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 this year from May 17 to May 23. The week-long celebration shines a light on Rhode Island's 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. Targeting the spring shoulder season for Quahog Week helps to increase consumer awareness, demand, sales and market opportunities for quahogs during a time of year when the fresh product is readily available, but often overlooked.
"Quahog Week is an opportunity for Rhode Islanders to celebrate the vitality of our local shellfish industry and the many riches of Narragansett Bay," said Governor Dan McKee. "Quahogging has a rich history in the Ocean State and supports the livelihoods of hundreds of Rhode Island fishermen and women year-round, along with local restaurants and food-based businesses. Visiting one of the participating venues during Quahog Week to purchase quahogs to cook at home or enjoy a meal made with delicious, freshly harvested clams is a great way to support Rhode Island restaurants and seafood markets and a chance savor a favorite quahog dish or try something new."
"Quahog Week has become 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. "As we emerge from the pandemic, celebrate spring, and strive to get back to business as usual, the timing for this year's event could not be better. I invite all Rhode Islanders to support our local commercial fishing and seafood industry by enjoying a quahog meal during the week of May 17 – and then making every week quahog week!"
Quahogs are the most economically important fishery resource harvested from Narragansett Bay. Typically, over 20 million quahogs with an off-the-boat value exceeding $5 million are harvested from the bay on an average annual basis. Last year, landings dipped by about 35 percent, due to the pandemic. Landings are expected to bounce back this year, aided by the opening of 1,908 acres of new shell fishing waters in the lower Providence River. Among all of RI's inshore and offshore marine fisheries, quahogs are the state's 5th most valuable, following squid, scallops, lobster, and summer flounder (based on 2019 ex-vessel values).
Although effort dipped a bit in 2020, over 500 licensed commercial fishermen and women are engaged in the RI quahog fishery, with about half engaged 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 to the apprenticeship program administered by the RI Shellfishermen's Association.
The highlight of Quahog Week involves the many clam-tastic opportunities to access and savor fresh RI quahogs. 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.
To date, featured items being offered by participating restaurants include:
- Portuguese Red Clam Chowder at 22 Bowen's in Newport
- Something Delicious at DeWolf Tavern in Bristol
- Casino-style Stuffies at The Beach House in Bristol
- Clam Cakes, Chowder and Stuffed Quahogs at Kountry Clam Shack in Greenville
- Quahog Stuffies at Diego's Middletown
- House-made Stuffies and Linguine and Clams at the Coast Guard House in Narragansett
- Portuguese Clams at George's of Galilee in Narragansett
- White Clam Pizza at Trio in Narragansett
- Black Pearl Rhode Island Quahog Chowder at the Black Pearl in Newport
- Quahog Ceviche at Diego's in Newport
- House-made Spaghetti with Guaciale and Clams at Fluke Newport
- Steamed Littlenecks at Jo's American Bistro in Newport
- Stuffies at The Mooring in Newport
- Quahog Hush Puppies at Wharf Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar in Newport
- 15 Point Road Stuffies with Garlic Butter and Signature Stuffing at 15 Point Road Restaurant Waterfront Dining in Portsmouth
- Gulf Stream Stuffies at Gulf Stream Bar & Grille in Portsmouth
- Quahog Tamales and Mexican Quahog Dip at Diego's Eastside in Providence
- Quahog Fritter at Hemenway's in Providence
- Something Delicious at Matunuck Oyster Bar in South Kingstown
- Stuffed Quahogs at TwoTen Oyster Bar and Grille in South Kingstown
- Clam Dip with House-made Chips at The Boat House in Tiverton
- Quahog and Roasted Corn Bisque at Iron Works in Warwick
- Roasted Corn and Quahog Chowder at The Andrea in Westerly
To date, participating markets offering quahog specials include:
- American Mussel Harvesters in North Kingstown
- Andrade's Catch in Bristol
- Daily Catch Seafood in Smithfield
- Dave's Marketplace at locations throughout RI
- Digger's Catch Seafood in East Providence
- Fearless Fish Market in Providence
- Tony's Seafood in Seekonk, MA
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.
Participants in Quahog Week – consumers and retailers alike -- are encouraged to share their experiences via social media posts: @RISeafoodRocks on Facebook and #QuahogWeek on Twitter. The "buzz" helps generate interest and the interest helps generate business for our local seafood economy.
Those interested in learning more about Rhode Island quahogs and the fishery can enjoy a wonderful array of video shorts, posted on the Quahog Week page at www.seafoodri.com Also, Rhode Island Sea Grant will ship free copies of the beautiful and informative book, "Rhode Island's Shellfish Heritage," to the first 50 people who request a copy and mention "Quahog Week" in their email request. Requests should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional free copies can be obtained for a modest shipping fee.
To support continued industry growth, the Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative promotes Rhode Island seafood in various ways, including events like Quahog Week.
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.