Warren’s Hope & Main is taking the farmer’s market to a whole new level

The Schoolyard is the place to be on Wednesday nights

Posted 7/9/21

If you’re not hanging out in the garden at Hope & Main on Wednesday evenings with a craft cocktail and freshly fried Lumpia, you’re missing out. The food incubator’s Schoolyard …

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Warren’s Hope & Main is taking the farmer’s market to a whole new level

The Schoolyard is the place to be on Wednesday nights

Posted

If you’re not hanging out in the garden at Hope & Main on Wednesday evenings with a craft cocktail and freshly fried Lumpia, you’re missing out. The food incubator’s Schoolyard Market has grown, pivoted and feels more like a neighborhood block party than a food market these days, complete with a live DJ and bubble machine, a front yard-backyard marketplace with more than 20 different vendors, free summer school meals, live cooking demonstrations and activities for kids, and a cocktail trailer. Lawn chairs, wagons and extra shopping totes are strongly encouraged. Food trucks (at least 2 per event) and other made-to-order makers offer an ideal weeknight meal solution for busy families, conveniently located on Main Street in Warren between Bristol and Barrington. 

“I love watching the schoolyard bloom into a festive, neighborhood market each week!” Said Alison Mountford, Hope & Main’s new Market Coordinator. “I’ve recently returned home to Rhode Island, after many years working at markets in San Francisco, and it's clear that even though Warren is a small town, our vendors are anything but.” 

Formerly on Sundays, Hope & Main’s market moved to Wednesdays last year. The change was a welcome one for the neighborhood, providing a convenient midweek location for picking up dinner, WhatsGood grocery app orders, and the hottest products made by Hope & Main makers and other local greats. Dubbed “What’s Local Wednesdays,” Wednesday evenings in Hope & Main’s “Schoolyard” is where neighbors can gather freely, and are encouraged to linger.

Both RI and MA Food Stamp (EBT) recipients are encouraged to shop at the Schoolyard to make the most of SNAP dollars. Hope & Main’s continued partnership with Farm Fresh Rhode Island provides a dollar for dollar match, doubling the amount that customers can spend. On-site farmers accept WIC and Senior Citizen coupons, too.

Hope & Main’s markets are partially funded by the USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant. Data captured from vendors and market-goers is helping to quantify the impact of this innovative food incubation program on local job creation; building a more sustainable regional food system; and on the overall local food economy. Additionally, Blount Fine Foods will be the market’s Presenting Sponsor for a third year, occasionally joining the marketplace to sell and debut new products from the Blount’s Family Kitchen line. 

Schoolyard Market and What’s Local Wednesday activities happen every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. through Oct. 13 at Hope & Main, 691 Main Street, Warren. It is free and open to the public, rain or shine. Well-behaved, leashed pets welcome. A full list of vendors, programming and market-day details is available at http://www.hopeandmain.org/markets.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.