Fresh fruit and vegetables are always available at the Heirloom Farmer’s Market.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in August 2021. We updated the story in September 2022.

Imagine a farmers market. Picture the happy chatter of consumers connecting with the people who made their food, the rainbows of produce lined up clearly for display. While the cliché is that shoppers at farmers markets are wealthy (or at least comfortable), programs on every level have been striving to make fresh, local produce available to people on a budget.

As inflation hits us hard, these resources — for Tucsonans both on and off nutrition assistance programs — are more vital than ever.

If you’re on SNAP or other food benefits programs

National programs like Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Double Up have made their way to Arizona, connecting people on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits with extra money to spend on farmers market produce.

Double Up AZ will match every dollar of SNAP benefits spent at an eligible farmers market for an unlimited number of days. The Double Up Food Bucks can then be spent on Arizona-grown fruits, herbs and veggies. It’s worth noting that while you unfortunately can’t use SNAP benefits on ready-to-eat food, other staples like bread, meat, dairy and eggs are fair game. Don't forget to bring your EBT Quest card for checkout!

Tucson Community Supported Agriculture also accepts SNAP benefits. Through their CS-Aid program, partnered with Double Up, qualified applicants can receive six weeks of produce (a $144 value) for just $48 worth of SNAP benefits. Sign up here.

We listed all participating FMNP markets in Tucson and Southern Arizona at the end of the article.

Also, here's a long list of resources for SNAP recipients in Arizona, courtesy of Double Up AZ.

If you're on WIC

Through the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, WIC households are eligible for $30 worth of farmers market coupons, plus $30 of FMNP match coupons, once a year.

If you receive senior-specific benefits

Each individual who receives senior-specific food benefits is eligible for $50 worth of coupons, plus $50 worth of match coupons, once a year.

Heirloom Farmers Market explains how to use these coupons on their website. WIC and seniors can pick up their coupons at participating markets anytime between Feb. 1 and Sept. 30. The coupons are valid until Nov. 15 of that calendar year. 

If you’re not

Meanwhile, Southern Arizona initiatives like Borderlands Produce Rescue and The 3000 Club lead the charge for everyone, including those who do not have or do not qualify for SNAP or other food assistance programs.

At Borderlands Produce Rescue, you can receive up to 70 pounds of fresh produce for a $12 cash donation, regardless of SNAP status. The locations vary across Southern Arizona and change regularly, so bookmark their website here.

The 3000 Club’s Market on the Move has a similar setup where you can buy up to 60 pounds of fresh produce for a $10 cash donation. They also change locations, so bookmark their Facebook page here.

South Winds Farm provides shares of produce in exchange for four hours of volunteer work: harvesting on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, as well as weeding and bed preparation and cultivation. You can also elect to participate in a longer-term exchange that provides housing and food for at least one month of work.

Note: The farm is in Benson, about an hour’s drive away from central Tucson.

Pivot Produce offers discounted farm shares that are supplemented by full-price shares purchased. Each farm share contains fresh, locally-sourced foods ranging from produce to Syrian baklava.

While a typical farm share costs $25/week, a limited number of discounted ($15) and free farm shares are still available, as of writing. To sign up, click the box that says you are interested in no- or low-cost subscriptions at the bottom of this form, and Pivot Produce will get in touch with you.

Participating FMNP Markets in the Tucson area

Merchant's Garden, 555 S. Tucson Blvd.

  • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. Click here for more information.

Oro Valley Farmers Market, 10901 N. Oracle Road

  • Saturdays, April through September, 8 a.m. to noon; October through April, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.

Rillito Park Farmers Market, 4502 N. 1st Ave.

  • Sundays, April through September, 8 a.m. to noon; October through February, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m; during racing season (Feb. 27 through April 3), 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Click here for more information.

Rincon Valley Farmers & Artisans Market, 12500 E. Old Spanish Trail

  • Saturdays, April through September, 8 a.m. to noon; October through April, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.

Santa Cruz River Farmers Market (Drive-Thru), 221 S. Avenida del Convento

  • Thursdays, year-round, 4-7 p.m. Click here for more information.

Udall Park Farmers Market, 7202 N. Tanque Verde Road

  • Fridays, April through September, 8 a.m. to noon; October through April, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.

Pictured is the Heirloom Rincon Valley Farmers and Artisans Market.

In Southern Arizona:

Bisbee Saturday Market at Vista Park, 277 W. Vista

  • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday year-round. Click here for more information.

Green Valley Village Farmers & Artisans Market, 101 S. La Cañada Dr.

  • Wednesdays, May through September, 8 a.m. to noon; October through April, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.

Nogales “Little” Mercado Farmers Market, 163 N. Morley Ave.

  • Fridays, May through September, 4-7 p.m.; October through April, 3-6 p.m. Click here for more information.

Sierra Vista Farmers Markets, 3105 E. Fry Blvd.

  • Thursdays, year-round, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here for more information.

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