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Creating Healthy Places Assist SNAP Benefit Recipients

Written By Michael on 7/3/15 | 7/3/15

By Maureen Blanchard

COBLESKILL - Creating Healthy Places is trying to assist families who receive SNAP benefits to make some healthy choices. Many feel that fresh fruits and vegetables are too expensive to purchase and they rely more on processed foods. To promote healthy eating Schoharie Fresh will provide $5 in Veggie Bucks with every $10 SNAP purchase through them.

This is funded through Creating Healthy Places. Families can purchase any food products through Schoharie Fresh and then get $5 towards vegetables either that day or in the future. Schoharie Fresh sells locally produced meats, poultry, eggs, baked goods, syrup and honey, teas, fruits and vegetables. Everything sold is produced in Schoharie County. The Veggie Bucks must be used before August 31 or before funds run out. This was done in the fall with $2 Veggie bucks and Schoharie Fresh attracted several families that were able to take advantage of this. We are hoping the $5 in Veggie Bucks can help families extend their food budget and add in some fresh local foods.

Schoharie Fresh, SUNY Cobleskill and Creating Healthy Places also have worked on a Better Foods Better Budgets presentation that was presented at Community Maternity Services in Schoharie this week. Families enjoyed a kale salad, vegetarian chili, corn on the cob and strawberries. They were shown how to prepare these foods as well as a cost analysis. Maureen Blanchard demonstrated cooking corn in a microwave to not only save time, but also to reduce the work and mess that many families use as a reason not to cook corn on the cob. When you cook the corn in the microwave with the husk still on, it makes less mess to shuck the corn after it is cooked. Cut off the bottom and squeeze from the top and the cooked corn comes out clean. Families and staff were amazed at the time saving feature of cooking corn like this.

Jason Evans, PhD prepared the chili and the kale salad. The kale salad was a huge success even with the children present eating it and asking for seconds. It was topped with a store bought ranch dressing with some honey added to it. Recipes were provided to the families as well. Jason and Maureen also talked about how to change recipes to make them more appealing to individual families.

Vegetables at local farmers markets are usually less expensive than at grocery stores as the farmers are selling directly to the customer. Foods are also fresher – most harvested that day and therefore have better taste and nutrition. Farmers markets do not sell per pound on fruits and vegetables and so families are better able to budget money than at the grocery store. And Claire from northern Saratoga, travels to Schoharie County every couple of weeks to purchase through Schoharie Fresh because it helps her family to budget money for vegetables and there is a greater diversity in what is sold and foods last longer because they are fresher.

The next presentation will be at the Community Dinner in Cobleskill on June 26th. We will be providing a salad for the meal and also do some demonstrations and provide information to families.
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