The Uptown Farmers Market is bustling with local growers, volunteers, and customers each Wednesday and Saturday morning — and it’s also buzzing with Double Up Food Bucks customers and stories! We stopped by the Wednesday market to hear some of these stories, and, of course, double up on some of the fresh, local produce the farmers had to offer.
Market manager Bo Mostow has overseen the market for all three of the years it’s been open. She said she loves bringing her kids to the market, connecting with the surrounding community, and seeing all of the incredible benefits Double Up Food Bucks brings to the market’s growers and customers.
"Double Up Food Bucks has worked really well here,” she said. “The customers are always really excited. People love it, and they love that they can take the tokens from market to market, and there’s no expiration date on them.”
Bo added that she sees each week how the program not only helps SNAP/EBT (formerly food stamps) customers, but also helps local farmers sell more of their produce.
“I see how many tokens the growers turn in after each market, so I know it’s helping their bottom line” she said. “Anything that brings more money in is helpful for a grower, and when the limit went from $10 to $20, that was incredible.”
“The program has helped us so much,” she said. “We use it because we’re vegan, and it really helps us to purchase more. We can now get a variety of stuff instead of having to limit ourselves.”
Jeanette said she doesn’t buy the pre-made food at the market, because she and her family love making fresh meals themselves.
“We wouldn’t be able to explore or eat half of the things we are able to now with the program,” she said. “We love all of the fresh vegetables, and we come on Wednesdays because there are less people and more options because it’s the middle of the week.”
The local farmers who sell at the Uptown Farmers Market are happy to be a part of Double Up Food Bucks, too. Crystal McGraw of Latchkey Gardens said it’s exciting to meet new customers through the program and help them take home more healthy, fresh produce. Crystal grew up in a farming family, and her father runs Crooked Sky Farms, another delightful Double Up stop at farmers markets across the Valley.
“The program has helped us sell more produce,” she said. “When we have new customers who use SNAP/EBT we always let them know about the program.”
She said one of the best parts of selling at the market and participating in Double Up is when she can help introduce customers to new produce they might have never tried before.
Microgreens grower Adam Dombrowsky echoed Crystal’s sentiment. He runs the Yo Bro microgreens stand at the Uptown market, and said he looks forward to it every week.
“I love the Double Up program,” he said. “For us as growers, it opens up our market to a clientele that otherwise might not have come to us that day. But once they know we take the Double Up Food Bucks tokens, it allows them to be a little bit more adventurous.”
Adam said once customers try his products, they almost always return to double up on more of the fresh greens.
“Micorogreens are such nutrient-dense vegetables, so it’s exciting and rewarding to see these customers trying and buying our products,” he said. “The program is really a great thing for both the customer and for us.”
Customers using SNAP/EBT (formerly food stamps) can add to their own Double Up Food Bucks story each week at the Uptown Farmers Market, and at any of the other participating markets across Arizona.