How it works

EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) Cards replaced the food stamp program across the nation a few years ago.  These cards work just like credit and debit cards.  A customer who is on food assistance can come and shop at the Salem Farmers Market and use their EBT card to receive wooden tokens that are accepted by most vendors at the market.  The process goes like this:

  1. A customer brings their EBT card to the market manager who will swipe your card for an amount you choose. The customer may want to use $10 of their EBT money to spend at the market. 
  2. A Market Manager will swipe the customers card on the machine, and then give them ten $1 red tokens to use for any SNAP eligible food item at the market. 
  3. Thanks to a grants from Virginia Fresh Match, the Market Manager will give the customer an additional ten $1 yellow tokens!   These yellow tokens may only be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. This means customers using their EBT card will be able to double the money they have to spend at the farmers market on fresh, local food, and our farmers will sell TWICE as much produce and baked goods!
  4. We will match up to $35 per customer, per day.
  5. No change can be given for $1 tokens.  These tokens are not interchangeable amongst vendors.  It is illegal to give cash change for these $1 tokens. Tokens are available on Saturdays from 8 am to noon, April through December, and on Tuesday afternoons from 2:30 to 5:30 pm during the main growing season in July and August. 

These tokens can be used to purchase produce, vegetable plants, packaged baked goods, jams, jellies, beef, poultry, and more.  Hot, ready to eat or drink items are NOT available to purchase with tokens.

More Information on EBT (PDF)

Credit Card Acceptance

The Salem Farmers Market is also set-up to accept credit and debit cards!  This is great for people who only bring a little cash to the market, then realize there are so many great things for them to buy. 

 These customers will go to the Market Manager stall where they will swipe their card and determine how much they want to spend. 

  1. Customers will decide how much they need in $5 increments.  The SFM Representative will give them green $5 tokens.  (Note:  Debit and credit customers do not receive double tokens)
  2. Unlike the $1 tokens, CHANGE CAN BE GIVEN FOR $5.
  3. Unlike the $1, there are NO RESTRICTIONS on what the green $5 tokens can buy.  These are just like a five dollar bill!
  4. All vendors at the market accept these tokens.

Market Bucks

Market Bucks make perfect gifts! Just visit the Market Manager Stall and purchase market tokens in $5 increments.  These tokens can be used to purchase anything at the Salem Farmers Market. Reusable shopping bags are also available for purchase. Tokens & bags are sold on Saturdays, 8AM - 12PM. For more information, or to purchase tokens at a different time, please contact the market manager. 

Giving Back

For the past 10 years, the Salem Farmers Market has been a leader in the Roanoke Valley with the acceptance of EBT (Food Stamp) cards, as well as Debit and Credit cards.   In the past, we have partnered with the Salem Food Pantry, the Foundation for the Roanoke Valley, and Freedom First Credit Union to be able to match the state funding, allowing those on food assistance to double their spending power at the Farmers Market. This year, we continue our matching program thanks to generous support from Virginia Fresh Match -- a State-wide network of farmers markets that offer nutrition incentive programs. This program has been OVERWHELMINGLY successful – over $20,000 was reimbursed to the farmers during the course of the season.

The market community has also been generous with donating produce.   The vendors of and customers of the Salem Farmers Market donated over 3,500 pounds of food back to 3 charitable organizations:  the Salem Food Pantry, the Roanoke Rescue Mission, and Hopetree Family Services.  This program is a huge success in the community. 

Market customers are also encouraged to share with those in need.   Food donations may be left at the Market Manager stall every Saturday, 8AM - 12PM. Market management will deliver all donations to the various charitable organizations.  Whether from a market vendor or a back yard garden, giving is strongly encouraged and appreciated.