PROVIDENCE – As part of her continued efforts to support growth of the local food economy and in honor of Rhode Island's fishing heritage, Governor Gina M. Raimondo today declared March 21 – 27, 2016 Quahog Week in Rhode Island. Raimondo and First Gentleman Andy Moffit joined state and food-industry leaders at a special celebration to mark the quahog fishery's importance to the state's history, culture, and economy and to encourage its year-round use.
"I have such fond childhood memories of watching the fishing boats come in at the Port of Galilee," said Raimondo. "These are memories I share in common with many Rhode Islanders. We love our seafood, and as a state, Narragansett Bay is an integral part of our social and economic fabric. It drives our tourism industry, inspires quality of life, supports working families, and promotes growth of our green economy. Quahog Week is an opportunity to celebrate the many riches of the Bay and one of our favorite local clams. And it is equally an opportunity for Rhode Islanders to indulge in our state's thriving local food scene and support our restaurants, fishermen, and many food-based businesses."
Increasingly, Rhode Island's local food sector is cited as an area of economic strength ripe for innovation; local seafood is poised to spur the next wave of food-based economic growth. Last year, nearly 100 million pounds of seafood arrived to a Rhode Island port – with an ex-vessel value over $75 million. And more than 27 million quahogs were harvested from Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island coastal waters. Quahogs have long been a local favorite, with dishes from stuffies to chowder making popular summer fare, and quahogging continues to be a beloved pastime and family tradition.
"To most people they're clams, but to us they're quahogs. We take great pride in our seafood and summers, and quahogs are a big part of that. Clamcakes, chowder, stuffies, and raw. Rhode Island wouldn't be Rhode Island without them. I commend the Governor and First Gentlemen -- along with our shellfish, environmental, and culinary communities -- for bringing vision, energy, and momentum to this effort. Ultimately, this is about bringing people together, whether it's clamming themselves or enjoying fresh, local quahogs deliciously prepared at one of these participating restaurants. I hope this becomes a new, tasty tradition for families to enjoy," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee, who, over the years has netted over $3.6 million in federal funding to hatch and support the Rhode Island Aquaculture Initiative and has also delivered federal funds to help Rhode Island fishermen strengthen marketing efforts.
"There is tremendous energy and excitement right now in local Rhode Island food, which is among the best in the world" said First Gentleman Andy Moffit. "By working together to foster innovation and growth in local food, we can strengthen our economy and address the public health and food security issues that plague many communities. Having access to healthy, locally sourced food is critical for all Rhode Islanders; the vibrancy of our local waters and commercial fisheries are important parts of the equation."
Throughout Quahog Week, 16 restaurants across the state - from Westerly to Newport to Providence - will offer special menu selections that feature the native Rhode Island clam. Dishes range from traditional preparations to the adventurous. Several events are also planned for the week, including a book talk with Sarah Schumann, author of Rhode Island's Shellfish Heritage, cooking classes featuring local seafood, and a wrap party on Easter night.
"Whether we're dining waterside in one of our coastal communities or in the heart of our capital, fresh, local seafood is a popular feature on the menu," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "It is part of our identity as a state, and nothing is more Rhode Island than the quahog. I hope people come out for Quahog Week to enjoy the many amazing dishes being offered by our partner restaurants – from a crispy quahog fritter to a refreshing top-neck ceviche. And I encourage everyone to try something new. We are fortunate in Rhode Island to have an abundant, diverse seafood industry and excellent eateries. Let's get out there and enjoy them!"
Basta - Cranston Birch - Providence Castle Hill Inn - Newport DiMare Seafood Market & Bistro - East Greenwich Ella's Fine Food & Drink - Westerly Fluke - Newport George's of Galilee - Pt Judith Hemenway's - Providence Matunuck Oyster Bar - South Kingstown The Mooring - Newport Oberlin - Providence Providence Oyster Bar - Providence Rosmarin - Providence Tarragon - Providence 22 Bowen's - Newport Vinya Tapas - Providence
School of Fish Cooking Classes Hope & Main - Warren Monday, March 21, 6-8PM More Information
Discussion: The Past, Present and Future of Rhode Island's Quahog Industry Aldrich House – Providence Wednesday, March 23, 5:30-7:30PM More Information
Quahog Week 'Ender Party Tarragon Bar – Providence Sunday, March 27, 6-8PM More Information
Quahog Week partners include Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), Discover Newport, Narragansett Bay Lobsters, Rhode Island Shellfishermen's Association, Edible Rhody, Save The Bay, Ocean State Oyster Festival, Rhode Island Sea Grant, University of Rhode Island Coastal Resource Center, University of Rhode Island Coastal Institute, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, and the Narragansett Indian Tribe.
For more information about Quahog Week, visit www.seafoodri.com or like the Quahog Week page on Facebook. Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #QuahogWeek – and on Facebook by tagging the Quahog Week page; share recipes, quahogging stories, and/or favorite restaurants and quahog dishes.
About RI Seafood The RI Seafood brand, developed by DEM and the Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative, was created to uniquely identify Rhode Island seafood in the marketplace and support local fishermen and distributors in growing their businesses and participating in the state's growing food and tourism economy; Rhode Island's food system supports more than 60,000 jobs. There are more than 20 licensed RI Seafood dealers, and the brand has been featured as part of popular local events, including Newport Restaurant Week, the Ocean State Oyster Festival, and the Narragansett Calamari Cook-Off. RI Seafood guarantees your seafood was landed right here in the Ocean State; ask for it where you dine or shop! For more information, visit www.seafoodri.com.