New York’s farmer’s nutrition program for seniors

Starting July 1st, qualifying Dutchess County older adults have an opportunity to improve their nutrition while supporting local farms, thanks to New York’s Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).

To qualify, a Dutchess County resident must be at least 60 years of age and receiving benefits through public assistance, SNAP, HEAP, or Section 8 housing. Alternately, an older adult may qualify if household income is below 185% of U.S. poverty guidelines.

To find out more about qualifications, call OFA during business hours at 845-486-2555 or email ofa@dutchessny.gov. Residents of low-income housing complexes may be able to find out more about SFMNP from their residence manager.

We will distribute a limited number of SFMNP booklets across the county from our main office in Poughkeepsie, and to qualifying participants of our OFA Friendship Center and Home Delivered Meals programs throughout the County.

How to apply for SFMNP coupons.

SFMNP booklets will be distributed at the OFA main office only on Mondays and Tuesdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m., starting on Monday, July 1.

Distribution hours at OFA Friendship Centers are available on request. OFA Friendship Centers are in Beacon, East Fishkill, Millerton, Pawling, Pleasant Valley (Tri-Town), Poughkeepsie, Red Hook, and South Amenia/Wassaic.

Each booklet contains five checks valued at $5.00 each. Treat the checks like cash to avoid loss or theft.

Customers redeeming SFMNP checks will not receive cash change, so use the whole check whenever possible. SFMNP checks cannot be exchanged for cash.

Distribution will continue throughout the 2024 growing season for as long as supplies last. SFMNP checks can be used until Nov. 30 or a participating market closes for the season, whichever comes first. Leftover checks from 2023 or earlier years are no longer valid.

For the latest county-by-county list of participating local markets, go to www.agriculture.ny.gov/farmersmarkets. New markets often enter the program in the summer and fall, so check back regularly.

Eligible recipients must personally sign the Statement of Eligibility Form to receive SFMNP checks. Checks cannot be mailed to eligible older adults. Proxies may not pick-up and sign for checks.

A valid Power of Attorney (POA) may sign for and pick up SFMNP coupons for an eligible older adult.

A variety of fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey may be purchased with SFMNP benefits.

The July harvest

While every farm’s harvest season is a little different, here’s an overview of fruit that’s typically harvested in Dutchess County starting by July: apples, blueberries, sweet and tart cherries, peaches, plums, and raspberries. Vegetables being harvested locally include snap beans, beets and beet greens, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collard greens, cucumbers, garlic, mustard greens, onions, peppers, radishes, summer squash, swiss chard, tomatoes, and zucchini.

Golden Living is prepared by the Dutchess County Office for the Aging, Todd N. Tancredi, director. Email him at ofa@dutchessny.gov.

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