Union County Senior Services is helping senior citizens get the fresh produce they need.

Union County Senior Services is helping senior citizens get the fresh produce they need.

Susan Boomstra, UCSS media coordinator, said qualifying seniors will receive $20 in coupons each month that can be redeemed for fresh produce at participating farm markets and stands in the county. Qualifying couples will receive $30 worth of coupons.

The Union County Healthy Senior Farmers Market Program is offered to people ages 60 and over who have a current gross monthly income of no more than $1,603, or $2,158 for couples.

The program will begin July 1 and run through September, she said. Union County Agency Transportation Services will provide transportation to the markets for seniors who are unable to drive.

The program started in 2006 and 35 seniors applied for the coupons, she said. The next year, 204 people applied. She believes more than 300 people will sign up this year by July 1.

"To eat right, it's expensive," she said. "This program benefits seniors and benefits local farmers."

She said the program gives farmers a "shot in the arm" because it brings seniors to their stands who couldn't go otherwise.

Linda Sanford is one of those farmers.

Sanford said she was involved with the program last year and saw her business increase 150 percent.

"I never had much business until I started dealing with the seniors," she said.

Sanford said she expects the program to grow this year because the economy is bad and produce from farm stands is cheaper than grocery stores.

Sanford says her business, From My Garden, sells flowers, herbs, fruits, vegetables, jam and honey. Her farm is two miles north of Marysville on state Route 4, and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"I really enjoy working with the seniors," she said. "They appreciate what we do and I enjoy providing good quality produce for them" she said.

"My garden is at their disposal," she added.

Boomstra said interested seniors should call her at (937) 644-9629 ext. 3, and she will mail them an application. Once the application is returned, the coupons will arrive in the mail.

Farmers redeem the coupons by sending them to Union County Senior Services and filling out a W-9 tax form. The county auditor will pay the farmers.

The coupons also can be used at the following sites:

Farmer Brown Produce, 21783 state Route 347, Raymond, open 24 hours.

Jacquemin Farms, 7437 Hyland Croy Road, Plain City, Monday to Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Richwood Farmers Market, Richwood Bank Parking Lot 28, North Franklin Street Richwood, Wednesdays 5-7 p.m.

Mitchells Farm, 9331 Mitchell-Dewitt Road, Plain City, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Wishwell Farms, Rite-Aid Parking Lot, 800 Delaware Ave., Marysville, Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Union County Farmers Markets at: city parking lot across from Marysville Fire Department, Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon; Green Pastures at Connolly Construction & WECU Parking Lot, 121 Emmaus Road, Marysville, Thursdays 4-7 p.m.; and YMCA parking lot, 1150 Charles Lane, Marysville, Tuesdays 4-7 p.m.