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To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the wintertime market, Farm Fresh Rhode Island will be hosting special events, cooking demos, give-aways, and sales throughout the season. Ever growing, the 2016–2017 Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market will be home to a bustling community of shoppers, families, musicians, artists, growers, and artisans gathering over a shared interest in delicious locally grown foods. The market will feature over 80 new and returning vendors selling a huge array of local products, from fresh produce, seafood, poultry, meats, and cheeses to baked goods, prepared foods, herbal remedies, seasonal flowers and wreaths… and so much more! The Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market is located in two spacious hallways at 1005 and 999 Main St., Pawtucket, RI 02860. The R-Line bus literally stops at the market’s front door. Multiple parking lots are provided for convenience, and street parking is available in the surrounding neighborhood. Ramp accessibility is located at the 999 Main St entrance and in the building’s center courtyard. For more information: farmfreshri.org.

From Humble Beginnings — 10 Years of Supporting Local Growers
“Let’s just do it. Let’s find a place!” That was how it all started, seemingly simple words that transformed years of dreaming into a realistic way to support RI food producers all year long. Farm Fresh RI Co-Executive Director Sheri Griffin was there, then just starting at the fledgling nonprofit. Griffin along with Farm Fresh RI founders Louella Hill and Noah Fulmer knew that local growers need a consistent marketplace to thrive, even after the New England temperatures start to dip. But asking for a commitment from vendors and pulling together all the logistics were far from a sure thing.

“At first, we weren’t even certain it would fly,” explains Griffin. “As a grower, it’s one thing to need a marketplace. It’s another to be able to dedicate valuable time and resources to test new waters.” In fact, the market may not have gotten off the ground in 2007 without integral support from AS220, a Providence gallery and forum for the arts that donated space and tables for that first wintertime market. But the market was a hit almost immediately — thanks to Hill Orchards, Simmons Farm, Matunuck Oyster Farm, Earth Essence Herbals, Wishing Stone Farm, Jack’s Snacks and Whispering Elms Farm blazing the trail, and Farm Fresh RI rounding out the market with buy-in from other small vendors. So, after that first season, Griffin and team were again in search of a space to house the growing demand.

By the following November, 2008, the market had moved to its current home in the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, after recommendations by Farm Fresh RI friends and market partners New Harvest Coffee Roasters and Seven Stars Bakery, which had already set up shop in the building. Jumping dramatically from 7 to 51 vendors in just its second year, the market’s success was a boon, and it has continued to thrive in the years since. In Fall 2012, with the market bursting at the seams, Farm Fresh RI expanded the market into two hallways — as it will continue to be this, the 10th year!

“The Wintertime Market has made a real difference to a lot of local growers,” explains Griffin. “Having a stream of income from the other eight months of the year can help make or break small food & agra businesses. And our community is hungry for what they catch, grow and create. Making these connections is what Farm Fresh RI is all about.”

Cash, Credit/Debit, EBT Accepted
The market accepts cash, check, credit/debit, and EBT. For shoppers using SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, Farm Fresh RI provides a 40% bonus! Customers simply swipe their EBT card at any of the market Welcome Tables and receive tokens to spend on groceries at the market. For every $5 swiped on EBT, shoppers get $2 FREE Bonus Bucks to buy fresh fruits and vegetables — and the tokens never expire!

About Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Farm Fresh Rhode Island is a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 2004. They are a small organization with a big mission — growing a local food system that values the environment, health and quality of life of area farmers and eaters. Part incubator, part activator, Farm Fresh RI offers a wide array of access, education, and distribution programs aimed at building healthier communities, increasing access to fresh food, strengthening community-based businesses, and improving the impact of food production and distribution on our environment. For more information, please visit www.farmfreshri.org.