More Than 2,000 Local Seniors Qualify For Free Produce At Local Farmers Markets Under Ritchie Program

Also Announcing Annual Farmers Market Guide Available to Connect Hungry Consumers with Fresh Foods


State Senator Patty Ritchie is announcing that she has secured $500,000 in the recent state budget that aims to deliver farm fresh fruits and vegetables to area seniors at no cost from farmers markets across Central and Northern New York.  

This is the third straight year Senator Ritchie has delivered funding to continue the “Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program,” which gives $20 coupons to seniors living on a fixed income that are age 60 and over that can be redeemed for fresh food at local farmers markets.  Thousands of local seniors throughout the region have benefited from this program, which also helps boost the bottom lines for New York farmers. This year, more than 2,000 local seniors will be able to benefit from the program.

The 2017-2018 state budget saw record support for agriculture–­totaling $51 million–to boost dozens of programs farmers depend on, as well as launch new initiatives designed to strengthen the connection between consumers and local foods.  

“Across our region, farmers markets are in full swing, offering people fresh, healthy foods and more,” said Senator Ritchie, who serves as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  “When people shop at a farmers market, they not only are able to purchase nutritious foods, they are also helping to support our agriculture industry.  I was pleased to secure funding to continue this program to make it easier for seniors to eat healthy and local.”

Income limits for receiving coupons are as follows:

Household of one: $1,860

Household of two: $2,504

Household of three: $3,149

For more information on how to receive coupons, seniors must contact their local Office for the Aging:

Jefferson County: (315) 785-3191

Oswego County: (315) 349-3484

St. Lawrence County: (315) 386-4730

In addition, Senator Ritchie is also announcing that her annual 2017 Farmers Market Guide is now available, which highlights markets across Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties.  

The guide—which features over 20 markets—is available here or by calling Senator Ritchie’s office at (315) 782-3418.