Posts Tagged ‘farmers’ markets’

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Music at the market…

Guest post by Nancy Caronia, a Lecturer in the Honors Program at University of Rhode Island. Check out her blog at http://ncaronia.wordpress.com/

fennel

From the bounty of the market: fresh fennel.

I’m from Brooklyn, NY, but I lived in Central New York for ten years. In New York City, I would frequent the Union Square Market, and in Central New York, I happily shopped at the Rochester Public Market. I love farmers, I love the food they grow, and I love supporting them and eating their food.

That’s why I appreciate the Coastal Growers Market near my current home in South County, Rhode Island. The four-season farmers market is like both of these markets, but actually reminds me more of the market when I lived in Cassis, France during a semester long writing fellowship with The Camargo Foundation. The vendors in the open-air market would teach me French and I would bring home the loaves of hot olive bread, fresh greens, rabbit, olives, cheese and fresh eggs. Each vendor was kind, whether I was buying two heads of lettuce or a bouquet of mimosa that was large enough to make me feel like a beauty pageant winner. They were patient and funny as I made a mockery of the French language. At the market, I met the people with whom I would soon be hiking buddies and purchased ingredients that meant I made excellent meals without ever stepping foot into a supermarket.

zephyr-customer

A customer browses at the Zephyr Farm stand.

The Coastal Growers’ Market takes me back to the market in Cassis. The farmers and vendors are kind, patient, and caring—towards their customers and about the food and products they provide. In the summer, when the market is located at Casey Farm, I meet up with friends and we sit all morning on picnic benches and listen to music by different local bands each Saturday morning while drinking iced tea or a cold-pressed iced coffee from The Coffee Guy and eat the most amazing tacos in New England by Chef Jake Rojas of Tallulah’s Tacos.

In the winter, the market moves indoors to Lafayette Mill and we still listen to great music and drink—only it’s more likely to be an apple cider that’s been freshly pressed by Barden Family Orchard or a juice from Fully Rooted. There’s Seven Stars for croissants and fresh crusty bread and Bravo Wood Fire Pizza. We meet up with our farmers and buy our groceries for the week as well. I get my greens from Mark, the hydroponic farmer of Abasaloma Greenhouse. I buy my fresh eggs from Zephyr Farm. And I indulge in nitrate-free bacon from Pat’s Pasteurized, where I’ve gotten to know Deb and Annie, aka Santa’s Elves, who do service work feeding the homeless throughout the year.

I get my fresh seafood from The Local Catch and Matunuck Oyster Farm, where the young children love to hear Gabe’s stories about bivalves and watch as he opens an oyster just to watch their eyes light up in delight. There’s also Yorerganics where I purchase my laundry soapbuds and Susannah of Susannah’s Ice Cream and Sorbet, who makes the best darn Meyer lemon sorbet no matter what the season.

Coastal Growers’ Market has made my transition to Rhode Island simple. I’ve made new friends and I’ve become part of a community of people who care about food and healthy living. If you need holiday gifts, the market is the perfect stop. And if you just want to meet up with terrific people and have a relaxing Saturday morning, the market folks will greet you with open arms.

Coastal Growers’ Market
Lafayette Mill
650 Ten Rod Road
North Kingstown, RI
Every Saturday from 10am to 1pm until May 2, 2015

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Opening day at the Providence Alternative Market.

Opening day at the Providence Alternative Market.

As the Hope Street Farmers’ Market continues to expand (it’s now common to park a few blocks away), a new market has arrived.  The Providence Alternative Market launched this past Saturday less than a mile down the road on North Main Street with a small selection of vendors including Ward’s Berry Farm (Sharon, MA),  Baffoni’s Poultry Farm (Johnston, RI) and several more. Although I still find it a bit perplexing why they chose to have the market on the same exact day (and nearly the same time) as the Hope Street Market, I do recognize the need to have an alternative market in order to give an outlet for some of the other wonderful nearby farms.

On our visit to the first Providence Alternative Market, we found radishes, asparagus, rhubarb, and leafy baby kale. And in fact, the onions and potatoes looked more appealing than the ones at Hope Street this week. Although you won’t find nearly the variety as Hope Street, there are some advantages–no lines,  and great quality produce and meat. And you can always go to both. We did.

