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Posts Tagged ‘oysters’

What a good idea for economic development in Rhode Island! Rhode Island is where Johnson & Wales has been building a strong gastronomic culture for decades. And the school is not alone. You have your oysters and your Point Judith fishing industry, of course — and I’m leaving out nearly everyone.

Yesterday, my husband and I checked out the state’s first food-business incubator, Hope & Main, at a festive event in the nonprofit’s new, permanent location. The story was posted in October on their website.

“Hope & Main today celebrated the opening of its 17,500-square-foot culinary business incubator facility in Warren, Rhode Island. U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, as well as other honored guests including USDA Director of Community Programs Daniel R. Beaudette, Warren Town Council President Christopher W. Stanley, and Founder and President of Hope & Main, Lisa J. Raiola, MPH.

“ ‘Hope & Main is about helping food entrepreneurs get started in a licensed kitchen. …  It’s also a place where people can congregate and collaborate, take a class or develop and test new recipes. I am proud to be part of this effort to support start-up food entrepreneurs and help them launch their own food businesses,’ said Senator Reed. ‘This is a great example of what’s possible when federal, state, and local officials collaborate with the private sector to support innovation. …’

“Housed in the historic Main Street School building, located at 691 Main Street in Warren, the renovation project transformed the 100-year-old structure into a state-of-the-art workspace for the region’s food entrepreneurs. [The] building’s highlights include three code-compliant, shared-use commercial kitchens, including a gluten-free kitchen and artisanal bakery, over 6,000-square-feet of production space, cold and dry storage, and a range of commercial equipment to support small-scale operations for baking, food processing and catering. Designed to facilitate collaboration and community involvement in the local food economy, the rehab also features a demonstration kitchen, co-working and meeting spaces, and a 2,000-square-foot community event space. A weekly market will be located on the grounds to give Hope & Main member companies and other local producers direct access to local consumers. …

“The Hope & Main project is funded in large part by a $2.9 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Community Facilities Loan.” More at MakeFoodYourBusiness.org, here.

My husband and I left with several business cards and goodies, including a a tomato jam with a great slogan: “To boldly go where no tomato has gone before.” I had a big smile on my face.

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How delightful! Suzanne told me that Georgia’s childhood friend Jules calls his Rhode Island oyster business Walrus and Carpenter.

Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” was the first poem I memorized in school. I was 11. It was a long poem but not too hard after memorizing the script of Alice in Wonderland at 10 (I was Alice’s understudy).

Here’s where oysters come in:

“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”

The oldest oyster is wary and has no intention of leaving his oyster bed. But a slew of young oysters jump up, ready for a pleasant walk and talk. After many verses:

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

Read the whole poem, here.

And if you are in Rhode Island, please check out Walrus and Carpenter Oysters. On their website, you will find bios about the oyster cultivators on the team and information on where to show up for their current dinner series.

Suzanne particularly recommends reading some of the links on the company’s press page, especially the one to the New Yorker article (here) about how a dismantled bamboo art installation from the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art called Big Bambú ended up making oysters happy in Rhode Island.

Photo of the original John Tenniel art: wikimedia.org

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