Surprising Things You Can Buy With Food Stamps in the South

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jetcityimage / iStock.com

The southern states of the U.S. are iconic and historically significant in a number of ways. When you think of the South you may think of alligators and swamps, blue grass and jazz, beignets and sweet tea. And for those individuals who have benefits from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, your electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card is good for a number of Southern delicacies, if you just know where to look.

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Here are seven surprising things you can buy with your food stamps in the South.

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Southern Baking

Pineapple upside cake. King cake. Cola cake. Mississippi mud pie. If you have a hankerin’ for any of these Southern-inspired cakes, you can buy them with EBT at many a Southern bakery, because cake is included on the list of things you can buy.

If you can’t find a bakery to accept EBT, try Food Lion or Piggy Wiggly stores.

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Fried Green Tomatoes

Another iconic southern food are fried green tomatoes, which are exactly what they sound like–battered and deep fried tomatoes that are green when ripe. While you can’t purchase this tasty delicacy pre-made, you can use your SNAP benefits to purchase all the ingredients you need to make them yourself.

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Fast Food

You won’t be able to use your EBT card at all of the Southern states’ fast food chains (like Whataburger), but if you live in Virginia and qualify for the Restaurant Meals program, you can take advantage of hot fast food at select chains, notably the biggest ones like McDonalds and Burger King.

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Cajun Style Lobster Rolls

If you’ve ever drooled over a lobster roll, some variation of the shellfish served with butter and/or a variety of spices and other ingredients on a roll, you might be excited to know you can pay for the ingredients to make your own with your EBT.

You won’t be able to purchase one pre-made, but you can pay for your lobster, so long as you purchase it live and cook it yourself, as well as bread and other groceries. Make it Louisiana Cajun style for good measure!

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Farmers’ Market Produce

There’s just something special about buying your vine-ripened, still warm fruits and veggies outside from a friendly farmer versus plucking them cold off a supermarket shelf. Farmers’ markets have been on the rise in the South since the mid 2000s, according to National Geographic, and most accept food stamps.

Check out such markets in such places as Charleston, South Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Lafayette, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi and Atlanta, Georgia

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The South is known for its hot and humid climate in the growing season, and not every vegetable can thrive in that unique kind of heat. However, one hearty vegetable that you can use your SNAP benefits to buy the seeds or seedlings of to grow in your garden down south is Okra. It’s a nutritious vegetable that looks something like a cross between a pepper and a squash.

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Red Bull

If you prefer Red Bull to all other energy drinks like a large portion of the country does, according to Caffeine Informer, well good news — you can use EBT to keep your energy high. If you can’t decide which one will give you the best bang and taste for your buck, check out this blog by It’s a Southern Thing, where the host rates energy drinks.

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