News Bites: Mystic Aquarium and Grey Sail Beer / Healthy Foods, Healthy Families Anniversary / Anna’s Kitchen Shrubs Wins More Awards

by David Dadekian

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

Mystic Aquarium and Grey Sail Brewing Team Up for Gray Seal Ale

New Blond Ale Named for Rescued & Released “Lou-Seal”

Gray Seal Ale

In celebration of the start of summer, Mystic Aquarium, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and one of the nation’s leading aquariums, is pleased to announce a partnership with Westerly’s Grey Sail Brewing to launch “Gray Seal Ale”.  The blond ale pays homage to Lou-Seal, an adult gray seal who stranded in Bermuda and was transferred to Mystic Aquarium for rehabilitative care before being released on May 30th.

The label, designed by Kyle Reichman of Newport, RI-based 6 Square Design and Communications, depicts a beautiful gray seal swimming among other creatures under the sea and includes messaging about Mystic Aquarium’s longstanding animal rescue program.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with such a wonderful local business to help raise awareness of our mission,” said Roslyn Gilhuly, SVP of External Relations at Mystic Aquarium.  “This partnership has given us a unique – and delicious – way to honor not only Lou-Seal, but the more than 500 marine animals we have rescued, rehabilitated, and released back into their ocean environment.”

The blond ale made its debut at the Aquarium’s Young Professionals Networking Night on June 20th and will be available for purchase throughout the summer at all Mystic Aquarium events catered by Ocean Blue Catering as well as at the Aquarium’s Penguins Café.  

Healthy Foods, Healthy Families Celebrates Ten Years

July Kicks Off Farm Fresh RI’s Nutrition Education Workshops at Farmers Markets 

You may have heard about Farm Fresh RI because of its farmers markets, its wholesale service for local farms, or its new food hub development project in the Valley neighborhood of Providence. Both fueling and complimenting these initiatives is a focus on community access and education — which have been at the heart of the nonprofit’s mission of growing the local food system since its founding in 2004, by a Brown University undergraduate student. 

Today, Farm Fresh RI continues providing information on local farms, agriculture, and nutrition to a broad range of community members across the state — in schools, libraries, daycares, senior centers and senior housing. Its nutrition education programs are hands-on, interactive, and work to provide participants with the information needed to make smart choices about food. Programs also seek to share cultural traditions around food and celebrate the diverse culinary heritage of Rhode Island.

One such program is Healthy Foods, Healthy Families — offering interactive food and nutrition workshops at summer farmers markets in July and August for families with children receiving federal food assistance — WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Provided in English and Spanish, the curriculum empowers parents and children with the tools to shop for affordable, seasonal foods and prepare them in healthy, kid-friendly ways. For each week of participation, families receive free samples, games, recipes, financial incentives, and other bonuses — including Farm Fresh RI’s dollar-for-dollar match in Bonus Bucks available to all SNAP users at most farmers markets across Rhode Island. 

Free Program, Easy Sign-Up
Families that receive WIC or SNAP and have at least one child age 12 or younger can enroll for free in the 2019 session of Healthy Foods, Healthy Families starting July 1, 2019. This year we will be unveiling new lessons, new activities, and new recipes all season! Just visit any of the following farmers markets for more information and to sign up.

Armory Market
85 Parade St, Providence
Thursdays, 3:30-7:00pm

Broad Street Market
807 Broad St, Providence
Saturdays, 8:00am-12:00pm

Central Falls Market
559 Dexter St, Central Falls
Wednesdays, 3:00-6:30pm

Neutaconkanut Market
675 Plainfield St, Providence
Mondays, 3:00-6:00pm

Slater Park Market
375 Newport Ave, Pawtucket
New location inside park: by Len’s Snack Stand
Wednesdays,  3:00-6:00pm

Woonsocket Market
Thundermist Health Center
250 Clinton St, Woonsocket
Tuesdays, 3:00-6:00pm

Note: While these farmers markets remain open weekly through the end of October, the Healthy Foods, Healthy Families program will run through August 29, 2019.

