Some of the new or different things you can expect this year in the dining halls:
- A crispy fish sandwich, added to the daily grill menu
- More fun food flips, such as Mollie Katzen’s Rice Fried Vegetables
- Savory Spotlights that highlight the Healthy Eating Food Pyramid, over a period of weeks rather than in a single meal
- More local foods, including produce, bagels, cereal, and seafood
- Squash – nine different varieties – grown especially for HUDS on Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon, just 20 miles away (stay tuned for opportunities to visit the farm this fall)
- Individual item menu cards will now list item names and points of interest (such as where it was grown). Nutritional information is available from the relative privacy of the kiosks and menus on the web.
We also continue to emphasize technologies to keep in touch with you.
- Join our Facebook group (Harvard University Dining Services) to share feedback, connect with like-food-minded students, and remain aware of upcoming events.
- Rate your plate with www.crimsondining.org, which provides an opportunity to score the daily menu options. We will use this, and consumption data, to make menu changes. Crimsondining.org will be available on the dining hall kiosks.
- Check out, and contribute to, our Wiki – www.harvarddining.pbwiki.com. This is a repository for frequently asked questions and information, made better through our collective contribution.
I hope you’ll also visit our expanded Farmers’ Market outside the Science Center, and a new market in Allston, on the corner of Western Ave and North Harvard Street. We have farmers, obviously (including a Hmong farmer at each market), as well as bakers and other fine food artisans, such as a chocolatier, a a cheesemaker, an herbarium, and a maple sugar maker. It is wonderful to wander through the stalls on Tuesday (in Cambridge) or Wednesday (in Allston) and find new tastes, familiar flavors, and decadent treats.
That said, we do enter the school year facing still-rising food costs (last year’s food cost was up 7% over the prior year, and this year’s is projected at a 14% increase). For chicken and cereal alone, we expect to pay at least $65,000 more this year than we did last year – and HUDS enjoys better wholesale pricing than do individual consumers. So we must continue to use your board dollars wisely, keep you informed of necessary changes, and ask your help in controlling waste, which is both money down the drain and a toll on our environment.
And we will focus more than ever on sustainability, as a department and as a whole community. President Faust has set forth an aggressive goal for the campus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and food plays a vital role in that. HUDS has long had a comprehensive approach to sustainability. Please check out our inaugural annual report at http://www.dining.harvard.edu/about_HUDS/sustainability.html. But we need to help many of you understand the terms, the implications, and the commitments, such as no compromise on quality or taste.
One topic of note, tied to sustainability: trayless dining remains a hot topic on campuses around the country. More than 525 colleges and universities have gone trayless. Check out this August 27 article in the Boston Globe:
Quincy House tried it last year. Do the benefits outweigh the hassle? Should we try it again as a campus? Have you tried in personally? What are your thoughts?
It will be an exciting, engaging year – it already is! – and I can’t wait to work with you on making it a tasty one, too.