News Bites: RI Honors Food Day, Farm to School Month / Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market / Jamestown FiSH / Coastal Wine Trail

by David Dadekian

Current news releases—Eat Drink RI is not the source for these items—please follow any links for more information.

Rhode Island Honors Food Day, Farm to School Month

Farm Fresh RI Farm to School Gardening with Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence

Farm Fresh RI Farm to School Gardening with Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence

The RI Farm to School Project is busy throughout the month of October, supporting special events and distributing resources to engage the state’s schools and institutions in fresh, delicious and nutritious local eating. Governor Gina Raimondo recently proclaimed October to be “RI Farm to School Month.” And the most recent USDA Farm to School Census revealed that Rhode Island schools rank number-one in the nation for district participation in Farm to School programs!

At the same time that obesity and diabetes are occurring in our nation at record rates among children, Farm to School activities empower youth to think critically about the food they eat, to learn about nearby farms and how food is produced, and to taste for themselves that healthy, fresh foods are delicious. Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s Farm to School Project is a critical part of the non-profit’s strategy for fostering a culture of healthy eating in the next generation of consumers. As larger local farms seek secure wholesale markets, school meals represent a viable outlet for Rhode Island farmers. Farm Fresh RI hopes that local food celebrations generate enthusiasm among diners and demand by meal providers so that RI Grown items continue to appear regularly on cafeteria menus.

“Consistent purchases by institutional customers such as Rhode Island’s school food service providers are what our agricultural producers need to assure their investments in expansion,” notes Farm Fresh RI Co-Executive Director Sheri Griffin. “These sustainable purchasing relationships are a win-win for everyone. Our students benefit by enjoying the freshest and most delicious food as our agricultural economy thrives. This kind of activity fosters the development of a secure and sustainable local food system.”

Instagram art contest sponsored by the RI Fruit Growers Association
In celebration of both National and Rhode Island Farm to School Month, as well as Farm Fresh RI’s “Harvest of the Month” initiative featuring apples for October, the RI Farm to School Project hosted an Instagram art contest sponsored by the RI Fruit Growers Association. Rhode Island middle school students (5th – 8th grade) were invited to submit artwork or photography depicting their enthusiasm for Farm to School, Rhode Island agriculture and Rhode Island grown foods. Two fifth-grade students from Reservoir Avenue School in Providence won the contest for their class with colorful drawings of RI Grown fruits and vegetables. Teacher Maureen Rooney’s class will enjoy the first-place prize: apple picking while on a farm fieldtrip Tuesday, October 25, hosted by Steere Orchard in Greenville, RI. The class will also celebrate the second prize, a local foods classroom cooking extravaganza. Students will use RI Grown foods to prepare brunch this Friday, October 21. Menu items include veggie frittatas featuring various vegetables from RI Mushroom Company and multiple RI farms, Baffoni Farms eggs, Schartner Farms sweet potato hash, Steere Orchard apple crisp, and apple pie smoothies using Narragansett Creamery yogurt.

Sodexo Providence, the food service provider at Reservoir Avenue School, will hang the winning artwork in the cafeteria—where all students can view it while enjoying a Great RI Apple Crunch on Food Day, October 24.

The Great RI Apple Crunch, October 24
The second annual Great RI Apple Crunch will be held at Pell Elementary School in Newport, RI, on October 24th—Food Day. To celebrate, the entire school population (including over 850 students, plus faculty and staff!) will gather at 2:00 pm on the school lawn to simultaneously bite into a delicious apple grown locally at Steere Orchard.

The event is coordinated by the school’s food service director, Cindy King of Chartwells, and Farm Fresh RI’s Farm to School team. Chartwells and Farm Fresh RI have worked together in Newport and all East Bay school districts for over 10 years to promote RI Grown foods in school meals and to facilitate food education activities like classroom nutrition lessons, gardening programs and after-school cooking clubs.

This October, Chartwells is participating in Farm Fresh RI’s “Harvest of the Month.” In exchange for printed marketing materials and support with local food celebrations, the district has committed to purchasing RI Grown apples three times during the month!

Farm Fresh RI Wintertime Farmers Market Celebrates 10th Year!

Farm Fresh RI Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market 2016 poster

Farm Fresh RI Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market 2016 poster

The Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market is opening for its 10th season on November 5, 2016. The largest indoor farmers market in New England, it will be open every Saturday through April 29, 2017 from 9am to 1pm — this year including both December 24 (Christmas Eve) and December 31 (New Years Eve). That means extra holiday shopping opportunities for consumers and more chances to support local businesses.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the wintertime market, Farm Fresh Rhode Island will be hosting special events, cooking demos, give-aways, and sales throughout the season. Ever growing, the 2016–2017 Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market will be home to a bustling community of shoppers, families, musicians, artists, growers, and artisans gathering over a shared interest in delicious locally grown foods. The market will feature over 80 new and returning vendors selling a huge array of local products, from fresh produce, seafood, poultry, meats, and cheeses to baked goods, prepared foods, herbal remedies, seasonal flowers and wreaths… and so much more! The Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market is located in two spacious hallways at 1005 and 999 Main St., Pawtucket, RI 02860. The R-Line bus literally stops at the market’s front door. Multiple parking lots are provided for convenience, and street parking is available in the surrounding neighborhood. Ramp accessibility is located at the 999 Main St entrance and in the building’s center courtyard. For more information:

From Humble Beginnings — 10 Years of Supporting Local Growers
“Let’s just do it. Let’s find a place!” That was how it all started, seemingly simple words that transformed years of dreaming into a realistic way to support RI food producers all year long. Farm Fresh RI Co-Executive Director Sheri Griffin was there, then just starting at the fledgling nonprofit. Griffin along with Farm Fresh RI founders Louella Hill and Noah Fulmer knew that local growers need a consistent marketplace to thrive, even after the New England temperatures start to dip. But asking for a commitment from vendors and pulling together all the logistics were far from a sure thing.

