Celebrate the Harvest at UNH's Local Harvest Dinner Sept. 21
Students feast on the bounty at a recent Local Harvest Dinner. Ron Bergeron, UNH Photo Services.
UNH hosts its seventh annual Local Harvest Feast Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. The popular and award-winning event, which is open to the public, serves breakfast at Stillings Marketplace (7:15 – 10:30 a.m.), lunch at Elements at Philbrook Hall (11 a.m. – 4 p.m.), and dinner at Holloway Commons (4:30 – 9 p.m.), all on the UNH campus in Durham. The Local Harvest Feast is offered to all students on the UNH meal plan as well as to the general public (breakfast $8.95, lunch $12.95, dinner $16.95, plus tax). For information and menus, visit http://unh.edu/dining/community/local-harvest.html.
The feast features food from dozens of local farms and food producers. Farmers, food entrepreneurs, and partner organizations will present educational booths on their organizations and the local food of New Hampshire at the entrance to Holloway Commons at dinner.
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. “I never knew UNH Dining bought so many local products every day. The food here is great and the best around,” said a student.
The day’s menus will highlight ingredients sourced from the Seacoast and the surrounding area prepared by UNH dining’s culinary group. Chefs will push their creativity with items like poached pear and bleu cheese pizza, roasted root vegetable chili, honey chipotle free range roasted chicken, Terra Cotta Pasta cavatelli in sage butter, and Mediterranean frittata with local feta cheese and local vegetables. Vendors include Lasting Legacy Farm (Barrington), Bonnie Brae Farm (Plymouth), Portsmouth NH Lobster Co (Portsmouth), Pinewood Yankee Farm (Lee), Pete & Gerry’s Eggs (Monroe), Yankee Farmers Market (Warren), Abigail’s Bakery (Weare), UNH’s Woodman Farm (Durham), Autumn View Farm (Pittsfield) and Terra Cotta Pasta Co (Dover). In addition, UNH’s student-run Organic Garden Club and horticulture farm provided produce.
“This day-long celebration of local products and vendors highlights UNH dining’s commitment to our community and showcases the true depth of our program here on campus,” says Jon Plodzik, director of dining. “It is nice to know that nearly 25 percent of our products are procured locally. That benefits all of us who love this part of the country, while providing an educational springboard for dialog on how best to meet financial obligations and sustainability. It’s just a great event to show what we try to do every day.”
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 in 2009 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. 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.