Three Rhode Island Food Businesses Earn National Awards
The Backyard Food Company, Chi Kitchen and Narragansett Creamery all earned national recognition for their food brands and products.
Three all-star Rhode Island food brands recently earned national nods. The Backyard Food Company, Chi Kitchen and Narragansett Creamery each took home separate awards in recognition of the quality and flavor of their products. How lucky are we to have these three locally made food brands right in our backyard? The Backyard Food Company and Chi Kitchen both started at Hope and Main in Warren and then branched out and expanded on their own and continue to grow in a national market. And Narragansett Creamery is based in Providence, and uses dairy from local area farms to make its artisanal cheeses and yogurts.
The Backyard Food Company was named a Whole Foods Market 2021 Supplier of the Year for the North Atlantic market. Whole Foods only selected thirty businesses across the United States, United Kingdom and Canada to earn this distinction. The North Atlantic region includes Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Hartford, Connecticut, and the winners were chosen across all departments and product categories. Each of Whole Foods Market’s eleven regions award their own Supplier of the Year.
“It feels like yesterday that we were sitting in the parking lot on North Main getting ready to meet the grocery team for the first time!” says Backyard Food Company co-founder Matthew McClelland. “We are extremely grateful for the opportunity that Whole Foods Market has provided to show that a local startup like the Backyard Food Company belongs on the shelf with the big name brands.”
Adds co-founder Louby Sukkar, “We worked very hard to exceed expectations and stay ahead of demand in 2021 with so many disruptions in the supply chain.”
The Backyard Food Company is also releasing a new line of fruit-infused barbecue sauces just in time for summer. The varieties include Original Sweet and Tangy, Honey, Peach, Raspberry, Blueberry and Apple.
Meanwhile, Chi Kitchen’s Fermented Sesame Slaw won the GOLD Award in the pickles and olives category at the Specialty Food Association’s (SFA) 2022 sofi Awards. The made-in-Pawtucket product was selected in this category by a panel of specialty food experts from nearly 2,000 entries across fifty-three categories.
Products are judged on taste, including flavor, appearance, texture and aroma, ingredient quality and innovation. All tastings were anonymous and held at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center in Bridgeton, New Jersey.
“We are honored that our Fermented Sesame Slaw has won a Gold Award,” says Minnie Luong, founder and CHI-EO of CHI Kitchen. “To know that our product stands out from the crowd in a blind tasting gives us the confidence to continue innovating and growing in our category with our naturally probiotic-packed, gut healthy fermented vegetables. This is one of the ultimate stamps of approval and we’re very grateful and excited for all the winners.”
Fermented Sesame Slaw can be found at Whole Foods North Atlantic, independent retail stores and food service establishments all throughout New England and online at chikitchen.com. Chi Kitchen also creates handcrafted fermented original kimchi and vegan kimchi, as well as kimchi pickles.
Narragansett Creamery’s Low-Fat Coffee Yogurt took home a first place Gold Medal at the World Championship Cheese Contest held in March in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association organizes the contest that this year evaluated 2,978 entries from twenty-nine countries. The Providence-based creamery also earned a third place Bronze Medal for its handmade burrata that is created from stracciatella, made from pulled mozzarella curds (stracciare – to tear apart) mixed with heavy cream and a trace of salt.
“We are honored to win these awards in the yogurt and burrata categories and to be included with such an outstanding group of dedicated and creative cheesemakers,” says Mark Federico, owner and co-founder of Narragansett Creamery.