Island Grown Initiative (IGI) announced an eight-week, one-stop shop to pick up fresh local produce once a week through January and February. The Local Produce Market is an extension of its Mobile Farmers Market, but it’s the first time the market will be held indoors. Every Wednesday from 3 to 5 pm, all are welcome to shop Thimble Farm and Morning Glory produce at Woodside Village in Vineyard Haven. Wednesday, Jan. 9, was the first day of the pilot program, and it’ll run through the last Wednesday of February. Offerings include root vegetables, squash, potatoes, eggs, hydroponic greens, and more.
The market takes cash, credit, coupons, and SNAP. It also accepts HIP cash. HIP is the Healthy Incentives Program that SNAP recipients are automatically enrolled in. When recipients use their SNAP benefits at a HIP retailer, they get $1 for for each dollar spent on eligible fruits and vegetables. HIP retailers include farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm share programs. Since most farms and farm stands are closed this time of year, IGI wanted to extend produce offerings through winter so SNAP users can still take advantage of their HIP benefits.
While the market helps low-income individuals, IGI’s food equity and recovery director Sophie Abrams said it’s for everyone. “The market is open to all, not just SNAP users,” she said in an email to The Times.
The mobile market has run the past two summers from mid-June through mid-October. This is the first year the mobile market is moving indoors and extending into the winter months.