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How to Double Your Food Benefits with Farm Fresh Rewards & Maine Harvest Bucks

How to Double Your Food Benefits with Farm Fresh Rewards & Maine Harvest Bucks

Maine residents can double their SNAP dollars through the Farm Fresh Rewards program when they shop at certain participating retailers! There are two programs in the state that can help you double your benefits: Farm Fresh Rewards and Maine Harvest Bucks.

Both of these programs offer great ways to maximize your grocery budget. After all, groceries are expensive and benefit programs never give you enough groceries to actually get by. That’s why we love to find ways to maximize those benefits!

Farm Fresh Rewards

Hosted by the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine, this program will give you a free $5 voucher for every $10 in local purchase you buy. This isn’t quite a doubling program but it is still very beneficial for low income shoppers!

What is Farm Fresh Rewards?

Farm Fresh Rewards is an incentive program that helps low income shoppers get free locally-grown fruits and vegetables! The program is designed to put more food in your pantry while also supporting the local economy (especially local farmers).

This program is similar to the Double Up Food Bucks program, even though they aren’t officially affiliated with each other.

Who is eligible for Farm Fresh Rewards?

Farm Fresh Rewards is available to shoppers who use SNAP / EBT benefits. You have to use SNAP EBT benefits in order to participate. In Maine, you may recognize this as the Food Supplement Program or the Pine Tree Card.

This program is available year-round, so you can double your benefits in any season!

How do Farm Fresh Rewards work?

The Farm Fresh Rewards program is undergoing a major update. In this section, we will describe how the program worked previously and how it will work going forward.

Prior to May 1, 2023

In order to earn the free rewards, you have to spend your food benefits on locally grown fruits and vegetables at a participating retailer. The stores listed below will have local products that are labelled as SNAP eligible. Shelf tags and other labels should help you identify which products qualify.

When you check out, you’ll receive a free voucher from the cashier that can be used on your next purchase. The vouchers can be spent on any Maine-grown fruit or vegetable. It doesn’t even have to be fresh! You can use your vouchers on fresh, frozen, or dried products. Food-producing seeds and plants count, too!

You don’t have to use the vouchers at the same store you earned them. However, they will only work at other Farm Fresh Rewards locations. You can’t use Farm Fresh Rewards at a Maine Harvest Bucks location, for example.

If you currently have paper vouchers, you need to use them by April 31st! After that date, the paper vouchers will be worthless and you will not be able to use them.

After May 1, 2023

The Farm Fresh Rewards program is transferring to a point-of-sale discount program beginning on May 1, 2023. After this change is complete, you won’t have to keep track of paper vouchers any more!

Although it isn’t entirely clear how the new system will work, it appears that the point-of-sale system will immediately discount $5 in eligible produce for every $10 in eligible products you buy. This also means you won’t have to make two trips to the store to get all the products you’re eligible for.

Where do Farm Fresh Rewards work?

In order to use Farm Fresh Rewards, you must shop from a participating retailer.

  • Belfast Community Co-Op (Belfast)
  • Berry Fruit Farm Market & Bakery (Livermore Falls)
  • Blue Hill Co-Op (Blue Hill)
  • Fare Share Food Co-Op (Norway)
  • Gardiner Food Co-Op (Gardiner)
  • Ginny’s Natural Corner (Showhegan)
  • Jordan’s Farm (Cape Elizabeth)
  • Machias Marketplace (Machias)
  • Marsh River Co-Op (Brooks)
  • Portland River Co-Op (Portland)
  • Rising Tide Co-Op (Damariscotta)
  • Rosemont Market Munjoy Hill (Portland)
  • Royal River Natural Foods (Freeport)
  • Sheepscot General Store (Whitefield)
  • Spice & Grain (Fryeburg)
  • Uncle Dean’s Natural Market (Waterville)

As of this publication, Good Tern Co-Op in Rockland will allow you to redeem vouchers but you cannot earn them there. After the system updates in May, I expect this location will be removed from the program.

Maine Harvest Bucks

Maine Harvest Bucks is another program that can give you free produce when you shop with food benefits. Over 10,000 Mainers use this program every year to make the most of their benefits.

You can use both Farm Fresh Rewards and Market Harvest Bucks to make even more of your food dollars! The vouchers from one program can’t be used at the other program’s locations, but you can take advantage of both programs depending on where you shop.

What is Maine Harvest Bucks?

Maine Harvest Bucks is a benefit program that will give you extra grocery money when you shop with food benefits at a participating retailer.

Based on their website information, it is not clear if you will receive an equal amount of free tokens or a partial amount. Since the website states that you’ll usually get a 50% discount on a CSA, I suspect that the BONUS Bucks Program does actually double your benefits in Maine… but I was not able to confirm the exact amount or limit.

However, this program does work at over 40 Farmers Markets and CSA locations so it is more widely available than the Farm Fresh Rewards program.

Who can use Maine Harvest Bucks?

Anyone who shops with SNAP EBT benefits at a participating retailer can receive Maine Harvest Bucks.

It’s seriously that easy!

How does Maine Harvest Bucks work?

If you shop at a CSA that offers this program, you’ll most likely receive a discount at the point-of-sale. The discount should be 50% off your fruit and vegetable purchases, according to the Maine Harvest Bucks program.

If you shop at a Farmer’s Market, the process is a little more complicated. Not every farmer at a market is authorized to accept EBT benefits so, to keep things easy, the market will have a Welcome Tent where you can swipe your EBT card in exchange for wooden tokens. Those tokens can be redeemed for EBT-eligible items at the market.

