Congratulations to Executive Chef Jamil Asad for his Local Food Challenge meal on September 26th, which was in the top three out of 44,000 Bon Appetit submissions in the country!! It featured primarily Hampshire College Farm produce, with a few additional products from Horse Listener’s Orchard and Four Star Farms. Go Team Local!! Did we mention that it was delicious? Because it sure was!!
As many readers of this blog already know, one of Hampshire’s aspirational goals is the 100% Local Food Challenge. One of the most important parts of Hampshire’s food system is the relationship between the farm and the dining hall, run by Bon Appetit. Bon Appetit has been doing a terrific job working with the farm to use as much of our meat and produce as possible, even when fluctuations in temperatures produce an excess of broccoli, for instance.
However, as mentioned in an earlier post, one of the things our particular food system is most in need of is more storage for the dining hall, both dry and fridge/freezer storage. This would allow food to move more smoothly from the farm to the dining hall without getting stuck in an in-between place where the food is sitting around either unprocessed or unable to be used by the dining hall because they simply don’t have enough room to store it. Here in the entryway to the walk-ins you can see part of the problem:
An additional idea we are batting around, if we had funding and approval, is the possibility of hiring an on-call ServSafe-certified food processor to help handle excess food from the farm during peak production times. We are still in the early stages of considering how this might work, but the possibilities are exciting, given that we have not one but two commercial-grade kitchens (the dining hall and Prescott Tavern). Could Prescott be used in off hours, for instance, to process all that excess broccoli? If so, what would be required in order to make that idea workable? If it is workable, could we even expand it to allow access by other local farms, or would that turn out to require more funding and organizational hassle than we can manage, or than it is worth? Many things to think about – stay tuned as we continue to explore avenues for improving and smoothing out our local food system.