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UNH Eats Local at Sixth Annual Harvest Feast Sept. 22

By Beth Potier, Media Relations
September 22, 2010

UNH hosts its sixth annual Local Harvest Feast dinner Wednesday, Sept. 22, at Holloway Commons from 4:30 to 9 p.m. The Local Harvest Feast is offered to all students on the UNH meal plan as well as to the general public (breakfast $9, lunch $12, dinner $16, plus tax). For information and menus, visit http://www.unh.edu/dining/inform_local_harvest.html.

The feast features food from dozens of local farms and food producers. Farmers, food entrepreneurs, and partner organizations – including the UNH Sustainability Academy, UNH Organic Garden Club, Slow Food UNH, Healthy UNH, Slow Food Seacoast, and Seacoast Eat Local -- will be on hand to join in this day-long local food celebration.

Last year, a record number of diners enjoyed local gourmet food at the Local Harvest Feast. “Thank you! This is a great event. I learned a lot and felt connected to the community,” said one guest. “The food was great and felt healthier and better. There was an amazing selection,” said another.

The day’s menus feature tastes both exotic and familiar, from blueberry pancakes, apple crisp and corn on the cob to buffalo bacon BLTs, linguica and kale soup, and spinach gorgonzola ravioli with beurre rouge sauce. Vendors include Lasting Legacy Farm (Barrington), Bonnie Brae Farm (Plymouth), Pete & Gerry’s Eggs (Monroe), Yankee Farmers Market (Warren), Abigail’s Bakery (Weare), Me and Ollie’s Bakery (Portsmouth), and Shain’s of Maine (Sanford, Me.). In addition, UNH’s student-run Organic Garden Club and horticulture farms provide produce. Some of the vendors will be on hand to meet with guests as they enter dining halls at each of the meals.

“This feast of local cuisine recognizes the many benefits of New Hampshire’s vibrant agricultural scene,” says Jon Plodzik, director of dining at UNH. “We hope that, in addition to enjoying a great meal, our patrons will learn more about our local agricultural landscape and its role in sustaining our physical and economical health and well-being, now and in the future.”

“As a land-grant university, UNH is committed to supporting and advancing the state’s agricultural economy. Small, family farms are not only part of our state’s heritage, but play a vital, active role in our current economy and culture,” says Elisabeth Farrell, a program coordinator for the UNH Sustainability Academy, which partners with UNH Dining in Local Harvest.

The popular Local Harvest Feast, which was honored by the National Association of College & University Food Services, is part of UNH’s Local Harvest Initiative, a partnership of the UNH Sustainability Academy and UNH Dining. The initiative brings local food and organic produce to UNH’s three student dining halls regularly. Last year, more than 20 percent of UNH’s total food purchases were grown, processed, or manufactured within 250 miles of campus. In addition, the renovated Dairy Bar reopened last fall with a focus on local and sustainable food. Under this initiative, dining runs a food waste composting program and integrates other sustainability efforts into their operations, such as recycling, green cleaning, and energy efficiency.

The Local Harvest Initiative is one of many sustainable food projects on campus, including a dual major in EcoGastronomy, the first such program at an American university. This unique academic program emphasizes the connections between sustainable agriculture, hospitality management, and nutrition and health. UNH is also home to the first organic research dairy at a land-grant university, an active student Organic Garden Club, and the New Hampshire Farm to School Program, which connects state K-12 schools with New Hampshire farms. For more information, go to http://www.unh.edu/dining/community/local-harvest.html or www.sustainableunh.unh.edu.

 



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