WORTHINGTON — Producers are gearing up for Tuesday’s opening of the Worthington Farmers Market season, which organizers say will have both new and returning programs.
The market will be open Tuesdays and Saturdays through October. The Tuesday market is open from 4 to 7 p.m. in downtown Worthington between Wells Fargo and the Worthington Fire Station. Saturday’s 6:30 a.m. to noon market in the ACE Hardware parking lot won’t begin until July 6, due in part to the slow start to this year’s growing season.
As always, the farmers market will be a destination to purchase fresh produce grown within an approximately 60-mile radius. Select vendors will also offer fresh baked and canned goods.
For the fourth year, market visitors will be able to use their credit and debit cards or Electronic Benefits Transfer to utilize Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Thanks to grant funding, market dollars will also be available to match what benefits EBT users spend with the market.
Christine Bullerman, who helped launch the program and continues to volunteer with it, said the addition of the card machine has been a win-win.
"It's helping our EBT users stretch their dollars further and have access to healthy, locally grown food," she said. "It's also helping our local ag economy."
Bullerman said the addition of the card machine has brought in $13,700 during the last three years. It's also attracted 203 new customers who utilized their SNAP benefits.
Visitors wishing to use those payment methods will be given tokens in $5 increments.
While tokens may only be purchased during the Tuesday market, most vendors will also accept them during the Saturday market.
While the return of the successful token program is exciting, organizers hope to also bring in new entertainment and activities.
"We want to make it fun for the whole family to come out," said market manager Jill Cuperus. Special events will be posted to the Worthington MN Farmers Market Facebook page.
While the market officially gets underway on Tuesday, Cuperus asked that visitors be patient with vendors, considering the delayed spring planting many growers experienced due to excessive rain.
“We’ve had great weather in the last few weeks," she said, "but we’re probably about a month of two behind what we’d like to be."