Blog: Local food

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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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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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Why buy local? Bon Appétit Management Company believes there are 2 main reasons to buy local: (1) In order to support local communities and farmers, and (2) because local, seasonal food simply tastes better. A common misconception about “buying local” is that it automatically means fewer greenhouse gas emissions. However, while it’s true that there are fewer CO2 emissions from transportation when buying local food, that’s not the whole story… For more information about local food and Bon Appétit’s Eat Local Challenge, check out this vlog!