Providence Alternative Market
Saturdays May 18-October 26, 2013 10 am – 2 pm
http://provaltmarket.com/

Hope Street Farmers’ Market
Saturdays May 18-October 26, 2013 9 am – 1 pm
www.hopestreetmarket.com

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Food trucks at the Ship Street Farmers’ Market.

It’s just a few weeks after the official unveiling of Providence’s new Ship Street Square, and it’s already home to a weekly farmers’ market. At this point in the season, the food trucks outnumbered the produce stands, but we were fine with that.

At the produce stands today, we found arugula and apples.

We ordered a few sliders from Rocket Fine Street Food (the Rocket sauce is excellent), and Geoff got a taco from Mijos Tacos. For dessert, the kids chose the non-dairy gluten-free soft serve from the Like No Udder truck. In my opinion this tastes pretty much like you’d expect — in other words, it’s no Frosty Freez— but they didn’t seem to notice the difference. As for me, I opted for the rhubarb mint ice pop from Rocket — a little sweet and perfectly refreshing.

Ship Street Farmers Market
Ship St And Richmond St
Providence, RI
see listing at Farm Fresh RI

Like No Udder
www.like-no-udder.com

Mijos Tacos
https://twitter.com/#!/mijostacos

Rocket Fine Street Food
see related blog post

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The Yams and one of their biggest fans.

It was 12:25 on Saturday when my daughter said she wanted to go to the Farmer’s Market. “Ok, hurry up, it closes in half an hour,” I said, rushing her out the door. I had only $5 in my pocket, but no time to stop at the ATM. I didn’t think there would be much time for shopping anyway.

We walked hand-in-hand into Hope Artiste Village at 12:40, and it was still busy. First stop, McCarten Violins. They moved across the hall this year to a bigger space, and gauging from appearances, this was needed. The shop was full, and Madeline loved to watch people testing out the instruments.

Next stop, across the hall in the “Greenhouse,” all the food vendors are set up. Thankfully, Tina’s Caribbean is here now too. The Yams are still playing, and Madeline spent our first dollar on a small bag of Nettie’s Kettle Corn. Our time slipped by with dancing, and the Yams got dollar #2. A few minutes before 1pm, we finally walked the hall, and watched everyone finishing up business. I was happy to see that all of the studios lining the market hall were filled with designers and artists, and we stopped in to draw a picture, pet a puppy, and watch a painter at work. The last three dollars were spent on a meat pie at Tina’s, and Madeline and I talked with some friends and listened to the last strains of music. It was a well spent 20 minutes.

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A variety of crunchy apples from Hill Orchards are available year-round at the market.

Next weekend will be the final weekend for the South Kingston Winter Farmers’ Market. A down-home version of the Pawtucket Winter Farmers’ Market, the South Kingston Winter Farmers’ Market features a modest selection of farms, but certainly enough to buy the wintertime basics — eggs, root vegetables, lettuces, apples, jams, sausages, cheeses, meats — and even a few potted herbs and flowers for building your garden. On our visit, we only had about $25 in cash which didn’t seem like much, but it stretched pretty far, enough to buy some homemade johnny cakes, pizza strips from Palmieri’s Bakery, eight apples from Hill Orchards, a bag of spring lettuce, some popcorn and even some homemade shea butter lotion for $15.

You can't go wrong with fresh, local eggs.

Despite the fact that I actually saw snow fall on Friday, spring has technically arrived, and in just a few short months, we’ll be coming upon the summer markets season with several dozen to choose from across the state. But I will miss the winter markets a bit. I’ve loved discovering such incredible bounty from our local farms in the midst of winter — from baby pea greens to tasty crisp carrots. As for the snow, that I won’t miss at all.

South Kingston Winter Farmers’ Market
Saturdays 10 am -2 pm through April 4, 2010
Peacedale Mill Complex
1425 Kingstown Rd
South Kingston, RI
www.farmfresh.org/food/farmersmarkets_details.php?market=382

For a list of all farmers’ markets in Rhode Island, view Farm Fresh RI.

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apples

Apples aplenty at the first Pawtucket Winter Farmers' Market. These are from Hill Orchard in Johnston, Rhode Island.

