Blog: Farm to Fork

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By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation  As West Coast Fellow, I’ve been traveling to some of Bon Appétit’s 1,000 Farm to Fork partners to understand their on-the-ground practices and challenges. I met farmer David Hoyle in between attending the Food Justice Conference in Eugene and presenting Stories from the Fields, about farm worker issues, at Lewis & Clark College. Dave and I chatted for a while in the rain on his farm, Creative Growers, tucked away in the back roads of Noti, Oregon.

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  By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation The Whitman Model Farm Project not only conserves natural resources and improves Whitman College’s environmental efficiency, but also happens to produce delicious food. I know because I just had an outstanding salad at Bon Appétit Management Company’s Prentiss Dining Hall at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA for lunch. Now, post-meal, like a salad lover in search of her pot of gold, I’m off to find out where my microgreens[1] came from. It turns out that in the rooftop greenhouse of Whitman College’s Hall of Science, salad grows. Sweet pea tendril vines wind their way up from growing trays. Four students are planting and watering seeds. I am sweltering under the greenhouse’s captured sun, but still determined to learn more about my lunch.

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Farmer Bob Knight (on right) with Bon Appétit Management Company Biola University Chefs By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation “Farms are getting huge. Real estate is expensive in California. Farming in the global food economy requires [farmers] to have thousands of acres. Farmers that used to have 10 or 20 acres are now being pressured to buy 4,000 acres.” We are at the Bon Appétit Management Company Student Ambassador Program at Biola University, a kick-off event for thirty students to get to know some of the people behind food: Bon Appétit chefs, staff, and farmers. Executive Chef Peter Alfaro just spoke about the path that led him to work in the kitchen and his passion for making the food system more sustainable through purchases as a chef. Biology professor and head of the Biola Organic […]

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~Written by Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co.  As a Fellow for Bon Appétit, I have the pleasure of traveling to local farms from which Bon Appétit purchases, and meeting the very people who provide us with the food we eat. In September, I traveled to St. Libory, IL to visit Brad Schmitz, owner of Wenneman Meat Co., an old fashioned butcher shop and meat market that provides meat from Illinois farmers to Bon Appétit cafés at Washington University in St. Louis. Wenneman Meat Co. is unique to its area. Let’s face it—Illinois is corn country, not meat country. And sure enough, as I drove down IL-15 E—(nearly blinded by the sun, it was so bright!)—I passed field after field… after field… of corn, and soy. So what is this shop, sourcing local meat, doing in […]

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~Written by Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co.     As a Fellow for Bon Appétit, I have the pleasure of traveling to local farms from which Bon Appétit purchases, and meeting the very people who provide us with the food we eat. Last month, I traveled to Dover, PA to visit one of the incredible farms that provides food at Goucher College—Sunnyside Farm. Sunnyside Farm is run by husband and wife Homer Walden and Dru Peters, two kindred spirits with opposite personalities. Homer is the creative farmer, brilliant inventor, and engineer. Dru is the practical businesswoman who makes sure that their hard work pays off in the end. Neither could make the farm run on their own—but together they have built up a beautiful farm and successful business, and you only have to talk to […]

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 Seared Sacramento Sturgeon lettuce wraps with fresh Sausalito watercress By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation Hungry? Join me for a virtual lunch at the University of the Pacific Café! I went there for Bon Appétit Management Company’s sixth annual Eat Local Challenge and it was an event worth experiencing – if only via your imagination. The best part about it? It’s not far off from lunch served there every other day of the school year. First, let’s stop by the all-local salad bar. Grab what you want and remember to top your bowl off with strawberries, figs, and feta cheese. I recommend drizzling it with the creamy honey-goat cheese vinaigrette.

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~By Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co. For more than 10 years now, Bon Appétit has been working closely with local farmers and artisans to supply food in our cafes. Each year we take special care to celebrate our local partners in our Eat Local Challenge. Please join us for our sixth annual Eat Local Challenge Tuesday, September 28th!   

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~Written by Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co.    This past Friday I drove to visit Katherine and Sam Ecker of Legacy Manor Farm in Boonsboro, MD, which is about an hour north of D.C. After having been warned in an email not to dress up because “we really are free range which means plenty of poop”, I donned my rubber rain boots (the ones with the little blue whales on them), a pair of jeans, and made the trek out to the farm. And Legacy Manor Farm definitely did not disappoint me in the free range department—Katherine wasn’t kidding! In fact, on the driveway leading up to the farm, I had to stop my car—twice…once for a pair of turkeys that didn’t seem to understand  that I couldn’t move until they moved, and then once again […]

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“And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.”  –Joel 2:24 Once upon a time, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon farmer families began settling on the land. In 1840, the Emersons made it across the Oregon Trail. In 1897 pregnant Grandmother Matson climbed up and over 2000 feet in elevation to her Washington homestead. With roots in Switzerland, Romania, Ukraine, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest, the extended Gross-Hofers-Walter family has been in the business of farming for 460 years. Shepherd’s Grain is the story of 33 farm families, 65,000 acres, and their transformation of the land to sustainable agriculture. Right: Shepherd’s Grain Grower, Kurt Blume from Genesee, ID It’s the end of a hot July. I stand alongside Bon Appétit Management Company chefs and managers at the edge of a Hard Red Winter Wheat field. We are surrounded by […]