EAST PROVIDENCE — Joyce May could hardly contain her excitement and anticipation for a new program about to be offered by the East Providence Public Libraries.
Starting Thursday, July 10, and running through August 28, the grounds of the Weaver Library, located at 41 Grove Ave., will be the site for a weekly farmers market.
For eight weeks, patrons will have the opportunity to enjoy fresh local produce, delicacies from the burgeoning area food truck scene, live music and other family activities. The farmers market follows in the footsteps of previous summer’s outdoor music series also held at Weaver. The two events dovetail each other this season, with concerts taking place each Wednesday evening through August 13.
“This new project came about because we had such success with the outdoor music series the last five years,” Mrs. May, the Adult Services Librarian at Weaver, explained. “It was so wonderful to see 200, 300 people come to the library, we said why not try to use it for something else.”
That something else quickly evolved into the farmers market. The idea was part of the library’s continued community outreach, specifically offering residents the opportunity to purchase fresh produce at affordable prices right in the heart of the city.
“Our main objective was to offer fresh food, obviously, but we also have plenty of other things going on around the market,” Mrs. May continued.
She also said the library has worked closely with Senior Center Director Robert Rock, hoping to bring the elder set into the fold. A federal food voucher program allows seniors to use that money at farmers markets. The program starts in July.
At least eight to 10 food vendors are expected to be on scene every week. New Urban Farmers, a local group that operates similar events across the area, is managing Weaver’s market. Some of the specialty vendors include an herbalist and an organic dog food brand, “Bono-Fido.”
The July 10 opener includes live music and a fun family workshop making birdhouses and bird feeders from recycled materials. Musicians Dan Lilley and Scatman will be playing classic rock, blues and originals. A library tent will feature a cookbook display and a recipe of the week. Beverly O’Keefe, the Rhode Island Water Lady, will show how recycled rain barrels make the most sense for gardens and the environment.
“We want the library to be a place for families to engage with one another and for kids to have fun in a warm setting,” Mrs. May said. “We’re also trying to promote healthy living and eating. And there’s no better way to strengthen your local community than to shop and eat locally.”
Mrs. May also credited volunteers from the Friends of East Providence Public Libraries as well as the library staffs and local businesses for their support of the market. “That’s what makes this a community effort,” she said.
Later in the season, among the many events planned around the market, local chef Nick Rabar, proprietor of Avenue N in Rumford, will conduct a cooking demonstration, the popular Ramblin’ Red and the Blackstone River Riders will perform and Russ Irwin will make a historical presentation on World War II.
“This project is still evolving,” Mrs. May added. “We’re very excited.”
Questions about the market, call the library at 434-2453. The Weaver Library farmers market will accept SNAP/EBT payments. If you have any questions about SNAP/EBT, please contact Emily or Bleu of New Urban Farmers at the market.
Farmers and vendors interested in participating should email [email protected] for an application.