FRESHFARM Markets


PRODUCE PLUS MAKES FRESH FOODS ACCESSIBLE
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Thanks to the District of Columbia, shoppers who use their nutritional benefits at DC farmers markets – including 8 FRESHFARM Markets – can eat more fresh fruits and vegetables this market season.

Produce Plus is a new nutrition benefit made possible by the DC Department of Health to increase people’s access to fruits and vegetables. Every week, eligible shoppers at 28 DC farmers markets receive Produce Plus checks worth $10. The checks can be used to purchase fruits and vegetables from any participating farmer. To be eligible, shoppers must be a DC resident and participate in any of the following programs: SNAP, WIC, SFMNP, CSFP, Medicaid, and TANF. The District of Columbia is providing $130,000 in Produce Plus checks to be distributed through September 2014.

FRESHFARM Markets has also expanded its network of farmers markets by adding two new DC markets – CityCenterDC and Mount Vernon Triangle – where SNAP (EBT/Food Stamps), WIC, and Senior Coupons are all accepted. At all 8 FRESHFARM Markets in DC, FRESHFARM gives up to $15 in Matching Dollar tokens to any SNAP, WIC, and Senior Coupon customers each market day to spend on fresh, healthy foods.

In the first month of Produce Plus benefits, FRESHFARM Markets has given out over $5,700. Our FRESHFARM Markets staff has seen some very happy shoppers buying more fruits and vegetables every week! Here is what they are saying:

“The government is only giving me $9 a day to eat on, but by coming to FRESHFARM Markets I am getting plenty of good food to eat.” ~ Adrian, Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market shopper

“Produce Plus has helped me have a healthy summer diet this year. I recently read a study that said that people who eat healthy, exercise and don’t drink or smoke live longer, so that’s what I am trying to do. Thanks to Produce Plus I’ve reduced my consumption of chips, cookies, and ice cream.” ~ Lee, shopper at CityCenterDC, Foggy Bottom, Penn Quarter, and Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Markets.

“Last summer I wasn’t able to eat local fruit because I wasn’t able to afford it. I was mostly just getting bananas from Trader Joe’s and some food from Food & Friends, but the quality isn’t the same. Now for breakfast I’m eating yogurt with fresh peaches and a little drizzle of honey – all from the farmers markets.” ~ Learlie, Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market shopper.

FRESHFARM Markets believes that everyone in our farmers market communities should have access to fresh, healthy, locally grown food. To find out more about nutrition benefits at our farmers markets and our Matching Dollars program, please go here or contact Juliet Glass at 202.362.8889 or Juliet(at)freshfarmmarket.org.

~ Bernie Prince, FRESHFARM Markets Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director

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SHARE YOUR OPINION IN OUR SHOPPER SURVEY
Take Our Survey

We here at FRESHFARM Markets want to hear from you, which is why we are happy to announce our new shopper survey. As one of the largest organizers of farmers markets in our region, your opinion and experience is very important to us. We plan to take the results of this survey and use them to evaluate our farmers market operations and services, as well as our various programs. The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and your participation is completely voluntary. All participants who finish the survey will be entered in a drawing where we will select 12 winners to receive $100 in FRESHFARM Market tokens. You can spend the tokens on anything at any of our 13 farmers markets and the tokens to do not expire.

If you love seasonal, fresh, summer foods than take our survey today! Have any questions? Contact us directly and we will be sure to follow up with you personally.

Sincerely,
FRESHFARM Markets Staff
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SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENT WITH A LOCAL TWIST
Kip and Otto blog

For Kip Kelly, a water reel sprinkler means less time spent irrigating, more efficient water usage and heartier root vegetables. It also means $3,000 in upfront costs that he doesn’t have on hand.

Kip lives with his wife and son at Full Cellar Farm, located on 175 acres of beautiful, fertile land in Jefferson, Maryland. Kip cultivates vegetables for markets and raises chickens, turkeys and pigs on pasture and grain, much of which he grows himself. A new father, Kip has his hands full with little Otto Walter Kelley, his first-born son. He’d spend all the time he could with his wife and son but farming is more than a full-time job. Like most small farmers, Kip knows a thousand ways he could improve his farm, if only he had a little extra time or money. With a little help from FRESHFARM Markets, Kiva Zip gave him both.

Kiva Zip is a program of Kiva.org that provides zero interest loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs through its one million members who provide loan funds starting at $5. Kiva Zip, unlike most traditional lending models, focuses on the character of a lender as opposed to her/his credit score and relies on the relationships that we as trustees have built with responsible and innovative borrowers. The best part is that Kip doesn’t have to pay a single penny in interest. This works in part because Kip can receive the loan entirely electronically and in part because FRESHFARM Markets has endorsed him as a responsible borrower. For those that can’t borrow from a family or bank, like Kip, this type of community support is crucial. “Customers, who were also lenders, came by to check in with me which was meaningful both monetarily and emotionally” says Kip Kelly.

