Bon Appétit at Duke Employees Connect Food Safety with Farming

Duke employees gather around a cooler at Surf City Crab to learn how crab are caught and shipped

By Sarah McGowan, Marketing Manager

What do local farms have to do with kitchen safety? Both farmers and food service providers have a responsibility to keep their customers from becoming sick — and the better you know those customers, the heavier that responsibility weighs. In addition, the more Bon Appétit employees know about the farmers and artisans who provide the food served in the cafés, the more they can inspire customers to support these local heroes. Supporting local food producers rewards our community with tastier, safer food that contributes to our local economy.

Employees  of Bon Appétit at Duke University in Durham, NC, recently had the opportunity to connect food safety and farming first hand. ServSafe is a food safety and sanitation certification that is earned by taking a two-day class and passing a written exam. All employees are required to take the class, and those that passed were rewarded with a fun yet educational visit to a few local farmers.

The trip began with a drive to Surf City, NC, home of Surf City Crab. At the Surf City Crab facility, the Bon Appétit visitors got a real-life lesson in how the crab gets from the water to Bon Appétit’s kitchens.

Playing with the goats at Elodie Farms

Then, the next morning, after a night spent slumbering to the soothing sounds of the surf, the group got a caffeinated start at the Counter Culture Coffee Roastery in Durham,NC. A pioneer in directly traded, Certified Organic coffee, Counter Culture is also one of the country’s top-rated roasters. After touring the roastery and getting a detailed lesson on how coffee is grown, processed, shipped, and roasted, everyone — including Bon Appétit’s management staff — said they had been surprised to learn just how much work goes into that morning cup of joe.

After a fabulous lunch at SAS in Cary, NC, one of Bon Appétit’s newest accounts — courtesy of Executive Chef Emanuel May and General Manager Liz Simmons — the group visited local goat-cheese producer Elodie Farms. There, owner David Artigues explained the fine art of cheese making and gave a tour of the facility and farm as playful goats frolicked with tour attendees.

Meeting the farmers in person reinforced the value of knowing your local farmer when it comes to food safety and served as a great conclusion to the certification process.