Using your benefits at Schenectady Greenmarket
What is Schenectady Greenmarket?
Schenectady Greenmarket is a weekly farmers market held every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., that operates year-round. From May through October, the market is located outside on Jay and Franklin Streets in front of City Hall. From November through April, we move inside Proctors on State Street.
The market is the home to over seventy vendors throughout the year, all of whom are producer only. Producer only means that everything for sale at the market has been grown, cooked or created by the people selling the product to you. We’re very proud of our producer only status and so are our vendors!
You can buy just about everything you will need for the week with your tokens.
Here’s a breakdown of some things can (and cannot) buy with your $1 tokens.
What you CAN buy with your $1 tokens:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Plants to grow food (example: tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, etc.)
- Baked goods: wrapped, labeled and intended for home consumption
- Meat, fish, poultry
- Dairy products
- Maple and honey products
- Jams, sauces, soups, etc.
- Coffee (ground or beans only)
What you CANNOT buy with your tokens:
- Beer, wine or liquor
- Non food items (arts, crafts, etc.)
- Food meant to be eaten on site
- Hot foods and drinks (prepared food or cups of coffee)
- Vitamins or medicines
Benefits of shopping at Schenectady Greenmarket:
- Conveniently located in the heart of downtown
- Greater variety of local produce
- Fresh, more flavorful and more nutritious items
- Meet the farmers and food producers that have grown your food
Tips for shopping at the market:
- Bring a reusable tote and, if you have it, a cart so that you can easily carry your purchases home
- Browse the market before making your purchases – there’s a lot of choice at the market!
- Bring a cooler to keep your purchases fresh until you get home
- Come early for the best selection
- Talk to the farmers and other vendors – they have a wealth of information to share with you
- Encourage your children to get involved in making the purchasing decisions
- Ask questions! Vendors and market staff are happy to help you at any time
What benefits can I use at Schenectady Greenmarket? How do I use them?
The most commonly used benefit at the market is EBT/SNAP. The process to use your EBT is simple, just come up to the market table (in front of Pizza King) and hand the cashier your EBT card. The cashier will ask you how much you would like to spend and handle the transaction. You will receive green $1 tokens for your purchases. These tokens are used just like cash for acceptable products (see list above).
Many people receive WIC checks for $4 during the height of the growing season (June through October). These checks state “fresh fruits and vegetables only.” You can go directly to the produce vendors at the market and use them for your purchases. These coupons cannot be used to purchase tokens and must be used directly with the produce vendors.
Fresh Connect Checks
The Governor’s Office has sponsored a program for the past few years called Fresh Connect. For every $5 you purchase on your EBT/SNAP card, you receive a $2 coupon that can be used directly with vendors (for acceptable products) at the market. This program increases your purchasing power by 40%. For example, if you spend $10 in EBT, you’ll get an extra $4 in checks – giving you a total of $14 to spend at the market.
Can I use the tokens I purchase at Schenectady Greenmarket at other markets?
No. The program is site-specific, meaning that the money you’ve spent to purchase tokens at our market cannot be transferred to other markets in the area (the Thursday market for example). However, the tokens never expire – so you can use your leftover tokens the next time you visit the market (either next week, next month or next year).
Tokens are issued in $1 increments, can you get change for your purchase?
Vendors are not allowed to give cash change for any $1 tokens. The vendor you purchase from will either ask you to add additional product to bring the sale to an even dollar amount or you can add your own cash to for the difference.
Isn’t the farmers market more expensive than shopping at a grocery store?
Actually, it isn’t. While some things are more expensive (like meat) many other grocery items are priced at or below supermarket prices. In season produce is usually cheaper and the variety of produce available is greater (and fresher!) than what you can find at the store.
Freshness is important. The items you purchase at the farmers market are usually picked the day before the market while at grocery stores they are days or weeks old. This means that the food you purchase at the market lasts longer – stretching your dollar even further!
Thank you to MVP Health Care for their participation and sponsorship of this outreach effort.