Governor Gina Raimondo, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, and other key partners joined Farm Fresh Rhode Island in celebrating the opening of their Harvest Kitchen Café and Corner Store in downtown Pawtucket, and expansion of their local food processing capabilities in the state-of-the-art commercial kitchen there. Monday’s event kicked off a week of free giveaways at Harvest Kitchen in appreciation for the community’s support.
Harvest Kitchen is Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s culinary job training program for youth ages 16–19 from the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) Juvenile Corrections and Foster Care services. The program plays a crucial role in Farm Fresh RI’s mission to grow a community-based food system in the region. Harvest Kitchen increases the variety and number of value-added local farm products available and offers opportunities for youth to understand how their activities connect to the food system, while gaining the necessary skills and experience to pursue their personal and professional goals—as well as a stable foundation to maintain employment beyond their time in the program.
“When Rhode Islanders come together as a community, we are unstoppable,” Governor Gina M. Raimondo said. “That’s clear when you look at the creativity and compassion embodied in Farm Fresh RI’s Harvest Kitchen Café and Corner Store. This program demonstrates so much of what I have been working for in my first 1,000 days in office— from high-quality job training for in-demand fields to fostering healthy habits to supporting our families in need. I am incredibly proud of DCYF, DOH, Farm Fresh RI and the Pawtucket community, and can’t wait to see you succeed in the years to come.”
“The Harvest Kitchen is an amazing example of the benefits of investing in our communities,” said Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “Through the rehabilitation of the Gately Building, a historical building was maintained, affordable housing was created, residents and visitors have a healthy place to eat and buy groceries, and most importantly, our youth have access to a meaningful job training program.”
Harvest Kitchen trainees work to create value-added products and prepared foods using ingredients sourced from local farms, and get hands-on retail experience selling their goods at farmers markets and working in the Harvest Kitchen Café + Corner Store. Farm Fresh RI works with local farmers to reduce food waste by utilizing B-grade, surplus, and gleaned produce in their Harvest Kitchen products. The full line of jarred goods is offered in the Café + Corner Store, at area farmers markets, and to wholesale customers through Farm Fresh RI’s transparent wholesale distribution service, Market Mobile. Harvest Kitchen also offers co-packing and private-label services to local growers in its commercial kitchen.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Governor Raimondo, Mayor Grebien, and our other honored guests to Harvest Kitchen and give them a personal tour of our new Café and Corner Store,” said Jen Stott, Program Director for Harvest Kitchen. “We are open six days a week, and located on Main Street at the corner of Bayley St in downtown Pawtucket. Our customers enjoy fresh produce from local farms, staple grocery items sourced from local producers, and house-made baked goods and prepared foods to take home or enjoy in the café—all made using local ingredients.”
Harvest Kitchen is open Monday through Friday, 7am to 5pm, and Saturdays 9am to 3pm. The store hosts weekly tastings and cooking demos, and even offers a cookbook exchange for the community. During the first week of October, customers in these categories will receive a free treat with any purchase:
Tuesday 10/3: Health Care Professionals
Wednesday 10/4: Human Service Professionals & Clients
Thursday 10/5: Educators & Community Organizations
Friday 10/6: Hospitality Industry & Farmers
Saturday 10/7: Emergency Personnel, Law Enforcement & Military Members
The Harvest Kitchen program is part of a much larger landscape of local food system programs that Farm Fresh RI operates. The Governor and her administration have been providing important support for Farm Fresh RI’s Food and Agriculture Hub, which is now in the development stage and will be located in the Valley neighborhood of Providence. The Hub is a $14 million initiative that will be located on a recently purchased 3.2 acre site, where Farm Fresh RI’s operations will be consolidated in one location (with the new store remaining rooted in Pawtucket). There will also be room in the Hub for other food and agriculture businesses to co-locate. And based on the success of Harvest Kitchen in Pawtucket, Farm Fresh RI plans a second Harvest Kitchen program at the new Food Hub, which is due to be completed by 2019.
We are filled with gratitude for the show of support earlier this week at our appreciation celebration for the Harvest Kitchen Café + Corner Store in downtown Pawtucket.Thank you to our honored guests and speakers including Governor Raimondo, Mayor Grebien, Secretary Beane, RIDOH Director Alexander-Scott, DCYF Director Picolla, RI DEM Director Coit, RI Director of Food Strategy Anderbois, PCF Development, LISC Rhode Island, and so many more!