RI DEM News Release: A bounty of RI-grown produce available at farmers’ markets, roadside stands

RI Department of Environmental Management

RI Department of Environmental Management

For Release:   September 22, 2011
Contact:   Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402

A BOUNTY OF RHODE ISLAND-GROWN PRODUCE IS AVAILABLE AT FARMERS’ MARKETS AND ROADSIDE STANDS THROUGHOUT THE STATE
Apples, Tomatoes, Corn, Pumpkins, Squash, and Potatoes Among Locally-Grown Items Currently Featured at Farmers’ Markets

PROVIDENCE – Along with the arrival of autumn on Friday is an abundance of locally-grown fall produce that is available for purchase at farmers’ markets and roadside stands throughout the state.  From now through late October, farmers’ markets in state parks and facilities managed by the Department of Environmental Management will offer consumers a wide assortment of freshly-grown produce.  Among items currently in peak supply are apples, tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, squash, and potatoes.

Freshly-harvested local lobsters, in addition to native fruits and vegetables and home-baked goods, are available at the State Pier Nine farmers’ market. The Pier Nine farmers’ market is also the pick-up site for a community supported fishery program operated by Ocean State Fresh. Shoppers can validate their parking tickets inside the Newport Visitors Center, 23 America’s Cup Ave., for a free half-hour of parking at the Center.

Chefs from Johnson and Wales University, as part of its 2011 Veggin’ Out program, will demonstrate how to prepare the many vegetables and fruits grown on Rhode Island farms, cook up local favorites, and teach healthy cooking to market-goers, rain or shine, at the following farmers’ markets:

  • Friday, September 23, Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Friday, October 7, Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Friday, October 21, Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

DEM operates nine farmers’ markets in state parks and state facilities throughout Rhode Island.  Their hours of operation are as follows:

  • Fishermens’ Memorial State Park Farmers’ Market in Narragansett, Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Johnston Farmers’ Market at Memorial Park on Route 6 (Hartford Avenue), Mondays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Blackstone River Visitor Center Farmers’ Market on Rt. 295 North in Lincoln, Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Haines Memorial State Park Farmers’ Market on Route 103 on the East Providence/Barrington line, Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Capitol Hill Farmers’ Market in Providence, Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through September 29
  • Goddard Memorial State Park Farmers’ Market in Warwick, Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Pastore Complex Farmers’ Market in Cranston, Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through September 30
  • State Pier Nine Farmers’ Market in Newport, Fridays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Colt State Park Farmers’ Market in Bristol, Fridays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

DEM Farmers’ Markets accept farmers’ market checks from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) administered by the Department of Health. The successful Senior Farmers’ Nutrition Program administered by DEM is also being offered this year, with coupons available at senior centers throughout the state. To qualify for the program, persons 60 or older make a simple self-declaration of income based on household size. DEM coordinates the program in conjunction with the RI Department of Elderly Affairs.

Growing consumer interest in products grown locally and the entrepreneurial skills of the state’s farmers is boosting agriculture in Rhode Island. The number of farmers’ markets is growing rapidly, and consumers are flocking to farm stands, pick your own operations, and community supported agriculture farms. According to the US Department of Agriculture’s New England agricultural statistics, in 2007 Rhode Island had $6.3 million worth of agriculture sales sold directly to the public. This was 9.5 percent of all agriculture market sales, which ranked the state first in the US for percentage of direct market sales. The increased presence of farmers’ markets helps bring local farm products to new communities to the benefit of both urban and rural customers. In addition, greater access to healthy, local food is improving the nutritional health of RI residents.

DEM’s Division of Agriculture and Resource Marketing, which helps farmers with marketing information, offers a free brochure that lists the locations of all farmers’ markets and roadside stands, along with addresses, hours, days and months of operation, and telephone numbers. To obtain a free brochure, or participate in the state farmers’ markets, please contact the Division of Agriculture at 222-2781. The brochure is also available on DEM’s website, by clicking on “Agriculture in Rhode Island” on the left side of the homepage, then “For Consumers,” then “Farmers’ Markets.”

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