PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) reports that peach season is underway in Rhode Island. Now through late September, locally-grown peaches will be available at numerous orchards and farmers' markets throughout the state.
DEM Director Janet Coit knows first-hand how excellent the peach harvest is at Rhode Island farms. "For me, a fresh juicy peach is the perfect food! I encourage all Rhode Islanders to find local peaches and enjoy the taste of late summer," said Coit. "And, local peaches, and soon apples, are just right to pack in lunch boxes for a delectable, healthy treat at lunch for our returning students."
There are many commercial orchards in Rhode Island that offer native peaches. For more information and a list of orchards, visit DEM's website. Vendors at farmers' markets in state parks also carry native fruits and vegetables including peaches, tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn and more. The following markets will be open weekly 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. - Capitol Hill Farmers' Market in Providence, Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In addition to peaches, many popular varieties of apples are ready for picking at orchards throughout the state. Fruit growers report that a plentiful and delicious apple crop is available for the public to enjoy this year. The opportunity to pick-your-own is offered at nearly all of the commercial orchards in Rhode Island. Apple varieties currently available for picking include Macintosh, Paula Reds, Gala, and Honey Crisps. More varieties will become available as the season progresses.
Apples have been an integral part of the state's agriculture since the 1600s. The first North American variety, Yellow Sweeting, was developed by William Blackstone in Cumberland. The Rhode Island Greening apple, which was developed in 1796 and originally from the Green End area of Newport, is the State Fruit.
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.
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