On a delightfully sunny Saturday, my husband Kyle and I arrived at the Farm Fresh RI Food Hub to meet up with Jack Griffin, our Rhode Island Red Food Tour guide for the afternoon. We congregated with a small group of eight other food enthusiasts for the recent tour focusing on Providence’s up-and-coming Valley Neighborhood. Beginning at the bustling indoor farmers market, the tour highlights many of the city’s newest and most creative makers. Griffin gave a short historical account of the 60,000-square-foot “purpose-designed” Farm Fresh building, which was once the site of a stone-cutting facility – best known for cutting marble for the RI State House.
At the market, we made our way through the crowded corridors until we reached our first stop: the highly sought after BUNS Bakery table. A freshly baked cinnamon babka in hand, Griffin introduced us to the owner, Guy Hanuka. The Israeli-born baker, known for his incredible challah, babka, and rugelach, started BUNS out of his home amid the pandemic in 2020.
We followed Griffin over to one of the facility’s permanent tenants, New Harvest Coffee Roasters. In the custom-built coffee lab, we met with co-owner Rik Kleinfeldt who told us all about the business of coffee and offered samples of their smooth Colombian single-origin Chiroso Honey variety, which pairs wonderfully with the sweet babka from BUNS.
Then we were off to our next stop, Rhed’s Hot Sauce. Chef-owners Deja and Karsten Hart took us through the ingredients and processes that make their products unique. Deja explained that she is especially “focused on creating layers of flavor and not just heat,” by fermenting their chili mash for at least two weeks, as well as incorporating lots of fresh local vegetables to create flavorful, well-balanced sauces. While we listened, we worked our way through sampling their award-winning hot sauces – ranging from classic to the tangy and umami-forward Deja Vu and zesty yellow Lemon Drop. We also got to try their salsas and BBQ sauces.
After a quick 15-minute shopping break to explore solo, Griffin led the group across the street to The Industrious Spirit Company’s (ISCO) tasting room patio to learn about the first distillery in Providence since prohibition. Located in a former industrial mill complex, ISCO produces sustainably sourced vodka, gins, and bourbons. After sipping small pours of their handcrafted spirits, it was back across the street for tacos. We sat down at Tallulah’s Taqueria while Griffin gave us the rundown of the popular multi-location joint which first opened in Fox Point before expanding to Jamestown and then here on Sims Avenue. The braised pork carnitas taco we sampled hit the spot.
The next stop was Providence Brewing Company. Their industrial tap room includes an impressive rotating selection of beer, as well as specialty frozen beer cocktails, like the one we sampled: the Raspberry Fritter Blood Orange Imperial Pastry Stout. We finished the tour on a sweet note with stops at Wright’s Creamery for a scoop of “cow-to-cone” ice cream and then Anchor Toffee for their signature small-batch Almond Butter Toffee.
If snacking away an afternoon isn’t tantalizing enough, the lure of discovering new favorite businesses and food makers is well worth taking a culinary adventure with RI Red Food Tour.
270 Bellevue Avenue, Newport • 401-684-1110 • RhodeIslandRedFoodTours.com
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