MS. REBECCA SHEIR
Welcome back to "Metro Connection." I'm Rebecca Sheir. And today, we're talking firsts.
MS. BERNADINE PRINCE
Thank you, one, two, three, four, five there you go, thanks. You have a good day now.
And the place we're heading next...
We started in 1997 with 15 farmers. Sunnyside Farm and Orchard, Blackrock Orchard, Toyco (ph) Orchards.
...is itself a first.
...Smiths Meadow Farms, Subbolo (sounds like) which has buffalo. I mean the quantity and the variety of food that you can do. Oh, we just passed the gelato, see?
It's the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market, the first in the FRESHFARM Markets family. And as Bernadine Prince...
I'm co-founder and co-executive director of FRESHFARM Markets.
...will ever so proudly tell you, that family now includes 11 markets...
Six in D.C., four in Maryland and one in Virginia.
Which means the farmer-grower is here selling what comes from Chesapeake Bay water shed region, which is about 150, 200 mile radius around the district.
The Dupont Market which, by the way, now has 42 producers is offering many firsts starting this weekend. It will open earlier at 8:30.
I've already had several of the hardcore customers that are already here in line at 8:30 say great.
It'll expand farther up 20th Street.
A lot of people say, ah, I don't go to Dupont. It's too crowded down there. Well, we're going to be relieving a little bit of congestion.
And it's teaming up with the local company Compost Cab.
You can buy a compost bucket and return your vegetable matter product back to the market every weekend and someone will actually take care of composting it for you.
But there's one first FRESHFARM isn't quite ready to launch at Dupont just yet, though believe me, it would love to. See, several of FRESHFARM's other markets...
Silver Spring Market, our little H Street Market and the White House Market offer something called Double Dollars. Basically, if people come to the market with supplemental income coupons...
FRESHFARM will double their money.
We give them up to $10 in matching dollars for them to buy fresh food at the market.
Prince says the program is a win, win. It's good for customers...
Because those food stamps can be used for any food product. They can buy Wonder Bread and stuff like that so why not make it so that they can buy fresh, healthy food at the market?
MR. WIN SHAWLTIS
We still have honey crisp apples and the first thing in the spring will be asparagus and strawberries.
It's good for farmers like Win Shawltis (ph) of Quaker Valley Orchards.
It increases our sales, number one, and it also brings better food into more houses.
But to start Double Dollars at Dupont, FRESHFARM needs to raise, well, let's just say a pretty penny.
It would require us to raise $20,000.
Okay, let's just say a lot of pretty pennies.
Last year, we gave out a little over $19,000. For every dollar we give out, it costs us a dollar in administrative costs to the program.
Bernadine Prince says the goal is to raise the $20,000 by month's end and so far...
We've had gifts from $15 to $1,000. The support has been really great. One young couple said to me, I feel so blessed I can afford fresh, healthy food for my family. Thanks for making it possible for others who are less fortunate.
If FRESHFARM surpasses its goal, Prince says it could offer lower income shoppers even more incentives.
So instead of a $10 match, we could match $15 or $20. That really expands their food shopping. And food stamps can be used year 'round so we would hope to attract those families as regular year-round shoppers.
And they join the six thousand people who already flock to the Dupont Market each week, which, come to think of it, would make those longer hours and expanded space all the more worth it. To learn more about FRESHFARM Markets and the Double Dollars program and to find a farmer's market near you, check out our website, metroconnection.org
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