PROVIDENCE – With summer in full swing, the harvest of July yields an abundance of fresh, colorful, and locally-grown produce that is now available for purchase at farmers' markets and roadside stands throughout the state.
From now through late October, farmers' markets in state parks managed by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will offer consumers a wide array of freshly-grown fruits and vegetables along with meats and seafood. Among produce items currently in supply during the Northeast's peak growing season are tomatoes, sweet corn, summer squash, peppers, eggplant, peaches, cherries, blueberries, and melons. Traditional offerings of baked goods, bedding plants, hanging plants, cut flowers, honey, and maple syrup also are available for purchase at the markets.
"Be sure to stop at one of our farmers' markets this week for delicious and freshly-harvested local foods direct from the farm to your dinner table," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "There's nothing better than Rhode Island-grown tomatoes, corn, summer squash, lettuce, and blueberries to round out a summertime meal of locally-harvested meat, seafood, or lobster. Shopping at a farmers' market is a nutritious and delightful way to celebrate the summer harvest!"
The following farmers' markets are open now through late October:
• Goddard Memorial State Park Farmers' Market in Warwick, Fridays from 9 AM to 1 PM • Fishermen's Memorial State Park Farmers' Market in Narragansett, Sundays from 9 AM to 1 PM • Haines Memorial State Park Farmers' Market on Route 103 on the East Providence/Barrington line, Wednesdays from 2 – 6 PM • Capitol Hill Farmers' Market at the RI Department of Health (RIDOH) in Providence, Thursdays from 11 AM to 2 PM
Most vendors at DEM farmers' markets accept farmers' market checks from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children administered by RIDOH (to purchase fruits and vegetables). The successful Senior Farmers' Nutrition Program, administered by DEM for purchase of fruits and vegetables, also is being offered at all DEM markets. The coupons are available at senior centers; to qualify for the program, persons 60 or older make a simple self-declaration of income based on household size.
DEM continues to work across many fronts to benefit and strengthen Rhode Island's green economy and to assist local farmers and fishers in growing their businesses. There are more than 1,000 farms sprinkled across the state and Rhode Island is home to a thriving young farmer network. DEM continues to make investments in critical infrastructure as well as provide farm incubation space to new farmers through its Urban Edge Farm and Snake Den Farm properties.
The state's food scene often is cited as an area of economic strength and innovation with still more room for growth. Already, the local food industry supports 60,000 jobs, and the state's green industries account for more than 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the economy annually.
For a list of farmers' markets operating throughout the state; visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/agriculture/findfood.php.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.