Eat a Brownie and Create a Job; Shop 'til You ... Sip

By ecoRI News staff

Eat a Brownie and Create a Job

The shiny new kitchen at Hope & Main. (Joanna Detz/ecoRI News photos)

The shiny new kitchen at Hope & Main. (Joanna Detz/ecoRI News photos)

Hope & Main, Warren, R.I.

“If one million Rhode Islanders eat Matt’s Magic brownies, a lot of good things are going to happen.”

Lisa Raiola, the founder and visionary behind Rhode Island’s new culinary incubator, Hope & Main, fed this line to a crowd of 200 delighted supporters who turned out for the incubator’s official opening. “Eat a brownie; create a job,” Raiola declared. “Rhode Island will be the food state and Warren will be its tasty capital.”

The inaugural cohort of more than 30 culinary entrepreneurs, which include a pickler, chocolatier and popcorn maker, sat center stage during a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony at Hope & Main, as it officiall opened its 17,500-square-foot culinary business incubator Oct. 3.

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A project five years in the making, Hope & Main transformed a 100-year-old school into a modren workspace for the region’s food entrepreneurs. Among the building’s highlights are: three code-compliant, shared-use commercial kitchens, including a gluten-free kitchen and artisan bakery; more than 6,000 square feet of production space; cold and dry storage; and a range of commercial equipment to support small-scale operations for baking, food processing and catering.

The Hope & Main project was funded in large part by a $2.9 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

A variety of businesses will be run from the incubator, including specialty food product makers, catering companies, food trucks, farmers, personal chefs and nutritionists.

“Five years ago we had an idea for a building, but we could only imagine who would utilize it,” Raiola said. “In that time, Hope & Main has evolved into a center of gravity for Rhode Island’s food economy. We have not only created access to business opportunities for food entrepreneurs, we have built an integrated space dedicated to the food-value chain — from growing, to production, to sales. We aim to change the community’s relationship to local food.”

Shop ‘til You ... Sip

Aquidneck Growers' Market, Middletown, R.I.

You’ll be able to enjoy a glass of wine when you shop at the Aquidneck Growers’ Market this winter season.

The Aquidneck Growers’ Market is partnering with its summer host, Newport Vineyards, as the market moves indoors to the winery’s newly renovated space. 

The market will be open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Saturday through the winter. Customers will enjoy a wide selection of local food, including vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, artisan breads and pastries, and local seafood. Everything available at the market has been made or grown within a 50-mile radius of the vendor selling it.

"We are thrilled to be opening inside with our old friends at the winery just in time to celebrate the completion of their beautiful renovations and the market's 20th birthday," Aquidneck Grower's’ Market founder Lisa Lewis said. "On fine weather days our customers can sit outside on the patio overlooking the vineyard and celebrate this local accomplishment with a cup of Aquidneck Island-roasted coffee or a glass of Aquidneck Island wine."

Food-scrap collection will again be staffed by volunteers from Sustainable Aquidneck, which manages the composing program at nearby Island Community Farm.

The Aquidneck Growers' Market will open its third winter market season Nov. 8 at Newport Vineyards, 900 East Main Road.