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Cardholders are invited to participate in the second year of farmers' market tours and chef's demonstrations on the second Saturday of the month

The state's Oregon Trail food-stamp cardholders once again can benefit from a special programs at the Oregon City Farmers Market.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Colorful carrots are among the many fresh offerings at the Oregon City Farmers Market on Saturdays.Cardholders are invited to participate in the second year of the SNAP-To-It! @ Farmers' Market program, a series of six educational farmers' market tours and chef's demonstrations on the second Saturday of the month, starting May 13 and concluding on Oct. 14 at the market, at 2051 Kaen Road in Oregon City.

The program begins at 9:15 a.m. at the information booth, where Oregon's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) shoppers purchase market tokens and scrip with their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. The farmers market also participates in the Double Up Food Bucks Oregon program, where tokens purchased by SNAP shoppers are matched up to $10 each market day. One $10 EBT redemption yields $20 of market currency; $10 of which is designated for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables, cut herbs, dried beans, mushrooms and fruit and vegetable plant starts.

Starting at 9:30 a.m., shoppers can participate in a market tour led by a nutrition educator. They will be introduced to local farmers who share the history of their farms, and discuss farming practices, what they grow, tips for proper storage, and recipe ideas. Comparison shopping also will be discussed, said Kelly Streit, food and nutrition instructor for the OSU Extension Service.

"The tour is followed by a chef's demo, where shoppers watch fresh fruits and vegetables being prepared in simple, flavorful ways and are provided with recipes and an opportunity to taste the end result," Streit said.

At the conclusion of the chef's demonstration at 10:30 a.m., shoppers will receive an insulated shopping bag, calculator, nutrition handouts, recipes and an additional $5 worth of market tokens.

"Post-survey information provided by SNAP-To-It! participants during the first year revealed an increase in knowledge, skills and confidence to better manage limited food resources, including how to purchase, store and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables in easy new ways," Streit said. "Participating farmers reported an increase in sales of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the market season."

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