THREE WEEKLY FARMERS' MARKETS NOW OPEN AT STATE PARKS Bedding plants and flowers available at farmers' markets for Mother's Day, Memorial Day PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that three farmers' markets located in state parks are now open on a weekly basis. For the first few weeks, the popular markets primarily will offer bedding plants, hanging plants, cut flowers, meat, early vegetable crops, honey, and maple syrup. As traditional local summer crops become available, more vendors will participate. "Guys, you're running out of time – Mother's Day is Sunday," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Rhode Island's farmers' markets are terrific places to purchase beautiful plants and flowers. Throughout the season, these markets are wonderful sources of delicious and local fruits and vegetables, meats, and seafood. Visit one of our farmers' markets for the loveliest flowers and freshest ingredients possible – direct from the farm to your garden and kitchen table!"
The following farmers' markets are open now through late October: • Goddard Memorial State Park Farmers' Market in Warwick, Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. • Fishermen's Memorial State Park Farmers' Market in Narragansett, Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 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. The opening of the DEM farmers' markets coincides with the opening of many other farmers' markets throughout the state; visit DEM's website for details.
A farmers' market operated by DEM at the Rhode Island Department of Health will be open from July 12 through late October: • Capitol Hill Farmers' Market in Providence, Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Most vendors at every DEM farmers' market accept farmers' market checks from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) administered by the Rhode Island Department of Health (to purchase fruits and vegetables). The successful Senior Farmers' Nutrition Program for purchase of fruits and vegetables, administered by DEM for the past 10 years, will be offered at all DEM markets as the season progresses. The coupons are expected to be available at senior centers sometime in July. 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 Division of Elderly Affairs.
DEM continues to work across many fronts to strengthen Rhode Island's green economy and assist local farmers in growing their businesses. Farming is an integral part of the state's economy and contributes substantially to open space and quality of life. Rhode Island is one of few states nationally where the number of farms is on the rise. There are more than 1,200 farms sprinkled across the state, a 44 percent increase since 2002. Also, the state is in the top five nationally in direct-to-the-public farm sales. The state's green industries account for more than 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the economy each year. DEM and partners will celebrate Rhode Island Agriculture Day at the State House on Wednesday, May 30.
Local seafood is poised to become the next wave of food-based economic growth. In partnership with the Seafood Marketing Collaborative, DEM developed the RI Seafood brand to uniquely identify Rhode Island seafood in the marketplace and help local fishermen and distributors grow their businesses. In 2016, more than 106 million pounds of seafood arrived at Rhode Island ports, with an export value over $1 billion. For more information on Rhode Island seafood, visit www.seafoodri.com.
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