Local Food Fest Recap

 At last night’s Local Food Fest, it was awe-inspiring to see so many of the chefs, farmers and producers we keep tabs on and frequently cover in the magazine (And food e-newsletter, The Dish. And our Twitter account @TheDishRI.) serve their fantastic food all in one place. And one gorgeous place at that: Castle Hill Inn & Resort’s expertly manicured oceanfront lawn.

The main draw? Generous (think app rather than amuse bouche-sized) samples of dishes highlighting the bounty of local farms created — and in most cases served by — twelve of the area’s most lauded chefs. Castle Hill chef Jonathan Cambra made a gazpacho with tomatoes and cukes from Lydon Family Farm topped with Narragansett Creamery basil yogurt. Local 121 offered smoke short ribs from Blackbird Farm served alongside a wax and green bean salad. Persimmon chef-owner Champe Speidel served Four Town Farm’s plump blueberries, raspberries and peaches with yogurt panna cotta, one of his signature desserts. DeWolf Tavern, the other Bristol restaurant represented, also went for sweet, serving cardamom ice cream with Sweet Berry Farm peach melba. 

Gracie’s Joe Hafner, Derek Wagner of Nicks on Broadway, Terrence Maul of Up River Cafe, Twillia Glover of Little Farm Catering, New Rivers’ Bruce Tillinghast and Chez Pascal’s Matt Gennuso were also among those hunched over saute pans in the steamy summer heat.

Other participants in this veritable who’s who of the local food scene included Rhody Fresh, which passed out cartons of milk and chewy-soft chocolate chip cookies, Thayer Street staple Blue State Coffee, Narragansett Creamery cheese, artisan bakeries Seven Stars and Olga’s and oyster farmer Perry Raso. And then there was the booze: ice cold brews from Newport Storm, Trinity Brewhouse, Narragansett Beer and crisp whites and roses from Greenvale Vineyards, Sakonnet Vineyards (the winery’s new petite red and petite white were instant favorites) and Langworthy Farm Winery. 

But enough about the food. The best part is proceeds benefit nonprofit Farm Fresh Rhode Island. Through initiatives such as the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers’ Market (recent winner of both Editors’ Pick and Readers’ Poll Rhode Island Monthly Best of Rhode Island Awards) and Market Mobile, which delivers food directly from farms to restaurants, the organization has played a lead role in generating increased interest in and availability of homegrown food. And that sure is something worth raising a glass of (local) vino to.