So-called food stamps can be used to buy spinach, onions, berries and other healthy food. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits can be used to buy plants and seeds to grow those items, too.
SNAP benefits can be used to purchase vegetable, herb and fruit plants and seeds for use in both home and community gardens, according to The Ohio State University Extension Lucas County.
Any authorized SNAP retailer can sell food-producing plants and seeds, but not all do. Here are authorized SNAP retailers that may sell food-producing plants or seeds in Lucas County:
- Toledo Farmers’ Market
- Big Lots
- Family Dollar
- Dollar General
- Dollar Tree
- Food For Less
- Seaway Marketplace
- Walmart grocery stores
OSU Extension has a wealth of information to help gardeners. Fact sheets on food, gardening and so much more can be found on the Ohioline website.
Spinach is one versatile vegetable for salads, sandwiches, soups, casseroles and more that can be grown in the spring, according to OSU Extension Lucas County. Plants are ready to harvest about 45 days after planting seeds. Spinach grows best in well-drained soil with plenty of moisture.
An excellent source of Vitamin A , which is important for vision, healthy skin and reducing the risk of certain cancers, spinach also provides Vitamin C, iron, fiber and other nutrients, according to OSU Extension Lucas County. Here are a couple of recipes that use spinach.
Makes 8 servings
- 8 ounces cream cheese, fat-free
- 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 8 flour tortillas (6″ across)
- 1 cup sweet red pepper (chopped)
- 1 cup low-fat cheese (shredded)
- 2 cups spinach leaves (fresh, or 9 oz. frozen, thawed and squeezed dry)
- In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and garlic powder.
- Spread about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture on each tortilla.
- Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons bell pepper and 2 tablespoons cheese on one half of each tortilla.
- Add spinach: 1/4 cup if using fresh leaves (or 2 tablespoons if using frozen). Fold tortillas in half.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Put 2 folded tortillas in skillet and heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
- Remove quesadillas from skillet, place on platter and cover with foil to keep warm while cooking the remainder.
- Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve warm.
Source: Iowa State University Extension
Makes 5 servings
- 5 cups spinach leaves (packed, washed and dried well)
- ½ red onion (sliced thin)
- ½ red pepper (sliced)
- 1 cucumber (whole, sliced)
- 2 oranges (peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces)
- ⅓ cup vinaigrette dressing (lite, around 15 calories per tablespoon or less)
Toss all produce together in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss again. Serve immediately.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services