Fresh Produce Checks Being Offered to Qualifying Older Adults in Mercer County

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announced today that older adults in Mercer County again will have the opportunity to receive fresh-produce checks that will enable them to purchase locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farm stands.

Representatives from the Mercer County Nutrition Office will offer the checks on Friday, June 23, between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Cooperative Extension of Mercer County, 930 Spruce St., Lawrence.  Eligible older adults will receive checks to redeem fresh produce at various vendor sites throughout the county. Each person will receive five $5 checks that total $25 and are valid until Nov. 30, 2017.  Kindly note that checks will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis as there are limited checks this year.

“The Farmer’s Market Check Program offers older adults an increased opportunity to include a nutritious choice to their eating habits. It also helps the older adult who may be struggling financially to get the most for their money,” Mr. Hughes said.

The Farmers Market program was developed to provide low-income older adults with checks they can use to purchase fresh produce grown by New Jersey farmers. The Mercer County Nutrition Program is the lead agency and coordinator in Mercer County for the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and has been for a number of years. Qualifications are as follows: a single person’s income must not exceed $21,978 per year or $1,832 monthly; a couple’s income must not exceed $29,637 per year or $2,470 monthly.  

Documentation is required for certification that includes:

  • Identity and residency proof
    • Driver’s license, utility/phone bill or birth certificate
  • Income proof  
    • Current income tax return, Social Security statement, Food Stamps/SNAP verification or Medicaid card

The Mercer County Nutrition Project reminds older adults of these guidelines: 

  • You must be 60 years of age or older and live in Mercer County to receive checks.
  • You must provide proof of income or self-declare your gross income to meet the income guidelines.
  • You may not pick up checks for anyone other than yourself, unless you are serving as a proxy. (IMPORTANT: Call the Nutrition Office for these details; see number below!)
  • Checks are to be signed in front of the farmers. Do not send signed checks to the market with a friend. The farmer has the right to refuse to honor them.
  • Checks may be used only at certified farm stands — not grocery stores.  Stands will display a yellow poster indicating that they accept these checks.
  • Only one set of checks per person will be awarded each year.
  • Couples can each receive their own set of checks.

For additional information, contact the Mercer County Nutrition Program for the Elderly, Senior Farmers Market Program, at (609) 989-6652.

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