Blog: Local food

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Gardens are popping up on college campuses everywhere, and the most recent crop includes one at Saint Joseph College in Hartford, CT. The team there harvested its first bounty this year — butternut squash, tomatoes, lettuces, radishes, peppers, herbs, and more!

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By Cara Brechler, Marketing Manager Summer is over, and fall is here; goodbye peaches and zucchini, hello root vegetables and pumpkins! Pumpkins are an iconic part of the fall season, first appearing as jack-o’- lanterns at Halloween and then later as pie for Thanksgiving. The Market Café in San Jose, CA, wanted to mark the beginning of the season by featuring the pumpkin! Local pumpkins from a Farm to Fork vendor will be for sale for all employees. And true to Bon Appetit’s sustainable standards, people will have the opportunity to use the whole thing. There will be a pumpkin carving contest, where employees can show off their knife skills and potentially win a pizza party for 12! Votes will be cast in three categories, fright factor, laughter inducing, and creativity.  Winning masterpieces will be displayed prominently during lunch on Halloween. Pumpkin […]

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Terzo Piano in Chicago, IL, loves to support and celebrate local farmers every day — as well as in a now-annual event it calls Farm to Fork Fest, a special dinner focused on educating guests about where food comes from and why buying from local farms is important.

To any Gallaudet University students walking into the Bon Appétit café on Tuesday Sept. 27, it seemed like a transformation had occurred. The normally wood-colored tables were decked out in blue and red checkered picnic-style cloth, and the entire café staff had donned blue jeans and farmers hats. It was Eat Local Challenge Day, and the point was to celebrate local, farm-fresh food. Students scattered themselves at different stations throughout the café in honor of the event. One group hosted a Taste Test, challenging their peers to guess which tomato was local (picked fresh that day from the Gallaudet Community Garden) and which was conventional (from California). Green Gallaudet, the on-campus environmental group, spoke with passers-by about the impacts our food choices have on the environment (did you know that by eating one less hamburger a week, you can significantly […]

Thanks to Michael Pollan‘s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and the documentary Food, Inc., more people have become aware that the majority of cows in this country are raised on a grain-based diet for the last few months of their lives — and why that’s problematic for the health of the cows, the health of the humans who eat them, and the environment. The short version: Grains such as corn and soy are cheap carbohydrates that make cows get fat fast (not unlike humans). But cows’ digestive systems were designed to handle a high-fiber diet of mostly fresh grass or hay, with some natural grains. High-grain corn and soy diets — and the feedlots in which they are stuffed with them — cause many cattle to get sick, and encourage the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant E. coli as well. But as with […]

I eagerly returned for this summer’s eighth annual trip with other Bon Appétit staff to visit and dine with Shepherd’s Grain farmers in Washington State. On our excursion to Eastern Washington, Bon Appétit chefs, managers, and I visited the Spokane Hutterian Brethren Colony in Reardan, WA, where the Grosses, Hofers, and Walters uphold their collective 460-plus-year family tradition in farming, growing crops on 9,000 acres and living a self-sufficient lifestyle. I love this trip because – like many conscientious eaters today – I like to know where my food comes from. It’s a rare treat to be among 75 farmers and chefs who put the meaning of their work so eloquently into words.

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When Jonas Stoltzfus of JuJo Acres in Loysville, PA, walked straight up to his non-castrated breeding bull and gave it a nice pat on the back, I knew I wasn’t on an ordinary farm.

Although available year round, fresh asparagus during the peak season is an unmatched delight so this spring, Chef Kiley Davis of Kaneko Commons and I set out to find the best local asparagus for our kitchens here at Willamette University in Salem, OR. We found it during a visit to Kenagy Family Farms, located just 45 minutes south in Albany, OR.

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Left to right: Gallaudet gardeners Carolina Fojo, Marcy Knox, Nicholas Palazzo III, Ryne Worsham, Davina Kwong, Jon Terpak Eight months ago the Gallaudet Community Garden was nothing but an abandoned volleyball court filled with sand. Today, thanks to the efforts of students and Bon Appétit — with the help of the football team — it’s a thriving garden of fourteen 20-foot-long beds that just saw its first-ever harvest! “It was an exciting day for everybody,” reports Davina Kwong, Bon Appétit General Manager at Gallaudet University, who helped spearhead the garden’s creation. “Employees from the café came out to help with the harvest, pick the fresh vegetables, and dream up ways to show them off in the café the next day.” Right: Bon Appétit café employee Tanisha Bryant picks beets from the garden. Golden wax garden beans, cucumbers, and beautiful yellow, […]

Executive Chef David Anderson demonstrates how to separate the ham and loin in his hog butchery demo Bon Appétit Executive Chef David Anderson from the Stanford Graduate School of Business believes that an animal’s life is worth more than two pork tenderloins. After the recent Northern California Chefs’ Exchange focusing on butchery at Cisco – San Jose, in San Jose, CA, he had this to say about how we use animals in our cooking: