Name: Andy Teixeira
Location: Newport Vineyards (Middletown, RI)
What sustainable practice are you most proud to utilize at Newport Vineyards? As a vineyard with over 75 acres of preserved farmland, we’re an agricultural business at heart. Sustainability is something that’s engrained in the culture here. In fact the Newport Vineyards logo, the Ouroboros logo, means the infinite cycle of life. From a 53kw solar panel system, to a pellet stove, to reclaimed barnwood flanking the walls. But it’s our newest venture that has me the most excited. We are beginning to brew beer. I have been giving the grain from the brewery to my farms for compost and feed for the goats that provide our Chevre – the infinite cycle of life.
How do you showcase the best of Rhode Island’s farming and agricultural community at Newport Vineyard’s restaurants? Our culinary philosophy starts with the basic premise of creating real food, from scratch. We’re so lucky to have so many farm fresh choices at our finger tips, just on Aquidneck Island alone we have close to a dozen farm partners. So it’s our duty to highlight their role in our food. Our audience is very large. I run 3 kitchens all producing with locally sourced ingredients with chefs that all have the same mission, but the waitstaff is our voice. We educate our staff with the same passion that we have in the kitchen. Then with all that going we get to touch a whole lot of people who never would even imagine that all they ate was grown right down the road.
What are you most excited about in the year ahead? Farm dinners! Being able to build a fire and cook right from the earth in the middle of where its grown is something I’m most excited about this summer. That, and continuing to foster our farmer and purveyor relationships and education amongst our team. Field trips to the farms are a common thing with our culinary team, but we’re now also starting to get our service staff out there as well. To see firsthand where our ingredients come from helps to foster their passion and tell the story with that much more impact.
How do you Change Menus in order to Change Lives? By working directly with the farmer. I have a couple of farms that I meet with in the winter and we plan the entire growing season. Being armed with the info lets me change the menu as things are growing to fit the farm’s needs and provide a steady livelihood for small family farms.
What does the Newport Vineyards team do to combat food waste at the production level? That is an everyday fight. On a production level we are very cautious about utilizing the entire product, stem to root on the produce. We love the ingredients from the minute they come into our kitchens till the minute they go into someone’s belly. With all that love we are sure to waste very little.