Heading to the farmers' market every week is a big part of life in southern Connecticut and Rhode Island. There is a lot of open space here, combined with a small population, and, therefore, farmland is prevalent. Because of this abundance of farms and large properties, growing local produce is commonplace throughout the region.
As the weather turns, however, many locals mistakenly believe that the farmers' markets close down for the winter, but this isn’t the case. Although there are fewer farmers' markets open in the fall and winter, four of the more prominent summer markets change venues for the winter, and still offer a selection of produce raised in local greenhouses.
After you buy a home in New London or South County, have a look at the following winter farmers' markets so you can not only continue to support local farmers, but keep your access to local meats, fruit, and vegetables all year round.
Niantic Winter Indoor Market
The summer version of the Niantic Farmers' Market is relatively small, with 13 vendors, give or take, in an area just off Main Street between Niantic Cinemas and Pro Tek Auto. It takes place every Thursday between early June and late October and runs from 3:30 until 6:00 PM.
The winter market is much different, as it takes place on Sundays at Smith's Acres garden center on West Main Street from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM. This edition of the market is indoors, so weather is never an issue, and it runs from early January until the middle of April. Products available at the indoor market include coffee, fish, cheese, baked goods, and beer, with Smith's Acres having a selection of produce, as well. There is an extensive greenhouse here, so you might have the chance to buy some out-of-season vegetables, depending on what is left.
Stonington Farmers' Market
The summer market in Stonington takes place in a field beside the Town Docks, in an area about two blocks from Water Street. This farmers' market is held every Saturday from 9:00 AM until 12:00 PM between May and the end of October, and acts as a meeting place for people from Stonington and its surrounding communities.
In late October, the farmers' market heads indoors to the Velvet Mill, which is a shopping mall set in a historic building. The indoor market takes place on Saturdays, between the hours of 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM, and lasts until the middle of May. This timeline means that Stonington has a genuine year-round farmers' market. There are permanent vendors inside the mall that remain open during market hours, in addition to local greenhouse produce, cheese, and meat.
South Kingstown Farmers' Market
South Kingstown has two summer markets from which to choose. The Tuesday Market runs from 2:00 until 6:00 PM at Marina Park in Wakefield, while URI East Farm welcomes the Saturday Summer Market from 8:30 AM until 12:30 PM. Both markets run from May through October.
Once the weather cools off, the Indoor Winter Market starts up at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston. Seasonal produce is available at this market, in addition to local greenhouse vegetables, and there is even live entertainment and coffee available to enjoy while you shop. There is plenty of free parking at this venue, which the market just switched to for the 2018 season. Starting in early November and running through April, this market runs every Saturday from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM.
Coastal Growers' Market
Perhaps the largest winter farmers' market is the Coastal Growers' Winter Market, which meets at Quest Montessori School in Narragansett. This market takes place between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM every Saturday between early November and the beginning of May, and features a variety of local vendors from which to choose.
The winter market has a total of 18 permanent vendors who will be there every week, offering local produce, milk, cheese, shellfish, eggs, chicken, pork, beer, soup, baked goods, coffee, and juice. Locally-produced crafts and artwork are also available. In addition to the weekly vendors, this market has 12 rotating artisan booths, so on any given week, you can buy local skincare products, butter, salt, pottery, or laundry soap.
The Coastal Growers' Market is also held in the summer at Casey Farm, featuring many of the same local vendors between the middle of May and late October.
Buy Local Goods All Year Round
The access to local produce and other goods all year round is one of the highlights of living in this part of the country. While you might have to drive to a neighboring community to find a farmers' market, it’s well worth the effort, especially since these events become a gathering place for locals when the beaches are unavailable in the winter.
New London and South Counties might be well-known summer destinations, but if you choose to make yourself a permanent resident, you won’t struggle to find things to do in the winter either, thanks in large part to these markets.