The Local Food Cafe & Corner Store That's Literally Changing Lives In The OS

Who handed you your coffee this morning? Where did the eggs in your omelette come from? Do you know how that applesauce in your kid’s lunch was made? What about the sandwich you picked up for lunch? The more important question is do you care?

You should and here’s why: many business are skewed towards hiring with a stigma. That often leaves untapped talent on the table. I worked in the restaurant and service industry for more than a decade and I know which resumes end up in which pile. Companies are rarely willing to take a chance on an individual who might not have the right credentials. But they were most likely never given the opportunity to add those bullet points to their resume to begin with. One organization in Rhode Island is working to change that.

Since 2010 Farm Fresh RI's Harvest Kitchen Project has been a place where the youth transform the harvest and the harvest transforms them. They take at risk youth on probation or aging out of foster care and give them an opportunity that not everyone gets. Over 20 weeks, the youth in the program are mentored and shown how to deal with the trials that adult life throws at all of us. Life skills that no one bothered to offer them before now. After the training wraps up, opportunities open up for many, connecting them with like-minded chefs or being brought on as employees of Harvest Kitchen itself either at the farmer’s markets or at their new location on 2 Bayley Street in Pawtucket.

Helping the youth of Rhode Island isn’t the only second chance Farm Fresh is giving out here. They are also reducing food waste from local farms by purchasing their overproduction or bruised products. After taking those secondary pieces of fruits or veggies, the youth of Harvest Kitchen turn the otherwise discarded produce into applesauce, stewed tomatoes, bread and butter pickled squash, peach slices, and more. After that, they’re sent to farmer’s markets, wholesale for restaurants, or sold in bulk to schools and hospitals.

In addition to increasing the number of youths they are able to bring on as employees, they are also looking to increase their grocery selection at the 2 Bayley Street location. For those who don’t make it to this historic area of Pawtucket much, it is in desperate need of a place like this. Just down the street from The Guild, this location gives residents a much needed, and much healthier, option for their shopping. Currently you can find a variety of RI produce, milk, and from scratch prepared foods. Not only that, they also carry local honey, grain and flour from Maine, New Harvest Coffee Roasters, Providence Bagels, Narragansett Creamery, and hot soups always on tap. So if you can’t make it to your local farmer’s market, this is the place to go to!

You can find cooking demos every friday from 11AM to 1PM and other events which you find through their social media, @HarvestKitchenRI. Meanwhile regular business hours at the Bayley street location are Monday through Friday, 7AM to 5PM and Saturday from 9AM to 3PM.

For more information make sure to check out their website at http://www.farmfreshri.org/about/harvestkitchen.php

Thanks for reading!

+      Colin Carlton

 

About Colin 

Colin is a local author and freelance writer.

For more from him, please check out:

www.colincarlton.com

@colincarlton on Twitter + Instagram

@colincarltonofficial on Facebook

 

 

Searching For Little Italy: 4 Spots You Must See, According To This RI Native

Just like in my native Rhode Island, you can pretty much find amazing Italian food on any street in NYC. I love exploring the city’s different neighborhoods for the best food, and my quest today is to feel like I am back in Italy – indulging in pasta, espresso, gelato and much more. Tourists and printed guides will tell you to go to the Village for authentic Italian cuisine (think Mulberry Street), but most New Yorkers agree that the real Little Italy is in the Bronx. You can call it the Belmont section or the Arthur Ave neighborhood of the Bronx, either way, it’s the real deal.  

First stop, the Arthur Ave Retail Market.

The Arthur Avenue Market is a covered Italian bazaar that offers delis, cafes, bakeries, butcher shops, florists, grocery stores, and a t-shirt shop (Yes, they have a shirt that says, “It's gravy not sauce."). This is a great spot to look around and soak in the ambience. 

Next, you should head to Mike’s Deli, the original Arthur Avenue Italian Deli.  

Mike’s Deli offers delicious homemade mozzarella, dried meats, prosciutto, olives, soup, salads, and sandwiches. I ordered the famous Arthur Avenue Style Antipasto - a combination of cheeses, olives, dry sausages, and prosciutto served on warm bread. It perfectly satisfied me, but the guys sitting next to me ordered the Yankee Stadium Big Boy – a sandwich filled with mortadella, ham, capicola, and mozzarella, so naturally, I had to sample that too. It’s family style seating, so you don’t sit alone, you sit at a large table and enjoy the company of all the other people around you. This makes it easier to share!

