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SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE MARKS FARMERS MARKET WEEK BY ISSUING A CHALLENGE TO EAT LOCAL
Stresses Importance of Farmers Markets and Eating All-Jersey Meals
For Immediate Release: July 29, 2010
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(FLEMINGTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today called on state residents to visit their nearest community farmers market, where they can find everything they need for an all-New Jersey meal.
Fisher made his call at the Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers Market in Flemington, where there are farmers selling their just-picked Jersey Fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs and vendors selling artisan cheese, meat, eggs, baked goods, Jersey wine and cut flowers to beautify the dinner table.
“Community farmers markets bring the farm to towns throughout the state, with all of our summertime favorites, such as corn, tomatoes, peaches, peppers and countless other produce varieties,” said Secretary Fisher. “These markets also offer federal programs that give access to this fresh produce to qualifying senior citizens and individuals in need.”
Fisher marked the upcoming Farmers Market Week, August 1 to 7, at the market at Dvoor Farm in Flemington with Yvette Jackson, United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Region Administrator and state, county and local officials.
Certified farmers at the Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers Market and many other markets throughout the state can accept Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers for the purchase of locally-grown fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program administered by the State Department of Health and Senior Services allots two $10 checks to qualifying individuals, which are valid through November 30.
“USDA is pleased that seniors and WIC moms and their families benefit from the affordable, healthful and delicious produce New Jersey farmers bring to these markets,” said Yvette Jackson. “Fresh fruits and vegetables are vital in promoting childhood health and reducing obesity. The FMNP is an important program that ensures that everyone has access to Jersey Fresh’s summer bounty at its peak.”
Left to Right, Flemington Mayor Robert Hauck, Hunterdon County Freeholder Director William Mennen, Assemblyman John DiMaio, Secretary Fisher, Margaret Waldock of Hunterdon Land Trust, Raritan Township Mayor Tom Antosiewicz, Christopher Phelan of Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce, Freeholder Ronald Sworen and Regional Administrator Jackson
The WIC FMNP received $1,036,730 from the USDA this year and is expected to serve 51,836 people. The Senior FMNP received $1,082,296 and is expected to serve 54,000 people. In 2009, 48,228 WIC recipients and 36,360 eligible senior citizens participated in the program.
Given today's busy lifestyle, it is essential to keep focused on eating a healthy and balanced diet that includes sufficient servings of fruits and vegetables,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh. “Through our programs, we can help to educate people about how they can apply the principles of good nutrition in their own lives. One example of this is the Farmer's Market Nutrition Program, which makes it possible for WIC participants and their families to share in the benefits of these healthy foods."
In addition, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients can use their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to purchase fresh produce from certain farmers at community farmers markets. This year, 14 farmers who sell their produce at markets like the Hunterdon Land Trust, have wireless equipment to process SNAP transactions. There are 21 of the EBT machines operational at various farm stands around the state.
“Access to nutritious food options for families is an important part of staying healthy,” said Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “Our New Jersey farmers have some of the best produce on the market. With EBT participation at many local farmer’s markets and stands, everyone gets to enjoy Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables!”
There are 143 community farmers markets in New Jersey, 11 of them new this year.
The Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers Market opened in 2007 to support local farmers and Hunterdon County’s agricultural economy. The market has been open seasonally on Sundays for the past three years, and this year the market added Thursdays afternoons.
“The Farmers’ Market has become a community gathering place, with friends and neighbors meeting at the market to support the farmers, shop for fresh, healthy local food,” said Margaret Waldock, Executive Director of Hunterdon Land Trust. “The response from the community has grown tremendously as people’s awareness as to the importance of local food production has increased. The feedback we’ve received from customers indicates a real satisfaction in gaining direct access to who’s growing their food—getting to know their farmers—and a growing appreciation for the seasonality of agriculture and the abundance of products available at any given time of the year.”
The Hunterdon Land Trust was incorporated in 1996 as a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to the protection of Hunterdon County’s natural resources and rural landscapes. Since its inception, the land trust has facilitated the permanent protection of over 4,500 acres of farmland, natural areas, and open space in Hunterdon County.
Governor Chris Christie proclaimed August 1 through 7 as New Jersey Farmers Market Week to encourage all citizens to visit farmers’ markets wherever they live or work and reap the benefits of Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables. Likewise, United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has proclaimed the week National Farmers Market Week. In 2009, there were 5,274 community farmers markets operating in the U.S.
Jersey Fresh produce is at the peak of the season with most fruits and vegetables available, including sweet corn, tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, squash, peppers, eggplant, basil, beets, cabbage, collards, Swiss chard, arugula, kale, leeks, cilantro, parsley, dill, mint, dandelions, turnips and white potatoes.
To locate a community farmers market near you, visit www.state.nj.us/jerseyfresh/searches/urban.htm.