PROVIDENCE – Governor Dan McKee and Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos announced today that Quahog Week – the annual event spotlighting Rhode Island’s favorite bivalve as well as the most economically important resource harvested from Narragansett Bay – will run May 15-21. Now in its sixth year, Quahog Week exists to promote the cultural and economic importance of the local quahog and raise awareness and demand for local seafood and the RI Seafood brand.
“We love our seafood in Rhode Island,” said Governor McKee. “It supports our economy, traditions, and families and is at the heart of why we’ve become such a popular ‘foodie’ destination. Quahogs are undeniably the stars of Quahog Week, which we celebrate to thank our hardworking local diggers and salute the seafood dealers, restaurants, markets, and other partners who help increase consumer demand, sales, and market opportunities for quahogs during the off-peak season. Quahog Week is a way to savor our favorite local clam and position seafood-related businesses for success.”
“This week-long celebration shines a light on Rhode Island’s favorite clam, the hard-working diggers who harvest them, and the many restaurants, markets, and food-based businesses that sell and serve quahogs and are committed to growing our local food system,” said Lieutenant Governor Matos. “I encourage Rhode Islanders to take part in the festivities by purchasing quahogs to cook at home or enjoying a meal made with delicious, freshly harvested clams at a participating restaurant.”
The Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with the Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative and RI Shellfishermen’s Association, conceived of Quahog Week to grow the local food economy. Quahogging is a year-round activity in Rhode Island, so the product is available throughout the year. Demand tends to peak during the summer months, when stuffies and clam cakes serve as main attractions for shore-goers and tourists. Targeting the offseason for Quahog Week helps to increase consumer awareness, demand, sales, and market opportunities for quahogs during a time of year when the fresh product is readily available, but often overlooked. The Rhode Island food system supports more than 60,000 jobs and is a key driver in attracting tourism to the Ocean State. As quahogs are plentiful in Narraganset Bay year-round, they are perfect ingredients in myriad seasonal recipes including stuffies, hearty chowders, soups, various pasta dishes, and more.
“Quahog Week is one of DEM’s favorite annual events,” said DEM Acting Director Terry Gray. “It’s fun but also symbolizes much of what DEM is all about, such as water quality improvements in Narragansett Bay, which led to the opening of nearly 2,000 acres of new shellfishing waters in the lower Providence River last year, shortening the ‘food miles’ it takes to put nutritious meals on our tables, and increasing food security.”
The highlight of Quahog Week involves the many clam-tastic opportunities to access and savor fresh Rhode Island quahogs. Participating restaurants will feature quahog-inspired specials on their menus, and participating markets will offer deals for those who enjoy cooking their own clam dishes at home. Quahog Week partners include Dave’s Marketplace, Discover Newport, Eat Drink RI, Go Providence, Commerce RI, and the University of Rhode Island. This initiative adds to a growing series of initiatives undertaken by DEM, the RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative, and partners throughout the industry to promote and market fresh Rhode Island seafood and support our critical local food sector.
Quahogs are the most economically important fishery resource harvested from Narragansett Bay. More than 14 million quahogs were landed in 2021. Among all RI’s inshore and offshore marine fisheries, quahogs are the state’s fifth-most valuable, following squid, scallops, lobster, and summer flounder (based on 2021 ex-vessel values).
Consumers may visit www.seafoodri.com for a full list of participating restaurants and markets and the specials they are offering. DEM encourages restaurants and markets interested in participating to sign up on our website.
Participants in Quahog Week – consumers and retailers alike – are encouraged to share their experiences via social media posts: @RISeafoodRocks on Facebook, #QuahogWeek on Twitter, and @RI.Seafood on Instagram. The social sharing posts helps generate interest, which generates business for dealers and restaurants.
For more information on DEM programs and services, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@RhodeIslandDEM).