“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” —Robert Frost
This statement of the well-known poet encapsulates the poignant distinction between the common act of instruction and that of engaging one’s entire being. At St. Timothy’s School, a 200-student all-girls boarding school in Catonsville, MD, sustainable food plays a central role in the well-being of its students and in a holistic approach to education that pairs perfectly with Bon Appétit’s core values. (In fact, Bon Appétit chefs were catering for St. Timothy’s long before the school became an on-site client last year.) The school’s campus farm has grown over the past year, as has its program to engage students in hands-on learning about sustainable agriculture.
On a crisp evening not long ago, St. Timothy’s leaders partnered with the Bon Appétit team to host a farm-to-table supper demonstrating how together they connect the dots between local and sustainable food, education, and young women’s health. Donors and parents sat atop hay bales at a candlelit table under a tent threaded with lights. Head of School Randy Stevens opened the night by emphasizing how important farming and nutritious food are for both the physical development of young women and in maintaining strong mental health. To build up an appetite and help the story of St. Timothy’s come alive, Randy led guests down to the campus farm for a sunset tour.
The Redlands Farm at St. Timothy’s does more than just provide produce to the Bon Appétit campus dining operation: it serves as a place of awakening. The farm is managed by alumna Sammy Lichtenberg, along with Adam Clopton. Their many accomplishments include installing irrigation and electricity, building a chicken coop, finalizing the farm design, incubating eggs, constructing a high tunnel, installing a beehive, and more, with the assistance of St. Timothy’s students participating in the school’s experiential farming program. Working with the Bon Appétit team, they are also determining specific crops to grow for the dining hall.
It was all hands on deck to make the farm-to-table 10-course supper a night for stomachs and hearts to remember. Ingredients were sourced from 20 local farms in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Chef/Manager Jon Alvarez and Sous Chef Dan Gericke from St. Timothy’s, Regional Manager Paul Bulau, Resident District Manager Norman Zwagil, Chef/Manager Patterson Watkins from the University of Pennsylvania, and Director of Operations Tom Brown and Catering Director Michelle Lew from Goucher College all helped plan and/or execute the menu. Among the crowd pleasers: smoked beef brisket from longtime Farm to Fork partner Roseda Beef and oysters from Two Oceans True Foods.
The entire experience left guests sated and delighted. It was a perfect example of the well-rounded education young women receive at St. Timothy’s — one that the Bon Appétit team is honored to support.