Farmers market sees new payment options

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The Socorro farmers market offers fresh produce and locally made goods every Tuesday and Saturday. Shoppers can double their EBT dollars by shopping at the farmers market.
Juan Baeza | El Defensor Chieftain

Socorro’s farmers market has seen great turnouts as of late, with the market now offering WIC and EBT as other ways for customers to pay for their fresh produce. Farmers market organizers want the community to know that these programs are available.

JoAnn Romano is a weekly vendor at the market, selling her jams and vegetables. Romano says she has seen quite an increase in customers in the year she has been setting up as a vendor. “On Tuesdays we see between 50-70 people come by and on Saturdays we see a big crowd. We probably get around 300 individuals to come out to the market,” Romano said.

With the EBT and WIC programs, if a customer spends $20, they get $40 and half of those $40 has to be used to buy fresh produce. Romano said that the farmers market has just about anything you could be looking for. “If you can’t find something here, then you aren’t looking hard enough. We have a lot of good stuff. We have a vendor on Saturday that makes fresh croissants. They are out of this world,” she said.

Romano has seen the growth in customers now that these programs have been incorporated into the farmer’s market. “There’s a lot of small communities all around Socorro County. Those communities have individuals that are a part of these programs but what good is it to have those WIC coupons if they have nowhere to use them? I am glad we provide a place for them to use them so they can get their fresh produce,” Romano said.

Robin Howard is a constant at the farmer’s market. Not only does he go to buy his fresh produce, but you can find him performing from time to time at the market. “The atmosphere is great; the weather will affect the numbers at times. If there’s rain or wind you might see fewer customers, but Saturdays tend to be a great turnout,” Howard said. The farmers market will sometimes have live music for the customers to enjoy while they shop.

Cari Powell, a vendor and vice president of the farmers market board, said that the market has offered this type of help before but due to changes in leadership and the pandemic. The market let those things lapse. “Our goal as the market was to get those things back,” Powell said.

On Saturday July 23, the farmers market will have their family fun day, which will feature live music and Churro the burro. If the community has further questions, they can email farmtoplaza@gmail.com.