The Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market draws food lovers seeking Rhode Island’s best produce, meat, seafood, and food products. The first Saturday in May the scene shifts outdoors to the Hope Street Farmers Market, also featuring live music, food trucks, local artisans, and more. Vendor Marni MacLean Karro, owner of Jack’s Snacks, helps organize the outdoor market and offers these top picks.
Harvest Kitchen uses ingredients from local farms to make applesauce, pickles, stewed tomatoes, and apple chips made by youth from the juvenile justice system in commercial kitchens. “They’ve done outstanding work with the kids,” says Karro, noting Osbert Duoa, Harvest Kitchen graduate and now its retail sales manager (pictured at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market). “He started off working with them and turned his life around. Now he’s the face of Harvest Kitchen.”
The Local Catch
Rich and Ann Cook sell an array of fresh seafood, all landed in Rhode Island waters by local fishermen. Expect to find monkfish, whitefish, halibut, hake, dry scallops, and more, scaled and filleted by The Local Catch in its own processing facility. “They pack it really nicely in bags of ice, so if you are traveling, it holds up really well,” says Karro. But be sure to bring a cooler.
The company’s popular Atwells Gold, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, and yogurt often appear as ingredients on menus at some of the best Rhode Island restaurants. Many shoppers can’t even wait to get home to sample the goods. “People come to the market, get some cheese, grab a baguette from Olga’s Cup and Saucer and a couple sodas from Yacht Club,” says Karro, “and pull out a blanket and have an impromptu picnic under a shaded tree by the music.”
Tricycle Ice Cream
This mobile shop peddles ice cream sandwiches, made with its own ice cream and freshly baked cookies, on a tricycle equipped with a cooler. Flavors change each week, but there’s always some local twist, like coffee milk ice cream made with Dave’s Coffee Syrup or strawberry flavor blended with berries picked at a local farm. “Kids run over because there’s a cool bike,” says Karro, “and then they find out there’s ice cream inside.”
Karro’s own business targets its treats to four-legged customers. The farmers market is dog-friendly, and this bakery offers biscuits, frozen yogurt, and more for canine companions. “We use peanut butter from Rhode Island-based Virginia Spanish Peanut Company, human-grade eggs, locally sourced Narragansett Creamery products,” Karro says, “as well as fresh kale, pumpkins, apples, and sweet potatoes to make the treats.”
The market hosts monthly specialty vendors that make their products in Rhode Island, including Rebelle Artisan bagels, Chi Kitchen kimchi, Fox Point pickles, Farm to Gold ghee, and more. “We love the idea of being a one-stop shop for all your weekly grocery needs,” Karro says. “There’s always something new and exciting to look forward to.”
Arrive hungry. The Hope Street Farmers Market is a popular stop for mobile food vendors. The Pat’s Pastured food cart offers grass-fed burgers and sandwiches made with meat and eggs from its farm. Lotus Pepper serves Asian cuisine, while Citizen Wing and Gastros offer traditional American favorites. “Food trucks have to use locally sourced ingredients in order to be a part of the market,” says Karro.
IF YOU GO
The market, at the corner of Hope Street and Blackstone Boulevard, runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (starting May 6) and on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. (starting May 31). hopestreetmarket.comJamie Coelho is an associate editor and producer of The Dish food newsletter at Rhode Island Monthly magazine. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.