HUDS will literally begin to reap the rewards of a new partnership this week. Over the summer, we collaborated with Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon, MA, to select nine varieties of squash that they would grow and harvest specifically for us. The first of those appear on the menu this week.
Squash is a later harvest vegetable, which is great because so much of Massachusetts’ produce is in season before the academic year begins. Several of its varieties are also some of the few indigenous vegetables to the state, most notably the Blue Hubbard. And those with the harder exterior skin can be cold-stored over the winter, so that we have “fresh” vegetables longer.
Ward’s Berry Farm is owned by Jim Ward, whose father bought the 200 acre plot after his retirement. Ward’s Berry grows a full range of produce, and people especially enjoy their you-pick berry patches and bushes. This is a unique partnership for them, too, and it has been fun to cultivate.
Together we defined how much of their land they could afford to dedicate to HUDS, and what crops would provide the best yield and value. The expected result is 40,000 pounds of delicious, local squash, grown under integrated pest management processes. As a comparison, last year HUDS offered 17,500 pounds of local squash, in far fewer varieties.
Why do we value eating locally? Fresh produce always tastes better, and these varieties will inspire new creativity and flavors from our chefs. Also, reduced trucking and processing is better for the environment. And it is important to financially support local agriculture so the land can maintain some of its historic integrity.
Please join us later this week for a trip to Ward’s Berry Farm, where we’ll check on the crop, do some cooking and tasting, and maybe even harvest some of what will appear on your plate next week. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for specific details about date and time (at this writing, we’re still finalizing the details).
On to some of your questions:
Why remove nutrition info from the menu cards?
Feedback over the years has been mixed as to the value of nutrition information on the menu cards. But at the urging of parents and students, we recently reviewed the practice with representatives from University Health Services, the Bureau of Study Counsel, and the College, who recognized the challenge some people face with eating disorders, or hyper attention to the literal value of food. For that reason, we removed the nutrition info from a place of prominence, but kept it available for relatively easy and private access.
Steamed vegetables daily?
I’ve shared your feedback with the chef. In many Asian cultures, steamed vegetables and rice are common for breakfast. Perhaps we can spread it around the menu!