Located in the parking lot of a Moorhead hotspot — Junkyard Brewing — offers the chance for parents to get their weekly shopping done and squeeze in a date night by sampling one of the brewery's inventive summer brews. Try a made-from-scratch taco at Pico's Food Truck while you're there, too.
Visit www.junkyardbeer.com for more information.
Moorhead Farmers Market
Moorhead Center Mall parking lot, 510 Center Ave., Moorhead
3:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, June 19 through Sept. 25
An indoor or outdoor market, visit the Moorhead Farmers Market no matter the weather, rain or shine. Featuring fresh vegetables, fruit, baked goods, canned items, honey, jams, jellies and pet products, this market connects its residents to regional producers. This summer, bring the whole family, listen to live music or eat at one of the food trucks.
For more information, visit www.moorheadcentermall.com/events.
Red River Market
409 Broadway N., Fargo
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, July 14 through Oct. 27
Now in its fourth season, the Red River Market will boast even more space and vendors this year offering fruits, vegetables, baked goods, local food vendors and more. The Red River Market mixes locally sourced produce with live entertainment and artisans, making it more of a Saturday morning "outing" than just a shopping trip.
For more information, visit www.redriver.market
Northern Plains Farmers Market at West Acres
West Acres parking lot, 3902 13th Ave. S., Fargo
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, June 26 through mid-October
Located off 42nd Street South between 13th and 15th avenues in the parking lot of Fargo's large mall, this market offers regionally-grown produce, fresh bread, artisanal products, flowers and plants, locally raised meat and roasted nuts.
Visit www.westacres.com/the-market.php for more information.
Increasing access for all
Farmers markets decrease distance and remove the location barriers between urban and rural communities, but for those living below the poverty line, invisibile economic hurdles still exist.
For more than 75 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers and community members have created policies and food assistance programs that aid these people.
In fact, Mrs. Mabel McFiggan was the first person to purchase and use food stamps in 1939 according to the USDA. In 1964, Congress passed the Food Stamp Act dedicated to strengthening the agricultural economy and providing improved levels of nutrition among low-income households.
The program now known as SNAP — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — reached an all-time high of 29 million participants per month in August 2008. The USDA expanded eligibility for grants in 2013 so that farmers could accept more business from SNAP customers.
Now, after a person applies and qualifies for SNAP, they can purchase qualifying food items at grocery stores, convenience stores and some farmers markets and co-op food programs with their EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card, which works like a debit card. SNAP benefits are loaded onto their EBT cards each month.
Although the ability to use EBT differs at each farmers markets — and sometimes each vendor — both Minnesota and North Dakota support the use of SNAP through EBT cards at farmers markets in different ways.
• North Dakota: Each month, the North Dakota Department of Human Services issues about $7 million in food benefits. Swipe an EBT card at the Red River Market information booth in downtown Fargo and receive matching funds up to $10 per market, meaning those who spend $10 get $20 of funds. The SNAP Double Bucks program is funded by the Dakota Medical Foundation and Fargo Youth Initiative.
• Minnesota: Like North Dakota, Hunger Solution Minnesota administers a program of matching "Market Bucks" up to $10 spent through SNAP/EBT purchases. The University of Minnesota Extension website has a map of farmers markets in Minnesota that accept SNAP/EBT that can be viewed at z.umn.edu/farmersmarkets.