Middletown Town Council this evening approved a permit application by Aquidneck Community Table for a new Saturday summer location for Aquidneck Growers Market.

While Aquidneck Growers Market will continue to operate on Wednesday afternoons on Memorial Boulevard, they can also be found on Saturday mornings this Summer at Embrace Home Loans in Middletown.

Aquidneck Community Table provided the following information to What’sUpNewp on Monday night;

The Saturday farmers market, operated by the local non-profit Aquidneck Community Table, has been searching for a permanent home for a very long time, operating at several locations over the past two years.

Moving from Newport Vineyards in Middletown, where it had a green and spacious home for 25 years, the market relocated to the Rotunda on Newport’s Easton’s, or First Beach, only to be closed when the City had to shut down all public buildings at the onset of the COVID pandemic. From there the market moved to Pell Elementary School, then the Newport Visitor’s Center, followed by Stoneacre Garden this winter, and was expecting to return to Pell for the 2022 summer season only to learn very recently that construction at Pell would prevent use of that site this summer.

By now, the staff and board at ACT had explored multiple sites across the island, concluding that the only long term solution is to build a permanent home, but what to do in the meantime?

Swift rethinking and reviewing of new possibilities last month led to a new site in partnership with the Embrace Home Loans campus at 25 Enterprise Way in Middletown, between Town Hall and the adjacent shopping Ocean State Job Lot plaza, where a shady green space with picnic tables will make a perfect spot to hold a farmers market.

“ACT is so thankful to Embrace Home Loans for offering to share their lovely plaza with us” said ACT Board chairperson, Susan Wells, “it’s a great location with ample parking, and just in the nick of time too!” 

The market permit was approved by the Middletown Council tonight, clearing the way for the market to open as planned on Saturday, May 7, with the same hours of nine to noon, rain or shine, through October.

ACT will open its Wednesday afternoon market at the usual spot on Memorial Boulevard at the Chapel Street intersection on May 18. Both markets welcome back 25+ vendors, offering a wide selection of locally sourced foods: fresh vegetables and fruit; pasture-raised meat and eggs; fresh and smoked fish; artisan breads and pastries; flowers; bedding plants and a selection of prepared foods, plus coffee and freshly squeezed juices.

Through a partnership with Farm Fresh RI,ACT offers 100% match for fruit and vegetables for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) customers who use their EBT allowance at a market. Many market vendors also accept WIC (Women, Infants and Children). Staff at the Welcome Stall at the market entrance will be happy to share information about how these programs work, plus volunteer opportunities with ACT programs.

ACT appreciates the City of Newport and Newport Public Schools for hosting the market through the COVID challenges of the past two years, making it possible to provide the community with access to fresh, healthy food that is locally sourced, and a food support program for community members struggling with food bills.