Visions for Central Market in Providence
Saturday August 6, 2016: Rhode Island’s culinary scene is about to get even better with the introduction of the Central Market, envisioned by David Dadekian of EatDrinkRI who received a 2014 Rhode Island Foundation Innovation Fellowship to explore the possibility of creating a centralized local-foods marketplace for the state.
The market’s main purpose is to provide local farmers and purveyors with the space to sell edible goods and culinary ware, but the space will also house an events area and commercial and demo kitchen and serve as “the nucleus for the local food economy in Rhode Island.” The intended location for the market is the former Shooters space near the new Newport/Providence Ferry. Saturday marked the preview of Central Market, in which the plan for the new space was on display and potential vendors came to sell their goods.
Dadekian’s vision for the year-round Central Market would mean much for the Rhode Island food community. The project’s creator has high hopes that the market will attract new customers with a RIPTA stop just a short walk away. The project has gained momentum through the Rhode Island Foundation Innovation Grant, but is still in the process of fundraising before construction can take place. In the meantime, vendors, foodies and chefs are eagerly awaiting the market’s opening. Dadekian has the momentum of the Fox Point neighborhood behind him, calling the community “hugely supportive.”
While normally an empty concrete building frame, the space on Saturday was bustling with the energy of 28 vendors selling their snacks, sauces and culinary goods. Vendors and shoppers were abuzz with the hopes of having a specialty market in Providence. The open event featured a range of vendors, including Ocean State Smoked Fish Company, Fox Point Pickling Company, New Harvest Coffee Roasters and Stock Culinary Goods.
Shoppers had the opportunity to go around the proposed market space, tasting samples and chatting with the vendors themselves. The vendors are also eagerly anticipating the new space, which would be a boon to many local businesses. Little Big Popcorn remarks about the future space, “We’re growing and we’d like to be in the space.” Hocus Pocus Farm, a Rhode Island farm selling their produce, had similar hopes for Central Market, “We would love to be here if this happens. This has been our best market day by far.”
We’ll be following the future with the Central Market as the story and the marketplace develops.