“At first, we weren’t even certain it would fly,” explains Griffin. “As a grower, it’s one thing to need a marketplace. It’s another to be able to dedicate valuable time and resources to test new waters.” In fact, the market may not have gotten off the ground in 2007 without integral support from AS220, a Providence gallery and forum for the arts that donated space and tables for that first wintertime market. But the market was a hit almost immediately — thanks to Hill Orchards, Simmons Farm, Matunuck Oyster Farm, Earth Essence Herbals, Wishing Stone Farm, Jack’s Snacks and Whispering Elms Farm blazing the trail, and Farm Fresh RI rounding out the market with buy-in from other small vendors. So, after that first season, Griffin and team were again in search of a space to house the growing demand.

By the following November, 2008, the market had moved to its current home in the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, after recommendations by Farm Fresh RI friends and market partners New Harvest Coffee Roasters and Seven Stars Bakery, which had already set up shop in the building. Jumping dramatically from 7 to 51 vendors in just its second year, the market’s success was a boon, and it has continued to thrive in the years since. In Fall 2012, with the market bursting at the seams, Farm Fresh RI expanded the market into two hallways — as it will continue to be this, the 10th year!

“The Wintertime Market has made a real difference to a lot of local growers,” explains Griffin. “Having a stream of income from the other eight months of the year can help make or break small food & agra businesses. And our community is hungry for what they catch, grow and create. Making these connections is what Farm Fresh RI is all about.”

Cash, Credit/Debit, EBT Accepted
The market accepts cash, check, credit/debit, and EBT. For shoppers using SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, Farm Fresh RI provides a 40% bonus! Customers simply swipe their EBT card at any of the market Welcome Tables and receive tokens to spend on groceries at the market. For every $5 swiped on EBT, shoppers get $2 FREE Bonus Bucks to buy fresh fruits and vegetables — and the tokens never expire!

Sunday Brunch Begins at Jamestown FiSH

At Jamestown FiSH, Sunday Brunch is a special event. We have made every effort to elevate its status to an art form. With imaginative twists on traditional dishes and inventive new creations inspired by European cuisine, we strive to give our guests an unprecedented dining experience.

A sampling from the menu includes: Omelette, served with a side of Scotch Whiskey Smoked Salmon or Prosciutto & Atwell’s Gold Cheese; Ceufs en Meurette, a classic Burgundian egg dish comprised of two poached eggs topped with a sauce made with copious amounts of red wine, bacon, shallots and mushrooms, then harmonized with a touch of butter and served on top of toasted country bread; Brioche Paine Perdu, with apple-cranberry compote; Jamestown Fish Soup, a spicy soup made with the daily catch, tomato, saffron, fennel hot pepper and a gruyère frico and; Cod “Acqua Pazza,” local Cod poached in a “crazy water” of white wine, hot pepper, garlic, parsley and a touch of tomato and served with potatoes and spinach.
(view the entire menu)

Join us in our sunny dining room from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. each Sunday through May. A dinner menu is offered from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Demand for CT, RI, & MA Coastal Wines Peaks with Record Attendance

Tasting Deal for 10th Anniversary of Coastal Wine Trail

Newport Vineyards in Fall, photo by Marianne Lee Photography

Newport Vineyards in Fall, photo by Marianne Lee Photography

Look out, Napa! Wineries in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts are seeing record demand for their whites, reds, and sparkling beverages. The Coastal Wine Trail, a nonprofit group of 14 wineries that weave through the heart of Southeastern New England, has quietly built a reputation for serving nationally recognized wines in unique tasting rooms that offer a deep connection to the roots of each bottle. Tourists and locals alike are taking notice, making the Coastal Wine Trail a top destination in New England.

The secret’s out. Tickets for the Coastal Wine Trail’s annual Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Festival sold out two months before the event, even after expanding the event to allow 600 hundred additional guests. Even wineries are taking notice. In the past year, five new wineries have joined the Coastal Wine Trail, skyrocketing foot traffic to the wineries.

“There is a new energy on the trail,” said Maggie Harnett, Director of the Coastal Wine Trail, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with special tasting deals. “There is a growing awareness that wines made in Southeastern New England are truly exceptional and can compete on a national level.”

Member wineries have amassed an impressive collection of international and national awards, including a Gold Medal in the 2016 Indy International Wine Competition, a Silver Medal in the 2015 Amenti Del Vino 22nd Annual International Wine Competition, and second place in the Dry White Wine category from the Connecticut Specialty Food Association. Saltwater Farm Vineyard was named one of the Top 50 Romantic Wedding Venues in the U.S. by Brides Magazine.

The secret to the Coastal Wine Trail’s success? An unusually tight-knit community of winemakers who are dedicated to creating more than great wines. These winemakers, including a former dentist, snowboarding instructor, and engineer among them, want to convert every visitor into wine lovers, as they were once converted. Call them wine missionaries, because to join the Coastal Wine Trail, you must have a tasting room to connect with visitors.

Close proximity to each other also means travelers can tour the entire Wine Trail in two to three days, all the while sticking close to New England’s scenic coastline. The heart of the Coastal Wine Trail is less than 3 hours from New York City and 90 minutes from Boston.

To celebrate the Coastal Wine Trail’s 10th anniversary, member vineyards are offering a barrel of a deal for just a few more weeks: 67% off a Vintner’s Tasting Ticket that includes wine tastings for two at each of the 14 member wineries. Bottle yours today for just $99. Vintner’s Tasting Tickets can be purchased on the Coastal Wine Trail website:

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