Blog: Farm to Fork

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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 […]

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In February I visited George Jones Farm in Ohio, which works closely with Bon Appétit Management Company at Oberlin College. The farm, constantly looking for new innovations, is doing a lot of cool stuff—including using brew waste (from beer) for compost, and using compost for hot showers! In this video, one of the George Jones farmers describes their exciting compost projects. ~Posted by Carolina Fojo, East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Mgmt. Co.

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The Harned Family, Three Sisters Farm By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation Since I attended the 2010 Eco Farm Conference session, “Is Small the Only Beautiful?” I have reflected on this question. My headed turned from side to side during the closing plenary as Eliot Coleman and Gary Hirschberg spoke, two East Coasters with contrary farming philosophies. Coleman is an organic farmer, author, and proponent of small-scale farming while Hirschberg is the Stonyfield Farm CEO and proponent of offering large-scale support for organic production. A couple of weeks ago, I drove through California’s Central Valley, a 450 mile region home to California’s most productive agriculture. The area is dominated by large-scale agriculture. It is not uncommon for a single farm to be several thousand acres. Collectively grossing $27 billion in revenues last year, the Central Valley provides roughly […]

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Mills College Community Botanic Garden By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation Spring is coming into bloom and the Bon Appétit Fellow’s college and farm tours are rolling right along! One topic that continues to excite me on my college tour is campus farms and gardens. I echo Midwest Fellow, Dayna Burtness’s passion for them. ‘Tis the season! Farms and gardens are popping up at colleges and universities all over, growing not only vegetables but also soil, ideas, and budding farmers. Campus farms and gardens are a reclamation not only of our country’s farmland but also of our education. Let’s think back to how the U.S. school calendar was traditionally set up: students studied fall, winter, and spring and helped with the harvest during summer’s peak season. Studying mathematics and literature was complemented with learning how to grow food. I […]

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An animal rights activist I know once told me that there is a correlation between how a farm treats its animals and how it treats its workers.  “After all,” he said, “if a farm is exploiting and abusing its workers, then they’re probably not treating their animals with respect either. And the opposite is also true—if they’re taking the time to make sure their animals live good lives, they’re probably looking out for their workers as well.” Well, I don’t know if this rule holds true across the board or not, but it certainly seems to be the case for Bowman & Landes Free Range Turkey Farm in New Carlisle, OH. Recently I drove through two hours of snowy Ohio scenery to meet up with the folks at Bowman & Landes, who gave me the grand tour of their turkey […]

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East Coast Fellow Carolina and I visited Montebello Farm, where we met Adrian Albor, a young farmer. He told us about what he learned working as a farmworker after coming to the United States from Michoacán, México. Today, he is the farm manager of 18 acres of diversified organic vegetables. Here is a vlog about Adrian of Montebello Farm.

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The Bon Appétit Management Company Fellows have just started making trips out to visit farms and colleges in Bon Appétits supply chain. Recently, we went to visit New Morning Farm in Pennsylvania and Bon Appétits cafés at American University in D.C. As such, I thought Id give a little video tour of some of the produce that college students like those at AU are eating. So here you go! Bon Appétit produce, from Farm to Fork.