Birthday Celebration for All Families — August 12–16, 2019
Recognizing gaps in food literacy and lack of comfortability cooking locally grown produce by members of the RI community, Farm Fresh RI first tested the concept of farmers market-based nutrition education at just the Armory Market back in 2008. With the quick success of the program’s pilot season, it was expanded the following year to additional farmers markets run by Farm Fresh RI — and Healthy Foods, Healthy Families was born. 

In honor of officially turning 10 this summer, Farm Fresh RI invites all families (whether you’ve participated in the program before or not) to free birthday party festivities like balloons, fun kids activities, and special treats at all of the above-listed farmers markets during the week of August 12th. No tickets needed, just come to the Healthy Foods, Healthy Families table at the market!

Support by Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI and the Andrade-Faxon Charities for Children
Earlier this year, Farm Fresh RI received a 2019 BlueAngel Community Health Grant (BACHG) from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI). The $22,000 grant will provide parents and children with resources to shop for and prepare healthy meals through the Healthy Foods, Healthy Families program.

“Our support for organizations like Farm Fresh Rhode Island enables them to continue effectively addressing social and environmental factors that lead to overweight and obesity — particularly for low-income families in our state,” said Kim Keck, president and CEO of BCBSRI.

Onelissa Martinez, former Nutrition Education Manager at Farm Fresh RI added, “Thanks to this BlueAngel Community Health Grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI, we will be able to empower more Rhode Island families with the information and tools to make healthy choices and invest in their health and communities.”  

Program Methods and Outcomes
Healthy Foods, Healthy Families is a fruit and vegetable exposure/incentive program implemented at farmers markets in low-income neighborhoods, targeting families receiving US federal food assistance. Participants post-intervention reported significantly higher vegetable consumption and lower soda consumption. For more information on methods and outcomes, refer to the following study, which examined program effects on participants’ diet and associations between attendance, demographics, and dietary change.

“Healthy Foods, Healthy Families: combining incentives and exposure interventions at urban farmers markets to improve nutrition among recipients of US federal food assistance;” by April B. Bowling, Mikayla Moretti, Kayla Ringelheim, Alvin Tran, and Kirsten Davison;

Anna’s Kitchen Shrubs For The Win

Rhode Island maker brings home big titles for the beverage industry

SIP Awards

Rhode Island’s only shrub maker, Anna Scott, is making waves internationally. In just the last few months Anna’s Kitchen Shrub has received several industry awards from Food & Beverage Magazine, the International SIP Awards and the PR%F Awards.

In March, the shrub maker won Food & Beverage Magazine’s “Best In Show” at the Nightclub and Bar Show, an event known for being a huge influencer for professionals in the bar, nightlife and hospitality industries. As one of the magazine’s favorite emerging brands, a four-page spread in the June issue boasts Anna’s Kitchen Shrub as “new, unique and just plain great.”

This June, among over 1,000 competitors, the brand attended the International Spirits Competition and won SIP Awards in seven different categories including taste, design and innovation. This internationally acclaimed consumer-driven blind taste-testing event is widely recognized in the spirits industry and known as the preeminent path for brands to reach their target consumers.

Just last week, Scott received news that all five flavors placed at the PR%F Awards as well. More than 30 spirit industry leaders and upwards of 500 spirits brands participated in the PR%F Awards during a two-day blind-tasting point-rating competition. With only five Century Medals being granted, Scott earned two of them with perfect scores. On top of that, Scott received two Gold Medals and one Silver Medal. Earning more than ten awards within the past several months, Anna’s Kitchen Shrub is making everything old, new again.

Anna’s Kitchen Shrub launched out of Rhode Island’s Hope & Main food business incubator program in the spring of 2018. Scott’s take on this historic vinegar-based drink is fresh, healthy and appeals to cocktail enthusiasts and the sober-curious alike. Each flavor is 100% organic and is made with raw apple cider vinegar with the Mother, unlike many, if not all, competitor brands. In less than two years, Scott has carved out a substantial space in the cocktails and beverage realm, making certain that “shrub” becomes a familiar term again. 

Anna’s Kitchen Shrub is made in Rhode Island. Available online as well as over 60 Northeast gourmet retailers, liquor stores, restaurants and bars. Visit for more information.

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