Fresh fruit and vegetables are always available at the Heirloom Farmer’s Market.

Imagine a farmers market. Picture the happy chatter of consumers connecting with the people who made their food, the rainbows of produce lined up clearly for display. While the cliché is that shoppers at farmers markets are wealthy (or at least comfortable), programs on every level have been striving to make fresh, local produce available to people on a budget.

If you’re on SNAP or other food benefits programs

National programs like Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Double Up have made their way to Arizona, connecting people on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits with extra money to spend on farmers market produce.

Double Up AZ will match every dollar of SNAP benefits spent at an eligible farmers market, up to $20 a day, for an unlimited number of days. The Double Up Food Bucks can then be spent on AZ-grown fruits, herbs and veggies. It’s worth noting that while you unfortunately can’t use SNAP benefits on ready-to-eat food, other staples like bread, meat, dairy and eggs are fair game. Don't forget to bring your EBT Quest card for checkout!

The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), meanwhile, is a long-standing federal program that, in Arizona, extends coupons to those on Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits as well as people on senior-specific food benefits.

Through the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, WIC households are eligible for $30 worth of farmers market coupons, plus $30 of FMNP match coupons, once a year. People who receive senior-specific food benefits are eligible for $50 worth of coupons, plus $50 worth of match coupons, once a year. We listed participating FMNP markets in Tucson and Southern Arizona below.

Tucson Community Supported Agriculture also accepts SNAP benefits, although they are not part of the Double Up AZ program.

If you’re not

Meanwhile, local initiatives like Borderlands Produce Rescue and The 3000 Club lead the charge for everyone, including those who do not have or do not qualify for SNAP or other food assistance programs.

At Borderlands Produce Rescue, you can receive up to 70 pounds of fresh produce for a $12 cash donation, regardless of SNAP status. The locations vary across Southern Arizona and change per week, so bookmark their website here.

The 3000 Club’s Market on the Move has a similar setup where you can buy up to 60 pounds of fresh produce for a $10 cash donation. They also change locations, so bookmark their Facebook page here.

South Winds Farm provides shares of produce in exchange for four hours of volunteer work: harvesting on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, as well as weeding and bed preparation and cultivation.

Note: The farm is in Benson, about an hour’s drive away from central Tucson.

Pivot Produce offers discounted farm shares that are supplemented by full-price shares purchased. Each farm share contains fresh, locally-sourced foods ranging from produce to Syrian baklava. While a typical farm share costs $20/week, a limited number of half-price and free farm shares are still available, as of writing.

Participating FMNP Markets in the Tucson area

Rillito Park Farmers Market, 4502 N. 1st Ave.

  • Sundays, May through Sept., 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Oct. through April, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.

Santa Cruz River Farmers Market (Drive-Thru), 221 S. Avenida del Convento

  • Thursdays, year-round, 8-10 a.m. Click here for more information.

Oro Valley Farmers Market, 10901 N. Oracle Road

  • Saturdays, May through Sept., 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Oct. through April, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.

Rincon Valley Farmers & Artisans Market, 12500 E. Old Spanish Trail

  • Saturdays, May through Sept., 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Oct. through April, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.

Udall Park Farmers Market, 7202 N. Tanque Verde Road

  • Fridays, May through Sept., 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Oct. through April, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.

The Heirloom Rincon Valley Farmers and Artisans Market is open Saturdays, May through September, from 8 a.m. to noon; October through April, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In Southern Arizona:

Sierra Vista Farmers Markets, 3105 E. Fry Blvd.

  • Thursdays, year-round, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here for more information.

Nogales “Little” Mercado Farmers Market, 163 N. Morley Ave.

  • Fridays, May through Sept., 4-7 p.m.; October through April, 3-6 p.m. Click here for more information.

Green Valley Village Farmers & Artisans Market, 101 S. La Cañada Dr.

  • Wednesdays, May through Sept., 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Oct. through April, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.

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