News Bites: The Industrious Spirit Company Releases Gemma / Rhody Feeding Rhody Alliance Launches / Castle Hill Inn New Private Adirondack Experience

by David Dadekian

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

The Industrious Spirit Company Celebrates the Summer Solstice with the release of their latest creation, Gemma Crystal Vodka, a low-ABV spirit distilled through local quartz!

Gemma Crystal Vodka

Today, The Industrious Spirit Company (ISCO) announced that in honor of the Summer Solstice on June 21 they will release their newest spirit, Gemma Crystal Vodka. Gemma joins ISCO’s existing family of hand-crafted, innovative products including Structural Vodka, Ornamental Gin, Patina Barrel Aged Gin and Ostreida (the World’s first Oyster Vodka), as well as their Blue Velvet Blue Corn Bourbon (the first of many aged products to come). 

“We are so excited to have the opportunity to release Gemma” said Dan Neff, Distiller at ISCO. “All of our products are inspired by a unique sense of place and a desire to create something special, category-defining and unique.” Distiller Eric Olson added “This particular spirit really does have its own aura about it. We set out to create a lower-ABV vodka that was rooted in the geological aspects of our specific terroir, so the idea of making a superiorly smooth, easy-drinking spirit using local, New-England-mined quartz just made perfect sense.”

Gemma Crystal Vodka begins as a rich, organic handmade spirit, which is further refined by distilling it with full-moon charged, locally-sourced quartz crystals. This silicon-dioxide-rich stone is known for its ability to absorb, store, and regulate the release of energy—bringing balance to the spirit’s light, smooth character. ISCO scoured Rhode Island for the most perfect, locally-mined quartz. Using the quartz like a botanical element, ISCO developed a special distilling process to increase the purity of the alcohol in the still and finally proofed Gemma down to the Atomic Weight of Quartz, 60.0183—which also happens to be a delightfully nice proof for a lower alcohol vodka!

The new “Rhody Feeding Rhody Alliance” is empowering food producers and food access providers to take care of local needs first

All concerned Rhode Islanders invited!

Rhody Feeding Rhody Alliance

A new USDA-funded project that improves food security and supports the local food economy is calling for Alliance Members. The Rhody Feeding Rhody Alliance, led in partnership by the Commercial Fisheries Center of RI, Eating with the Ecosystem, Farm Fresh RI,  Southside Community Land Trust, and the Rhode Island Food Policy Council, is working to build sustainable market channels between local farmers, fishers and food manufacturers and Rhode Island’s emergency food providers in order to make sure all residents of the Ocean State have access to fresh, local, culturally-relevant food. 

The goal of the Rhody Feeding Rhody Alliance (RFRA) is to create a larger, more reliable wholesale market for local producers and harvesters while also increasing access to fresh, healthy, culturally-relevant food for local food insecure families.  Membership to the Alliance is open to farmers, fishers, food manufacturers, and emergency food access providers. All concerned citizens are invited to sign up to stay informed. Farmer and fisher members will be connected with opportunities to SELL their food. Food access providers will be connected with opportunities to BUY local food. All members will be invited to attend quarterly meetings to hear updates and stories from the people and organizations doing this work in the field.  

The RFRA is launching with funding through a three year grant from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Local Food Promotion Program. The core (funded) partners are Farm Fresh RI, Commercial Fisheries of RI, and Southside Community Land Trust. The initial pilot through which we developed the program and partnerships was funded through an LFPP planning grant: This grant was strongly supported by all members of the state’s Federal Congressional delegation. Additional funding has been provided by Rhode Island Foundation, Angell Foundation, Henry P. Kendall Foundation, and Island Foundation. The Council will measure and evaluate the project’s impacts, and use the findings to improve program operations and advocate for sustainable funding. 

To learn more about Rhody Feeding Rhody and to join the Alliance, visit


Rhody Feeding Rhody Alliance

“Since the onset of the pandemic, Rhode Island farmers and fishers have become more invested than ever in ensuring food security for their food insecure neighbors.” According to Nessa Richman, Network Director of the RI Food Policy Council, “We’re excited to see the Rhody Feeding Rhody Alliance grow this market, increasing the viability of our farm and seafood businesses while putting fresh, healthy local food on tables across the state.” Richman noted “We need all interested farmers, fishers and seafood processors, local food manufacturers, and emergency food providers to join, so the Alliance can start off strong and achieve sustainability.”

