The recent unseasonable weather may be deceiving, but there’s still some time before it’ll consistently feel like spring around here. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the bounty of the land. Last week we brought you a roundup of local farm stands open throughout the week all year long – great for picking up eggs on a Tuesday or a couple of pork chops on the way home from work. But none has the breadth – or social scene – of a full-on farmers’ market. Most open-air markets are waiting for the warmer weather till they roll out their abundance, but we’ve found a few gems that are open right now. If you haven’t been hitting the Aquidneck Growers’ Market here on the island, check it out this weekend. If you go regularly and want a change of scenery and some variety, check out the other famers’ markets open year-round throughout the Ocean State. They’ll tide you over with farm fresh goodness until your own garden starts blooming – and beyond.
1. Aquidneck Growers Market
Now in its second season at Newport Vineyards, the Aquidneck Growers’ Market has twice the space it did previously. More space equals more vendors, which include Narragansett Creamery, The Coffee Guy, and Aquidneck Farms, plus a lounge where shoppers can hang out and drink coffee or sample their purchases. “There’s definitely been an increase in the community aspect,” says the market’s manager, Bevan Linsley. Bring the kids – and your compost, too: AGM has a new food scrap program. “People can bring food they can’t compost at home,” says Bevan, “to get picked up and composted at Island Community Farm, where it will be used in their community garden beds.”
Aquidneck Grower’s Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Newport Vineyard & Winery
909 East Main Road, Middletown, RI 02842
2. South Kingstown Farmers Market
The longest running farmers’ market in our little state, the South Kingstown Farmers Market combines local food vendors with handmade items. Whimsical pig-shaped yarn holders from Kelley Kreations Pottery and Pop-art colored bird houses from Woodworker Man are just a sampling of some of the unique crafts available. Food vendors, of course, have a solid presence, too. New England Grass Fed sells free-range beef, pork, and rabbit; Matunuck Oyster Bar offers salty, fresh oysters; and Bona-Fido even has healthy treats for your four legged friends.
South Kingstown Farmers Market
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (through April 30th)
1425 Kingstown Road, Wakefield, RI 02879
3. Pawtucket / Wintertime Farmers Market
Sure, it’s a bit of a hike from Newport, but this market, which is located in a massive former mill building, is worth it. Boasting as many as 75 diverse vendors, you could easily spend half the day here. Crowd faves include La Crêperie (look for them next to the live entertainment for little ones), Hola Baked Goods, and Humble Pie Company. March kicks off a month-long event featuring activities such as cooking demos, a pie eating contest, and local beer and food pairings. Also on tap: a scavenger hunt (with awesome prizes) and lots of deals and vendor specials.
Pawtucket / Wintertime Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (November 1 to mid-May)
Hope Artiste Village
1005 Main Street Pawtucket, RI 02860
4. Coastal Growers Market
Located in the historic Dye House at Lafayette Mill, North Kingstown’s Coastal Growers Market makes its home in what was once a textile factory. Standout vendors here include Bravo Wood Fired Pizza, which sells slices cooked on site in a wood burning oven; RI Mushroom Co., which grows a substantial variety of fungi, including blue oyster, Maitake, and Pioppino mushrooms; Fully Rooted fresh juices; and (appropriately) Willywaw‘s gorgeous coastal-inspired textiles. Plus, last week marked the return of Tallulah’s Tacos – game on!
Coastal Growers Market
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The Dye House at Lafayette Mill
650 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown, RI 02852
5. Mount Hope Farmers Market
The gorgeous wood shingled barn at Mount Hope Farm plays host to a cherry-picked group of vendors every Saturday. “We’re incredibly selective with who we accept,”says Jennifer Bristol, the executive director of the farm, “because we strive to create the perfect mix, where everyone gets to shine without a lot of cross competition.” Popular items include pre-cooked meatballs from Windmist Farms, Mexican hot chocolate from Hola Baked Goods, and unique popcorn flavors (try Mexican vanilla, sweet masala curry, and Rhode Island Coffee Milk) from Biggest Little Popcorn Co. With its cozy fireplace, live music, and beautiful grounds (baby goats coming soon!), you’ve got an idyllic way to spend the day.
Mount Hope Farm Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
250 Metacom Avenue, Bristol, RI 02809