Next, head down to Full Moon Pizza for real NYC style pizza. The crust alone will bring tears to your eyes, and will make you realize why New York has the best pizza. I tried both the chicken parmigiana and the thin sliced margarita. 

Last but not least, you’ve got to take home supper, right? My final food tour stop was Borgatti’s Ravioli. It’s all homemade on site and filled with almost anything you could imagine. I chose a couple dozen pumpkin and ricotta cheese to bring back home with me. I boiled them up and covered them with a brown butter sage sauce. It was a delicious fall-inspired dinner, and the perfect ending to just another day off for me.  

Let me know your favorite Arthur Avenue spots, which ones I should try next time!

Lori Gizz

 

More About Lori

Lori is a visual artist, cook, and food stylist. She is a native of Rhode Island who now lives in NYC and who also travels the world in search of food adventure. She recently launched her website www.thegizzcooks.comsharing her healthy, clean and easy recipes and cooking with real ingredients, the  way her grandmother always did. Follow Lori on Instagram @gizznyc for inspiration and creative food ideas.

 

**The original version of this post appeared on the site in Fall 2016.**

The Scaredy Cat's Guide To This Spooky RI Spot

Wanna hear something scary? I'm a teeth grinder. Have been on and off since elementary. And the other morning, as the drill, an integral part of the early am repair job being done on one of my front canines, was whirring away, I was thinking about what exactly I should say about the low key DIY ghost (not to be confused with ghosting) tour we had worked on over the weekend. Of course, it included Chestnut Hill Cemetery in Exeter and the grave site of the infamous Mercy L. Brown, usually billed as "New England's last vampire".

Only she wasn't. And that's what was (is) bugging me.

I mean, based on what I've read about what happened back in 1892, she wasn't a vampire at all. Arthur Miller didn't write a play or anything, but the unfolding of events is def reminiscent of the Salem Witch histeria of 1692-1693.

Here's the dealio (the Cliff's Notes version anyway...do they still publish those?):

After dying at 19 from TB, that also killed her sister & her mom (and would later take her brother), Mercy's body was exhumed. Mostly because ppl, including her father, were swept up in a wave of vampire mania (brought on by the TB epidemic and the deaths resulting, and so intense it apparently caused RI to become known as "The Transylvania of North America" around that time. Ummm, excuse me but WTF!?!) and believed she was the cause of her brother's subsequent decline. Y'ok.

Precisely why 'they' took her heart (Her heart being in such good condition postmortem was interpreted as further evidence of her being a vampire. No formal training as a coroner here, but since she died during winter, and her body was believed to have been stored above ground in a vault-like crypt on the premises until the weather thawed enough to allow for digging a proper grave in the Brown family plot, her remains hadn't decomposed as rapidly as a body buried underground would have.) and crushed it into a powder for her brother to ingest to help him fight the Tuberculosis. He still died tho. Yeah, THAT all sounds pretty vampire-ish to me. You? 

So, not buying into the vampire folk tales about Mercy. That doesn't mean I'd ever visit that grave (or any for that matter) at night. Especially so close to 10-31. I mean, have we learned nothing from Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story on FX? (Season 1 is the only one I've really been able to get thru at all, if skipping scenes and skimming episodes counts.) Or the Treehouse of Horror episodes of the Simpsons? Read something else about how her coffin is now protected by a special steel bars to prevent anyone from trying to snatch the body. Now, if that's NOT something out of a treatment for a future season of AHS, I don't know what the hell is.

Me personally, I'd much rather sit home and binge on the surplus stock of classic (Kit Kats, Reese's, and Hershey's Milk Choolate, without almonds, forever dammit!) Halloween candy, while catching up on the new season of "You Must Remember This" podcast, spotlighting Hollywood's #1 vampire Dracula (Bela Lugosi), and Frankenstein (Boris Karloff). Bye.

 

*Additional information regarding Mercy L. Brown (specifically RI being nicknamed 'The Transylvania of No America') courtesy of findagrave.com.

Photo Credits: Photos above courtesy of PattyJ.com