It only took two weeks and 35 lenders to raise the $3,000 Kip needed for the water reel sprinkler. Kip’s previous method of irrigation was drip tape – long, cheap plastic hosing with evenly spaced holes that drips water slowly into the soil. He spent countless hours pulling out the non-reusable tape from last year’s rows and throwing out heaps of black plastic garbage. Kip’s new water reel irrigator will help him bring more produce to market, increasing revenue and saving him time. When Kip repays the loan, every one of the 35 lenders is paid back in full.

FRESHFARM Markets, as a trustee of Kiva Zip, has now endorsed five of our farmers and producers for over $23,000 in zero interest loans. But we knew this was a golden opportunity to do even more for our community; to truly uphold our mission to provide economic opportunities for local farmers and artisanal producers. The Jean Wallace Douglas Farmer Fund, a fund created by FRESHFARM Markets, was set up to support new and innovative farmers on the frontline of alternative agriculture with important training and access to the tools they need to grow their farming operations.

Historically, the fund has been used for scholarships that send our farmers to regional sustainable agriculture conferences or to courses in farm management or new techniques. We saw that with Kiva Zip, the fund could do much more – directly provide the capital needed for our farmers and producers to take their farm or business to the next level.

Now, with the support of the Jean Wallace Douglas family, FRESHFARM Markets is a Kiva Zip Super Lender, committed to lend $1,000 to each of the next ten farmers or producers we, as a trustee endorse.

Jurgen Schelzig and Penny Sagawa, the cheese producers behind Spring Gap Mountain Creamery, were the first borrowers we endorsed to also receive $1,000 of support from the Jean Wallace Douglas Farmer Fund. This show of monetary support will help jumpstart the fundraising efforts for their cream separator and butter churn.

Through Kiva Zip, we are more effectively carrying out our mission of providing vital economic opportunities for our network of farmers and producers. The beauty of Kiva Zip is that it provides an opportunity for supporters like to you directly invest in the local farmers you care about and absorb some of the risk that innovative ideas naturally come with. The Jean Wallace Douglas Fund has committed $10,000 to build fundraising momentum for our next ten loans – but we need your help. Jurgen and Penny have 75 lenders from around the world, but their loan is still fundraising. To help them bring delicious local butter to market and support sustainable agriculture in our region, lend here. To stay updated on our Kiva Zip loans, read our weekly e-newsletter or inquire at a FRESHFARM market information booth near you.

Written by FRESHFARM staffers Genna Lipari & Sam Giffin.

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Know Farms. Know Food.
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Have you noticed the brightly colored signs at each farm stand at the H Street and Downtown Silver Spring FRESHFARM Markets? Our goal is to start the conversation at our markets in a new way. Our markets are fueling the appetite for local fresh foods and we hope these signs will bring shoppers along for the journey. The signs are designed to answer questions and spark conversations between shoppers and farmers, as well as provide interesting information about our farmers and producers.

Each farmer and producer will have their own, customized sign at market with icons illustrating the impact each farm and/or business is having on our community.  The signs document the number of jobs each farmer and producer creates, the new economy  created by the farmer/producer/chef collaboration, the number of acres being actively farmed by market farmers and more.

Here are some highlights:

Miles to Market
Location of a farm and the number of miles each farmer or producer drives to market.

Number of Employees Number of employees. For farmers, also includes interns and seasonal or H2-A visa workers.

Total Acres Farmer: total acres and acres in production. Producer: number of farm suppliers.

No Chemicals Farmer does not use chemicals on land or crops.

Humane Practices Farmer utilizes FRESHFARM Markets-verified animal-friendly practices.

No rBGH The dairy does not use the genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone.

Organic Humane FRESHFARM Markets verifies that these farms are certified in these categories.

Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free) These businesses employ special dietary practices and follow dietary preparation standards.

~ Ann Yonkers, FRESHFARM Markets Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director

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ANNAPOLIS FRESHFARM MARKET: WHERE ARMY MEETS NAVY
Nice Farm Creamery Blog

I have known Bob Miller, dairy farmer and owner of Nice Farms Creamery, for going on four years now at the Annapolis FRESHFARM Market. Hardworking and hilarious, he rolls his eyes when I chide him for blasting heavy metal music at 7:00 AM on Sunday mornings with the truck windows rolled UP. “Bob!” I yell “you’ll lose your hearing!” “Tara!” he yells back, “it’s already gone, I was in IRAQ!” No wonder he gives me a wry smile as he accepts a loaner of tent weights for his pop-up canopy. A rogue gust of wind off of Ego Alley is nothing when I learned he was stopping insurgents from blowing things up on his two tours to Iraq!

