PROVIDENCE The Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative, chaired by Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Director Janet Coit, announces that the 5th annual Quahog Week returns March 23 to March 29. The week-long celebration shines a light on our favorite local clam, the hard-working men and women who harvest them, and the vibrant local food industry that makes them available to consumers.
Quahogging is a year-round activity in Rhode Island, so the product is available freshly harvested throughout the year. Demand tends to peak during the summer months, when stuffies and clam cakes serve as main attractions for shore-goers and tourists. But delicious and healthy quahogs also make the perfect fare for chowders, pasta dishes, and other scrumptious meals. Targeting the end of March helps to increase consumer awareness, demand, sales, and market opportunities for quahogs during a time of year when fresh clams are readily available, but often overlooked.
"Quahog Week is a Rhode Island tradition, offering many fabulous opportunities to sample delicious, quahog-based dishes at an array of eateries throughout the state. It's also the perfect time for at-home cooks to try their hand with quahog-based recipes," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Our flavorful clams are enjoyed by Rhode Islanders and tourists alike, and are shipped fresh throughout the U.S. I invite Rhode Islanders to visit our partnering restaurants and markets, and stop by at one of the two special events, during Quahog Week and beyond."
As part of the festivities, participating restaurants will feature quahog-inspired specials on their menus, and participating markets will offer deals for those who enjoy cooking their own clam dishes at home. With Quahog Week now in its fifth year, excitement is building, particularly as the number of participating restaurants and markets continues to grow.
Consumers should visit www.seafoodri.com for a full list of participating restaurants and markets and the specials they are offering.
Additional restaurants and markets interested in participating are encouraged to sign up at www.seafoodri.com.
Quahog Week also will feature two special events where harvesters from the RI Shellfishermen's Association will be shucking and serving complimentary little necks and interacting with attendees about their fishery. Partners will provide other complimentary quahog-based samplers and beverages. Both events are free and open to the public.
QUAHOG NIGHT WEST BAY
Where: Whalers Brewing Company 1174 Kingstown Road, South Kingstown
When: Tuesday, March 24 5 8 PM (21+ only after 6 PM)
This free public event will feature complimentary fresh-shucked clams on the half shell, served by the RI quahoggers who harvested them earlier that day; as well as complimentary chowder and stuffies served by Matunuck Oyster Bar and Dave's Marketplace.
QUAHOG NIGHT EAST BAY
WHERE: Hope & Main 691 Main Street, Warren
WHEN: Friday, March 27 5 8 PM
This free public event will feature complimentary fresh-shucked clams on the half shell, served by the RI quahoggers who harvested them earlier that day; complimentary beer samplers from Narragansett Beer; complementary RI-made chowder and bisque from Blount Seafood; Laotian-style stuffed quahogs from Minymeals; and a special offering from Chef Eli Dunn, from Eli's Kitchen, a "Chopped Champion" on the popular Food Network show.
Both events offer fun and interesting opportunities to meet and thank the hard-working men and women who harvest RI quahogs year-round from RI waters and make them available to seafood lovers throughout RI, and across the country. Mingle with friends. Enjoy some delicious food and beverages. Learn about, celebrate, and support our thriving RI seafood industry and local "foodie" culture.
The quahog is the most economically important resource harvested from Narragansett Bay. Last year, over 20 million quahogs were harvested in RI, with an off-the-boat value close to $5.35 million. Among all RI's inshore and offshore marine fisheries, quahogs are RI's fourth-most valuable following scallops, squid, and lobster.
About 550 licensed commercial fishermen and women are engaged in the RI quahog fishery, with about 250 full-time, year-round. More young people are entering the fishery, thanks in part to the availability of Student Shellfish Licenses, which support good summer job opportunities, and the apprenticeships program administered by the RI Shellfishermen's Association.
To support continued industry growth, the Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative promotes Rhode Island seafood in various ways, including events like Quahog Week.
Featured items being offered by participating restaurants include littlenecks, clams casino, and littlenecks with chourico at Matunuck Oyster Bar in South Kingstown; baked stuffed quahog at Providence Oyster Bar in Providence; linguine with clams and clam fritters at Fluke in Newport; pork and clams pasta at Bristol Oyster Bar in Bristol; stuffies, linguine and clams, and clams zuppa at Coast Guard House in Narragansett; linguine with clam sauce, stuffies, and chowder at Sorrento Restaurant in North Providence; Portuguese clams and stuffies at George's of Galilee in Narragansett; and unique versions of stuffed quahogs at Sophia's Tuscan Grille in Warwick; The Beach House in Bristol, Federal Tap House & Kitchen in Providence, La Forge Casino Restaurant, Diego's, Jo's American Bistro, Stoneacre Brasserie, and Wharf South Kitchen & Whiskey Bar in Newport; Tumblesalts Café in North Providence, Diego's Bodega in Middletown, and Thames Waterside Bar & Grille in Bristol. The group of participating restaurants is growing every day.
Participating markets include Dave's Fresh Marketplace, Digger's Catch Seafood, Fearless Fish Market, Gardner's Wharf Seafood, Tony's Seafood, and Twin Shellfish.
For more information about Quahog Week and/or a list of participating restaurants and markets (updated daily), visit www.seafoodri.com or @RISeafoodRocks on Facebook. Also, join the conversation and share photos of your favorite dishes on Twitter using #QuahogWeek.
Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM for more information on boating in Rhode Island as well as other timely updates.