FARMERS MARKETS OFFER FRESH, NUTRITIOUS FOODS
Farmers markets are gathering places where everyone in the community is invited to enjoy a wide variety of fresh foods in their own neighborhood. Farms and food producers offer the freshest, highest-quality, most nutrient-rich foods at farmers markets — so you get the most for your money. Best of all, you get to know the farmers and producers who actually grow and make your food, so you’re the first to know about what's growing, recipe ideas, and insider tips straight from the source! Stop by for some quick shopping or stay to gather with the community.
- Support your healthy lifestyle. Everyone knows eating lots of fruits and vegetables is good for our bodies, but it’s easier and more fun to eat lots of plump heirloom tomatoes, vibrant and crunchy lettuces, and gleaming golden corn than wilted grocery store produce. Even at Wintertime farmers markets you'll find a wide selection of apples, squash, root vegetables, and preserved foods that are fresher and tastier than supermarket foods. The equation is simple: higher quality/tastier produce = more produce in your diet = healthier you!
- Get the freshest produce. Food you get at the farmers market may have been harvested that very day! Food at the grocery store has likely traveled several days on a truck before landing on a grocery store shelf... possibly with a stop-over or two in warehouses along the way. Buy ultra-fresh fruit and veggies at the farmers market and they will taste better, be more nutrient-dense, and will even last longer!
- You are key to the local food system. By shopping at a farmers market you are investing in your community! You can talk to the farmer and ask about their growing practices — making an informed decision about what you put in your body — and vote with your fork to keep your dollars close to home. Everyone knows that New England has great seafood, but did you know you can also find (seasonally) locally grown apples, berries, peaches, melons, broccoli, greens, herbs, eggs, cheese, beef, pork, lamb, milk, butter, and countless other products?
Welcome to the Farmers Market
Take a look at some of the vibrant community marketplaces in Rhode Island — where farmers market managers like Farm Fresh RI support a diversity of locally grown foods and work to make them accessible to all Rhode Islanders.
Shopping on a tight budget? See below to learn more about how SNAP shoppers can double your farmers market dollars with Bonus Bucks.
When Should You Go?
Often held weekly, farmers markets come in many sizes and flavors, and can be open seasonally or all year-round. Whether you're shopping at an outdoor market in the warmer months or indoors at a wintertime market, farmers markets are ideal for regular weekly shopping, grabbing a quick last-minute ingredient, or meeting up with friends to enjoy prepared foods and special events for the whole family. And with over 40 farmers markets in Rhode Island, you’re likely to find one nearby!
Farmers markets are most abundant in our region during the warmer months of the year. Most summertime markets are held outdoors and stay open from early summer to early fall. Outdoor markets take place in both urban setting as well as parks and more rural spots. Some markets host a small group of farm stands, while others have a wide range of vendors and offer special community events — from live music and performances to fun activities for kids.
When it gets cold here in Southern New England, it's easy to forget about shopping at a farmers market. But indoor farmers markets provide a warm place to meet up with neighbors, catch up with local growers and food makers, and get the kids out of the house! Wintertime markets still offer many choices of fresh vegetables, cold-stored from the fall harvest or grown in local greenhouses, as well as value-added products made by local small businesses.
What Will You Find?
Farmers markets are often where you will find the best value on a wide range of foods you might be used to buying at a grocery store. Most markets offer a selection of fresh produce from local farms, and many also have local dairy, meat, seafood, bakery items, and value-added products like sauces and pickles — as well as food trucks and prepared foods, so you can snack while you shop or sit and enjoy a meal with friends.
Please Note: Harvest calendars can be used to determine when specific crops are "in season" but it is important to know that these dates are approximate — as many factors affect when crops are ready to be harvested including weather, crop variety, and area of the state where they’re being grown. Make sure to contact the farm ahead of time to ensure what you’re interested in will be available prior to your visit. Contact information can be found for each farm on the Local Food Guide. Many farms also list what produce will be available monthly on their website and social media.
Consider the fact that although many supermarkets carry local produce, much of what you find at stores has been transported 1200 miles, on average. Produce at farmers markets is often picked ripe and sold within a day. That translates into fresher, more nutritious food because the vitamins and other nutrients haven’t had time to break down.
— Lauri Wright, Ph.D., R.D.N, assistant professor of nutrition at the University of North Florida (Wadyka, S. "Farmers Market Produce: Local vs. Organic," Consumer Reports, July 12, 2018.)