The Newberry County Department of Health and Environmental Control farmers market has expanded with more farmers and more times to buy.
The market, which is open to the public, is designed to provide healthy fruits and vegetables grown in South Carolina to those who get WIC, which is for low income children under the age of five and pregnant and postpartum women.
Each year the local DHEC market gets a limited number of vouchers to give to clients, said Newberry County Health Supervisor Beth Bozard.
The clients can use the money to purchase the fresh produce in addition to the other foods they get through the program.
Bozard said the guidelines for the program are regulated by federal guides and only those with fruits and vegetables grown in the state can be vendors at the market.
In years past only one vendor has sold at the market on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
But this year Lever Farms and Dreher Island Produce are vendors on Tuesday and Thursday mornings with Cathy Gallman there on those afternoons. The market is manned by Chappells Nursery on Wednesday mornings.
This week the farmers had a wide selection of produce including watermelon, cantaloupes, green beans, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, peppers, peaches and plums and potatoes.
The market is located at the Newberry Health Services building at the corner of Wilson and Smith roads in Newberry.
The WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) with checks to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets. WIC participants receive these nutrition benefits in addition to the regular WIC food package. Local farmers are reimbursed for the face value of the checks, which enhances their earnings and supports their participation in farmers’ markets.
The South Carolina FMNP provides on a one-time basis printed checks to women and children enrolled on WIC in selected counties. WIC staff provides education on using the checks, and nutrition education on choosing, storing, and preparing fresh produce.
Checks are distributed to participants by local WIC staff at the local health department. Participants receive a total benefit of $25, 5 checks worth $5 each. A family receives a maximum of $50, says Bozard.
Checks are issued starting this month and are valid at all authorized farmers’ markets until Oct. 15.
No change may be returned to the FMNP participant from the check. If the purchase is less than $5 or the face value of multiple checks, farmers make up the difference in produce. Likewise, if the purchase is more than $5 or the face value of multiple checks, participants are allowed to make up the difference in cash.
In 2011, a total of 28 sites in 19 counties participated in the program in South Carolina.