This September, WashU Dining Services challenged its chefs to buy and cook even more local and seasonal foods than usual. Two remarkable sustainable food programs initiated by WashU’s main dining provider Bon Appetit Management Company, made their way to campus.
The One Ton Tomato Challenge
In the United States, more than 20% of the fruits and vegetables grown never make it off farms because they aren’t good-looking enough for grocery stores’ standards, resulting in billions of pounds of waste annually.
To help address this issue, we recently rescued 2,000 pounds of #2 – or “imperfect” – tomatoes from Ole Tyme Produce, leading to the organization of the first annual One Ton Tomato Challenge. The campaign has been held campus wide, with special focus on the three larger dining facilities – DUC, Village and South 40. To kick off the challenge, chefs have creatively been blending tomatoes into soups, sauces, stocks, entrees and side dishes.
The Bon Appetit’s Imperfectly Delicious Produce program continues to rescue thousands of pounds of cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables from farmers, preventing them from going to waste.
The Eat Local Challenge
Back in 2005, Bon Appétit Management Company first launched their annual companywide Eat Local Challenge with the goal of opening their guests’ eyes to the bounty of food growing around their own region.
WashU chefs love the challenge of planning and executing a 100% local meal. Last Tuesday, September 25, the DUC, Village and BD featured meals completely made from ingredients within a 150-mile radius of campus — the only exception being salt. It’s not easy as it may sound: serving a sandwich, for example, means finding locally-grown grains and catching some wild yeast for the bread, buying turkey from a local turkey farm and cheese from a local dairy that uses local milk, plus making mayonnaise from local eggs.
As part of the challenge, the DUC vegetarian station offered a milled Missouri yellow cornmeal polenta from McKasskle Family Farms, topped with Quark cheese from Hemme Brothers Creamery, “Detroit” red beets from Thies Farm and Rapini stalks from Stuckmeyer Farms. We tried, and loved it!
Other featured vendors included:
- Buttonwood Farms (California, MO)
- Stuckmeyer Farms (Columbia, IL)
- DeMange Family Farm (East St. Louis, IL)
- McKasskle Family Farms (Braggadocio MO)
- Hemme Brothers Creamery (Sweet Springs, MO)
- Thies Farm (Maryland Heights, MO)
- Janie’s Farm (Ashkum, IL)
- Doublestar Farms