Find a Local Farmers Market in RI
Just about everybody knows these days that Rhode Island farmers markets are one of the best places to find great local produce. Fortunately they are also great places to make friends, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you buy, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment in many cases.
Rhode Island farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, and they take place in your own home town, so you aren't required to travel far to find them. They've been going on for years in some locations, but they have gotten more popular in the last few years, so you should be able to find one not far from home!
The Benefits of Farmers Markets in Rhode Island
The advantages of shopping at your local Rhode Island farmers market are many. First off, you are assured the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, as they come straight from the farm to the market. Many crops available for sale at these markets are organically grown, so you know your family and friends won't be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Rhode Island farmers markets are great for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can help minimize global warming, and usually, farmers do not have to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost while using less fuel and contributing a lot fewer pollutants into the air.
Typically, prices are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer doesn't have to mark up his prices to earn money from a wholesaler, who marks up the prices again before they get to the supermarket. So, you're actually paying less cash for a far better product, and who doesn't like that?
These markets benefit Rhode Island farmers, as well, given that they have a weekly (or daily) market to appeal to customers, and in addition they do not have to ship their products days or even weeks beforehand at wholesale prices, therefore they make a better profit, too. It's always better to buy from local RI farms, since the money stays in the local economy, and that means more jobs and profits - all from buying fresh local produce!
Finding Your Local Rhode Island Farmers Market
Farmers markets generally run from late May or early June through September or October, according to where you live and your climate. Really it all depends upon the growing season in your area and when farmers can get their first products to market. Rhode Island farmers markets are such a big deal now, that usually local newspapers will print a schedule of markets in your area as the season is about to begin.
Often, you'll find a schedule from your local Cooperative Extension or county agricultural board, too. They have become very popular, in fact, that some communities enjoy a number of farmers markets every week, so it pays to shop all of them and choose the ones that provide the produce and other products you like the best.
What to Look for at a Rhode Island Farmers Market
You are sure to find local Rhode Island farms promoting their wares at good prices, but there are a few things to look out for. Make sure the produce is ripe and hasn't been sitting out in the sun too long, or has been damaged in transport. Most booths will give you a free taste of whatever you are looking at, so you can check out new flavors and crops you may not have had a chance to experience before.
Some farmers may even provide you with recipes and other ideas on how to serve their products, too. At the really big markets, organizers may bring in free entertainment, arts and crafts booths, and other amusements to draw in the crowds, and they may even provide play areas for the kids, too.
Look for other items at your farmers market, too. Sometimes local meat, cheese, and dairy producers bring their wares, and big markets are more like a county fair, with food booths, information booths, and even games for the whole family. So, check out a local Rhode Island farmer market or two, and come home with everything else you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.