The Downtown Youngstown Farmers Market at the B&O Station on Mahoning Avenue is open.

The place is popular, especially since the majority of the city is considered a food desert – a place where little or no fresh food can be purchased. The farmers market is a great way to help change that, even if it’s only for a day each month. Purchases are even more cost-effective if you have SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.

“The fact that we can use our SNAP cards to come down here and have it doubled means I can get some fresh fruit along with some herbs to grow in my window, which means the world to me,” said Eve Hagan, shopper.

The market is convenient being so close to downtown and the bus station. Many in the city are forced to travel to Boardman or Liberty to find fresh produce, and many times those items in a retail setting can get expensive.

“This is wonderful because you can buy fresh herbs there at $3 each. Some of them were two for $5. You go to the grocery store to buy fresh herbs and it is pretty pricey, Hagen said.

With the farmers market being one of only a few places in Youngstown where you can get fresh produce, they sold out in minutes. That didn’t sit well with shopper June Lincoln.

“I was talking to a lady inside. I said there’s nothing in there and she goes you had to be here at 10 or 10:30 a.m. Everything is gone, Lincoln said. “I told them you need to have some more vendors down here with more stuff,”

Organizer Tom Hetrick said the cold, rainy season has played a role in the low inventory. He said by next month they will have a lot more produce to sell.

The Downtown Youngstown Farmers Market is sponsored by the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation and Mercy Health.

The market runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month through October.