“DEM is thrilled to support the Rhody Feeding Rhody Alliance (RFRA) and see how the work of its partners and members will bolster Rhode Island’s food security and supply chain resiliency,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “Local farmers and fishers drive the Rhode Island food system, and the RFRA will expand their ability to provide local and fresh food to our communities. Food security is impacted by events in our backyard and around the world – building connections across the emergency food system is at the heart of DEM’s efforts to support a more locally based and resilient food system”

Eva Agudelo, Hope’s Harvest Program Director at Farm Fresh RI says, “Farm Fresh is glad to partner with organizations across the state to bring more market opportunities to local food producers and increase access to healthy food for all Rhode Islanders. Connecting and coordinating our efforts will make these new relationships stronger, more efficient, and better able to meet the needs of our communities.”

Fred Mattera, president of the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation, adds “For decades, fishermen have supported the South County Community by having Seafood Dinners and special events to support students, the elderly, and families that have lost family members at sea. When I approached fishermen with the idea of feeding families in need, there was no hesitation.” As the program has proceeded, more fishermen have stepped up with wanting to provide their seafood bounty to feed more of the RI Community.  Local Seafood – Feeding our Local Communities! This is the essence of Rhody Feeding Rhody Alliance, providing and expanding the opportunity of Seafood throughout the RI Community.” 

“Our local waters produce a huge diversity and abundance of delicious, healthy, local seafood that all who live here should be able to enjoy. Seafood is such an important part of our food culture for so many of us living in Rhode Island. At Eating with the Ecosystem we are excited to be a part of a program that is helping to provide access to local seafood for those who may not have had it and connect more people with our incredible fishing communities, ecosystems, and seafood!” Kate Masury, Executive Director of Eating with the Ecosystem. 

According to Margaret DeVos, Executive Director at Southside Community Land Trust, “when people have control over the assets of the food system they make sure that others in their communities get fresh, healthy and affordable food. This happens day after day at SCLT gardens and farms and it will happen even more often through the work of the Rhody Feeding Rhody Alliance.”

New Private Adirondack Experience Launches on The Lawn at Castle Hill Inn

Private gathering spaces on Castle Hill Inn’s front lawn with Adirondack furniture & cocktail service for up to 12 guests now available; New dining menu now offered at The Lawn restaurant

This summer, for the first time, Castle Hill Inn, the iconic Relais & Châteaux property on Newport’s Ocean Drive, is offering a new “Private Adirondack Experience” on The Lawn at Castle Hill. Now available for reservations, this new experience is being offered in addition to the traditional first-come, first-served Adirondack chairs available to guests and the public to enjoy. 

Designed for groups of up to 12 people, the experience offers guests the opportunity to reserve a private gathering space on Castle Hill Inn’s storied front lawn, complete with Adirondack furniture and cocktail service.  The private spaces can be booked for parties of up to 12 guests for 2.5 hours.

The Private Adirondack Experience is being offered daily during the summer months, with three seatings per day at 12pm, 3pm and 6pm. Advance reservations are required, and can be made online through the Events at Castle Hill Inn OpenTable page. Guests who book the experience have the choice to pre-order food and beverage selections from the “add-on” menu when making their reservation, which is highly recommended. Champagnes and wines by the bottle, local beers, lobster rolls, caviar service and other snacks are all offered as part of the Private Adirondack Experience. 

“The Lawn at Castle Hill Inn is synonymous with summer here in Newport, and we know that our guests and visitors to Newport love to visit us to celebrate special occasions as well as gather with friends and family to enjoy cocktails and views of the sailboats racing by,” said Lou Rossi, Director of Food & Beverage at Castle Hill Inn. “We’ve heard from guests that they would love to be able to make advance reservations for space on our lawn for these types of gatherings, and we hope this helps them plan ahead, while also providing an unforgettable special experience in our beautiful oceanfront setting.”

The cover charge is $25 per person, 7 days a week, plus sales tax and 20% gratuity. The cost of pre-selected food and beverages, along with sales tax and gratuity are additional and collected at the time of booking. Reservations for The Private Adirondack Experience are all outdoors; reservations cancelled due to inclement weather will receive a full refund.

In addition to the new Private Adirondack Experience, Castle Hill Inn has also launched an updated dining menu for The Lawn restaurant. While mainstays including Castle Hill Inn’s fan-favorite lobster roll and “Cornbread’s” clam chowder remain, new menu options include Grilled Twin Lobster Tails with Maine grains polenta and mushrooms, a Dry Aged Strip Steak served with potato gratin and creamed Swiss chard, along with a Whole Roasted Branzino with capers, olives, potatoes and a rock shrimp butter sauce. To see the new dining menu, or to make a reservation for The Lawn restaurant, please visit

For more information on Castle Hill Inn, visit

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