Today marked the opening day of the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers’ Market season.  Held inside the the central atrium of the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket,  the market gathers over a dozen farms, bakeries, and other vendors come together.

pawtucketmarket

Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers' Market

I have a penchant for farmers markets, it’s true, but this one may be my Rhode Island favorite. First of all, it’s such a wonderful concept to begin a market’s season in November, when all the rest have already ended.  Winter can be so barren in New England, and it’s nice to know that whatever can be grown in the coming months (presumably indoors), I’ll be able to buy.  According to Farm Fresh RI, the market offers lettuces, greens, apples, potatoes, onions, leeks, garlic, radishes, fresh herbs, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, and winter squash all year round.  And of course, the meats (from grass-fed beef to pastured pork) along with cheeses, jams, honey, maple syrup, milk, and eggs will certainly be available year-round.

The architecture of the building reminded us a bit of Chelsea Market in New York, but in fact the market itself is more like a Paris market where you’ll find everything you need for a balanced meal — bread, meat, legumes, cheese.  You’ll also find local sweet and savory vendors such as The Cupcakerie, Olga’s Cup+Saucer, Seven Stars Bakery, Kafe’ Lila (for ice cream), Tina’s Caribbean Food, and even Hewtin’s Dogs (Chez Pascal’s food truck) so you can stop for lunch and dessert as well as get your food shopping done.

Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers’ Market
Saturdays 11am-2pm from November 7, 2009 to May 29, 2010
Hope Artiste Village
1005 Main St.
Pawtucket, RI
www.farmfresh.org/food/farmersmarkets_details.php?market=29

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Peanut butter cupcake with dark chocolate frosting -- why didn't I think of that?

Peanut butter cupcake with dark chocolate frosting -- why didn't I think of that?

A bit of squash, some onions, certainly apples — these are the things I expected to find at today’s visit to the Providence Downtown Farmers’ Market in Kennedy Plaza. And although it’s a small market, there were certainly enough vendors to satisfy, including some of my favorites from the Newport and Middletown markets — Simmons Farm (squash, lettuce, corn, heritage pork, etc.) and Barden Family Orchard (peaches and apples). I also discovered some new farm vendors — Big Train Farm, Hill Orchards and Heritage Farm.

Madeline wakes in time for The Cupcakerie.

Madeline wakes in time for The Cupcakerie.

What I did not expect to find were cupcakes. Now, I do agree that there is a cupcake bubble. Yet I have to agree with a friend of mine who recently admitted that there’s no ceiling on the price he’s willing to pay for one of those small perfectly iced cakes.   But the disappointing truth is most cupcakes are just awful and usually the better they look, the worse they are.  A trip to New York is worth it if only for a sloppy Magnolia cupcake, but I only needed to try once the delicately designed and lousy imitation cupcakes from Sweet in Boston or Crumbs (from New York to California). So I remained fairly skeptical as we paid $2.75 per impeccably iced cupcake from The Cupcakerie stand at the market today. Our choices: a lemon cupcake for ourselves and a peanut butter with chocolate frosting for Madeline who instinctively awakened from her nap as we approached the stand. I’ve never had a peanut butter cupcake with a smooth dark chocolate frosting, but now that I have, I’ll say, it’s about time. It was one of the softest, tastiest cupcakes I’ve ever had — a perfect balance of light cake and rich frosting.  The lemon cupcake equally impressed us with a simple cake and and heavy-on-the-butter (I’m not complaining) lemon frosting.

The stands at the Providence Downtown Farmers' Market.

The stands at the Providence Downtown Farmers' Market.

The market was full of other wonderful sweet and savory surprises like the fabulously tender jerk chicken from a stand by Tina’s Caribbean Restaurant and a clearly addictive agave-sweetened and purple corn infused soda by Misti.  Oh yes, I’ll be back.  And I’ll try to remember to pick up some fruits and vegetables while I’m there too.

Providence Downtown Farmers’ Market
Kennedy Plaza & Exchange Terrace
Providence, RI
http://www.farmfresh.org/food/farmersmarkets_details.php?market=13
Fridays 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM from June 12 to October 30, 2009

The Cupcakerie
www.thecupcakerie.net

Misti
www.misticorporation.com

Tina’s Caribbean Restaurant
www.tinasjamaican.faithweb.com

Simmons Farm
www.simmonsfarm.com

Barden Family Orchard
www.bardenfamilyorchard.com

Heritage Farm
www.heritagefarmri.com

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