HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Buying fresh and healthy foods can really add up and the pandemic hasn’t made it any easier. This is an especially tough challenge for the elderly and others on tight budgets.
“We know we’ve got folks in Pennsylvania who are food insecure,” said Russel Redding, Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Several state departments are reminding Pennsylvanians about the Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Low-income seniors and WIC recipients can get vouchers to purchase Pennsylvania-grown fruits and vegetables.
Secretary Redding calls in a win-win.
“It gets those who are food insecure, greater security and access to fruits and vegetables and doing that in a nutrition way but also supporting Pennsylvania farmers as well,” said Redding.
‘We take great pride in taking those vouchers and we enjoy providing quality food to our customers,” said Melissa Dobbs Dar, who helps run Dobbs Produce.
If you’re shopping at the grocery store, you might have noticed a high than usual bill.
“First, it was the pandemic, plants and processors are running at reduced capacity just because COVID rules continue to this day,” said Scott Karns, president of Karns Foods. “Secondly, transportation costs have gone up astronomically, mainly because of fuel.”
However, there are ways to save.
“The number one thing I tell everybody is look at the ads and make up a list, plan what you’re shopping, plan your meals and you can save a lot,” said Karns.
Shoppers can also look for local and in-season items.
“Local produce tends to be a little bit more cost-effective for the customer and of course, it has a great fresh taste to it because it’s coming from Pennsylvania farms,” said Karns.