Newport Restaurant Group has long been committed to building strong communities around fresh, honest food and we are proud of our lasting relationships with the farmers and local growers from throughout Rhode Island, especially those from Aquidneck Island. That’s why we are excited about participating in our third annual Aquidneck Food Challenge held by our friends at Aquidneck Community Table (ACT). The challenge, which runs from September 22-29, consists of eight days of hyper-local eating in celebration of the abundance of the harvest season and the bounty of our special hometown island.

The Challenge asks community members to eat only food grown or raised locally, either on Aquidneck Island or caught in Narragansett Bay, or in Rhode Island and its waters as a whole. The idea is to “up” your local food game, so the rules are not strict – you can participate just by including one food item from the island or the bay in every meal.

The Mooring, Castle Hill Inn and 22 Bowen’s will all be participating and running Aquidneck Food Challenge specials throughout the eight day challenge.  The Mooring will be featuring a pepita crusted Georges Bank sea scallops with Ward’s Berry Farm sugar pumpkin puree, Barden Orchard’s apple relish, brown butter and pomegranate. At Castle Hill, the special menu item comes from the harvest of Confreda Farms: free-form ravioli, roasted corn, zucchini and tomato butter. 22 Bowen’s will feature a Narragansett Creamery gnocchi with delicata squash, baby kale, butternut squash puree, parmesan and toasted pine nuts.  All local and all delicious.

Picture of Chef Jennifer Backman Mooring In support of the event, The Mooring’s Executive Chef Jen Backman will be at the Memorial Boulevard Farmers Market on Wednesday, September 26th from 2pm-6pm where she will be showcasing another hyper-local creation for all the market goers to sample.  She has planned a toasted baguette with a chickpea spread and late summer vegetable caponata along with white anchovy and petite basil. The Farmer’s Market which happens weekly throughout the year is still the classic way for everyone to support their local growers. We are thrilled to see Chef Jen sharing her own locally inspired creations as part of this eight day celebration.

The Challenge is sponsored by our friends at Aquidneck Community Table (ACT) whose mission is to combine civic conversation, local entrepreneurship, institutional partnerships, and digging in the dirt with the principles of an equitable food system for all on Aquidneck Island. We are always grateful for the work they put into to preserving the wonderful and tasty resources of the island and for their efforts towards making the hard work of those thriving off the island’s bounty sustainable and profitable.

Participants of the Challenge are also asked to support Aquidneck Community Table with a $20 registration fee – a small contribution towards the good work they do. Please help if you can.

Here is the schedule of events for the week if you would like to be part of it all:

  • 9/22 Scales and Tales at Aquidneck Growers Market
  • 9/23 Sunday Funday at Stoneacre Brasserie Greenvale Vineyards wine tasting
  • 9/25 Lunch & Learn at Martin Luther King Center
  • 9/26 Local Brews & Bites at Newport Craft Distillery
  • 9/30 ACT Community Garden Open House

Most importantly, get out there and eat local!  We have some tasty offerings that we would love you to try!  Help get the word out too! One thing we have always been proud of is the local restaurant community and how we all challenge each other to deliver the very best. This is an opportunity for you to get a taste of the amazing local flavors and resources we are all so lucky to have in our community.