You’ll need to go to the Welcome Tent and swipe your EBT card to get those tokens. You’ll get tokens equal to the amount of money you spent. You’ll also get some bonus tokens for free. The free bonus tokens can only be used for locally-grown fruits and vegetables, but the tokens you paid for can be used for any EBT-eligible item at the market.

What locations offer Maine Harvest Bucks?

In order to participate in this, you need to find a participating location. You can use these benefits at many Farmers Markets or CSA programs.

Farmers Markets

The following markets participate in the Maine Harvest Bucks program but they may only be open seasonally. You will need to check with the market for dates and times.

  • Alan Day Community Market (Norway)
  • Augusta Farmers Market at Mill Park (Augusta)
  • Augusta Winter Farmers Market (Augusta)
  • Bangor Farmers Market (Bangor)
  • Bangor Winter Farmers Market (Bangor)
  • Bath Farmers Market (Bath)
  • Belfast Farmers Market (Belfast)
  • Berwick Winter Market (Berwick)
  • United Farmers Market of Maine (Belfast)
  • Blue Hill Farmers Market (Blue Hill)
  • Brunswick Farmers Market (Brunswick)
  • Brunswick Winter Farmers Market (Brunswick)
  • Bowdoinham Farmers Market (Bowdoinham)
  • Bowdoinham Winter Farmers Market (Bowdoinham)
  • Bridgton Farmers Market (Bridgton)
  • Bridgton Winter Farmers Market (Bridgton)
  • Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers Market (Brunswick)
  • Bucksport Bay Farmers Market (Bucksport)
  • Chelsea Olde Haven Farm Stand (Chelsea)
  • Damariscotta Farmers Market (Damariscotta)
  • Patch Farm Stand (Denmark)
  • Dover Cover Farmers Market (Dover Cove)
  • Dover Cove Winter Farmers Market (Dover Cove)
  • Ellsworth Farmers Market (Ellsworth)
  • Ellsworth Winter Farmers Market (Ellsworth)
  • Farmington Farmers Market (Farmington)
  • Farmington Winter Farmers Market (Farmington)
  • Fairfield Farmers Market (Fairfield)
  • Hampden Farmers Market (Hampden)
  • Hampden Winter Farmers Market (Hampden)
  • Houlton Community Market (Houlton)
  • Howland Farmers Market (Howland)
  • Howland Foxgreen Farm Stand (Howland)
  • Kennebunk Farmers Market (Kennebunk)
  • Kittery Community Market (Kittery)
  • Lewiston Farmers Market (Lewiston)
  • Kennedy Park Farmers Market (Lewiston)
  • North Berwick Farmers Market (North Berwick)
  • Peacemeal Farm Stand (Dixmont)
  • Portland Farmers Market (Portland)
  • Portland Winter Farmers Market (Portland)
  • Presque Isle Farmers Market at Riverside (Presque Isle)
  • Presque Isle Mi-kmaq Farms & Fish Hatchery (Caribou)
  • Rockland Farmers Market (Rockland)
  • Steep Falls Farmers Market (Steep Falls)
  • Sanford Farmers Market (Sanford)
  • Saco Farmers Market (Saco Valley)
  • South Berwick Farmers Market (South Berwick)
  • Somerville Farmers Market @ Pumpkin Vine Family Farm (Somerville)
  • Skowhegan Farmers Market (Skowhegan)
  • Skowhegan Winter Farmers Market (Skowhegan)
  • Tri-Town Winter Farmers Market (Kittery)
  • Waldoboro Long Cove Farmers Market (Walderboro)
  • Waterville Farmers Market (Waterville)
  • Waterville Winter Farmers Market (Waterville)
  • Wells Farmers Market (Wells)
  • Windham Farmers Market (Windham)
  • Union Farmers Market (Union)

CSA Programs

There are many farms that will allow you to use Maine Harvest Bucks with their CSA shares. When you use this program at these locations, you’ll usually pay 50% of the cost and the program will pay the rest. That’s a great deal!

  • Bar Harbor Farm (Rose Avenia)
  • Bumbleroot Organic Farm (Windham)
  • Frith Farm (Scarborough)
  • Girard Farm (Waterboro)
  • Goranson Farm (Dresden)
  • Happy Town Farm (Orland)
  • Marr Pond Farm (Sangerville)
  • Moodytown Gardens (Palmyra)
  • Patch Farm (Denmark)
  • Rustic Roots Farm (Farmington)
  • Scratch Farm (Bowdoin)
  • Seek-No-Further Farmstead (Monroe)
  • Tender Soles Farm (Richmond)
  • Two Toad Farm (Lebanon)
  • Whatley Farm (Topsham)
  • Wolf Pine Farm (Alfred)

There are guidelines about what boxes you can get, how the shares work, and more. These guidelines are determined by the farm itself, so you will need to contact them for more information.

Don’t forget your EBT discounts!

You can get more than just free produce with your EBT card! We’ve found some truly incredible EBT discounts in Maine, too!

Summary

Maine Harvest Bucks and Farm Fresh Rewards allow Maine shoppers to get extra food benefits when they shop at participating retailers. This helps low income individuals and families across Maine get more food for their money. In order to use these benefits, you have to shop at a participating retailer (as listed in this article) and use your food benefits to complete your purchase.

Nicole is the owner and lead researcher for Low Income Relief. She has over 20 years of professional research and writing experience, and she has been solely dedicated to investigating low income topics for the last 10 years. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more. Her work has also been featured by Google for Publishers and other leading industry publications.