Now if I could just get him to eat something green—like what he feeds his all pastured-raised cows, fondly referred to as his girls. Bob takes a lot of pride in the level of care, native grasses and sunshine that his “girls” get. The proof is in the product. You can taste the sweetness and the sunshine in his whole and 2% milk, whole milk yogurt, chocolate milk and fresh butter!  

Bob enlisted in the Army National Guard at age 17 after having grown up on a dairy farm milking and fencing. While in the guard, Bob completed basic training. He then attended Salisbury State University on an ROTC scholarship, majoring in history and continuing to farm throughout his college career. He then went on to serve two tours in Iraq. Farming and military experience was a great fit for his second tour in Iraq. As a patrol leader in and around the city of Kirkuk, which is surrounded by rural farmland, he found himself interfacing with local farmers and Iraqi Army officers. He found he had common ground and shared many of the same farming experiences. This enhanced communications which gave him a leg up in better military planning. 

Upon leaving the Army Bob returned to the family farm. It was getting increasingly hard to stay in operation without becoming larger and abandoning the practice of raising his dairy cows on 100% fresh grass. Bob’s family have been dairy farmers since the 1930’s starting with great uncle Leon Nice and they wanted to continue. While on patrol in Iraq Bob witnessed small family farms that were totally self sufficient. This inspired his vision to add a creamery to the dairy, thereby giving Nice Farms the autonomy it needed to prosper. In contrast to the large dairy and usually separate creamery operations stateside, Bob envisioned his family’s operation to include a creamery.

With $20,000 in savings which would only cover one fifth of the planning and construction, the Millers got to work doing much of the building themselves. Dad (Bob), Mom(Chase) and younger brothers Luke age 20, Jacob age 8 and Chase 16 who now does a lot of the farm work. Since then the Miller family now includes Bob’s wife Jaclynne who is also from a farming family and their three children, John age 8, Anna age 2 and Mary age 1. It is truly a Nice Farms family!

Enter Midshipman 3rd Class Jett Utah Watson, a sophomore at the US Naval Academy! He has been a regular attendee at market since he moved from Lubbock Texas — a total contrast to Annapolis. He applied to USNA without knowing much about it, came for a candidate visit in October of 2011, figured it seemed pretty neat, and showed up on Induction Day in June of 2012. Jett first started coming to market thinking it would be a good place to take girls on dates. “I never got the girls, but it seemed like a cool place,” he said. Since then he has struck up a friendship with Bob Miller and often volunteers to help man his stand.

He and Bob talk a lot about history, military, and more. Bob has a great interest in the Navy, and he obviously has a whole lot of true military experience. Eventually Bob offered an open invitation for Jett to visit Nice Farms Creamery. He ended up without plans for one spring break so Jett spent his vacation with the Millers on the farm. During that time he did just about everything from feeding cows and cats, making pasta, wrangling children, bottling milk, packaging yogurt, cleaning vats, shooting guns. He was amazed at the amount of cleaning involved with maintaining standards at the creamery. 

Army/Navy rivalries aside — Bob and Jett can be found each Sunday at our Annapolis FRESHFARM Market from 8am till 12noon. If you love food (especially fresh milk, yogurt and butter!), history, people watching and small talk be sure to stop by and visit the Nice Farms Creamery booth this summer.

Written by Annapolis Market Manager Tara Boyle

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YOUR DONATION TO MATCHING DOLLARS WILL BE MATCHED IF MADE BY APRIL 30TH!
Tokens for Blog

Make your gift to our Matching Dollars program before April 30th and it will be matched by a very generous donor. We need your support to meet our $60,000 goal to keep our match at $15 and to expand the Matching Dollars program to our Annapolis FRESHFARM Market in May. Donate online today! Every dollar you give to our Matching Dollars helps shoppers using their nutritional benefits (SNAP/Food Stamps, WIC, SNFMP) so they can buy healthy market foods from our farmers every week. Learn more about our program and make your donation by clicking here today! All gifts are tax deductible.

Also, be sure to come on down to our Chevy Chase DC neighborhood fundraiser on April 25th! When you shop with our special coupons at Politics & Prose or Little Red Fox or dine at Buck’s or Comet Pint Pong on Friday, April 25th a percentage of your purchases will be donated to our Matching Dollars program. Helping buy local food for those in need has never been this fun, so download your coupons here or pick them up at market this week. Market staff will also be on hand at Politics & Prose all day on April 25th with extra coupons and to thank you for your support!

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