Summit County Community Market features local produce available to SNAP recipients
The Summit County Community Market runs from noon to 4 p.m. the next two Tuesdays, Aug. 27 and Sept. 3 at Park City Hospital, 900 Round Valley Drive.
If you’re longing for a doughnut peach or a sourdough country loaf, the parking lot of Park City Hospital might be the spot to be the next two Tuesdays.
The Summit County Community Market planned to return for its third year Tuesday and Summit County community health educator Katherine Wilson said overseeing the market is one of her favorite responsibilities.
“I love it. I love when people are connected with their food,” she said. “I like when people can see where it comes from (and) I especially love when people can see what they can do with it. How exactly can I cook kale? What is chard?”
The market offers plenty of information to go along with the snap peas. There’s a cooking demonstration showcasing what to do with newfound ingredients, a car-seat checkpoint where parents can come have their car seat expertly installed by Health Department staff and free health screenings provided by the hospital.
It’s the only one in the county that has a special card reader that enables people to pay for fresh local produce using federal food assistance programs, Wilson said.
Formerly known as food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program uses an Electronic Benefits Transfer to pay retailers for items covered by the program. Many retailers have card readers to access those funds. The community market does as well.
People who receive government assistance can use their card like any other debit card at the market. And thanks to a program called Double Up Food Bucks, the first $20 in SNAP benefits will be worth $40.
Wilson explained a state grant pays to double the funds used to pay for locally grown fruits and vegetables, up to $20. The limit was $10 last year.
Vendors at the market are mostly local, Wilson said, with Tagge’s Fruit Farm, located north of Ogden, probably having the longest distance to travel.
Others include growers from the Summit Community Gardens, Francis Family Farms and Rustling Aspen Farm from Midway, and Hawk & Sparrow organic bakery, also from Midway.
Even the Summit County Sheriff’s Office has a greenhouse and garden that might have enough produce to come to the Aug. 27 market, Wilson said.
The benefits of shopping local are more than just tastier veggies, Wilson said. Nutrient levels are optimized the sooner food is eaten after it is picked, she said, and there are environmental benefits when the food travels shorter distances to consumers.
Plus, buying local keeps local farms going.
The market will feature Utah State University Extension instructors, including a nutrition expert and instructors giving information about backyard gardening and how to use what comes from the ground.
The hospital’s health offerings include blood pressure tests, a mental health questionnaire and diabetes screenings. People will receive their results at the market, Wilson said, informing them of potential risks.
In its first year, the market was at the Health Department, but it just wasn’t big enough, Wilson said. Moving to the hospital site last year worked out great, she said, and the hospital invited the event back before organizers had even asked.
Wilson said around 300 people attended each market last year, and it’s grown by about 100 customers yearly.
It’s a smaller market, Wilson said, but that allows more interaction between customers and farmers.
“They care about their products, want you to have the best possible experience,” Wilson said. “It’s so small and intimate, people come away with it with fresh produce and information.”
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